There’s no instrument that can bring richness and fullness to a song quite in the way a good bass can. In fact, there’s a hefty number of classic tunes out there that can be recognized by their bass lines alone earning them a ranking place on the charts, and in the hearts of music lovers everywhere.
It can only be assumed that there will be more prominent bass lines to be made in the future, but for the time being, Gerard Zappa Wooster discusses some of the greatest bass lines of all time thus far.
Sunshine Of Your Love (Cream)
In 1967, the band Cream came out with Sunshine Of Your Love, and the world was all the better for it.
Being released in the Psychedelic era of music, the song had some big shoes to fill if it wanted to make its mark on the world, but thankfully, it filled them out beautifully. It was written after the band was struck by inspiration from one of the most famous guitar players of all time – Jimi Hendrix.
The band had a lot of issues when it came to composing the song. With all of the creative differences that came with writing the lyrics and the music, the truth is that Sunshine of Your Love almost didn’t make it into the world. Thankfully, Cream was able to come together to gift us with one of the hippest melodies in music history.
Brick House (Commodores)
The year is 1977, and the Commodores are about to take over the music industry with the release of, arguably the funkiest tune of all time, Brick House. Anyone who’s been to a wedding, dance, or club since the year the song was released is familiar with the melody, and the addictive bass line is definitely part of the reason why.
When drummer Walter ‘Clyde’ Orange came into the studio with an idea and a melody in his back pocket, the Commodores were quick to build upon it. However, front man Lionel Richie credits the drummer for having the most artistic direction when it came to composing it.
Fire (Jimi Hendrix)
The truth is this: if someone is even remotely interested in classic rock, or rock in a general capacity, they’ve heard of Jimi Hendrix – musical legend, master guitar player, and one of the most notable artists of generations old and new.
In ‘67, Hendrix came up with the main lyrics to Fire (“Let me stand next to your fire”), after the band visited their bassists’ mother’s house. It was a quick visit but was all the group needed to unearth the song that Hendrix would famously set his guitar on fire to during later performances.
Fans of the movie Wayne’s World might know the scene where Wayne falls in love with the bassist of an all-girl band after he watches her rendition of this tune (aka the meet-cute that everyone hopes to have in their lives).
Sweet Emotion (Aerosmith)
Every good band will come across a spat or two during their years together, but luckily, something beautiful can be borne from these quarrels- like Aerosmith’s Sweet Emotion, which was penned after front man Steven Tyler grew frustrated with the band (and their girlfriends).
The heavy bass line of the song came first, the musical child of bassist Tom Hamilton, and with tensions high, it didn’t take long for Steven Tyler to come up with equally heavy lyrics to croon alongside the killer melody.
Those fights ended up being a good thing, as Sweet Emotion ended up being the song that welcomed the band into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame in 2011- a major milestone that most rock bands out there can only dream about.