The Bass-ment

The Complete Catalogue of Greatest Bass Entrance


Wherein contributors are invited to suggest songs where the pivotal moment is the stupendous arrival of tuned low end on a record. This may be at the beginning of the tune, this may be some distance into the track.

As a serving suggestion, '20th Century Fox' from The Doors' eponymous first album. This seemingly innocuous blues-based bossa lope has a certain swagger, but doesn't really do much else for the first twenty or so seconds. By then Larry Knetchel has had quite enough hanging around and proceeds to cast all asunder like an Old Testament tantrum. The effect is quite, quite devastating-

Looking forward to your suggestions. Any style; upright, electric, synth bass. It's just got to destroy then remodel the universe the second it starts...


'Fool If You Think It's Over' by Chris Rea.


The O'Jays - For Love Of Money


Gotta say Portrait of Tracy or Hejira.

Or take your pick from this.


Boris the Spider - The Who

White Rabbit - The Jefferson Airplane


"Time is Tight," Booker T and the MGs, bass by Donald "Duck" Dunn. OR-- almost anything James Jamerson played on!


Allman Bros, "Whipping Post"


Weather Report "Birdland." 'tain't thunderbass, but it surely announces itself as a critical melodic hook in a very hooky piece.


And then there's this-- from Gordon Lightfoot's early United Artists years... nothing but upright bass GROOVE.... all day long.... I love this.


Intro theme to Barney Miller;

The Leaves' "Hey, Joe";

Grateful Dead's "Touch of Grey";

"Also Sprach Zarathustra", Richard Strauss---2001 theme; 16Hz intro note played on a pipe organ. Weather Report's "Byrdland" had Joe Zawinul on a synth and Jaco Pastorius doing the melody, and Ray Manzarek's Doors' stuff also had the low end stuff played on a Fender piano bass.


Surely Yes's "Roundabout," wherein all is sweetness and light, classical guitar harmonics and mysterious swells till Squire demonstrates a devastating thunder-lightning approach to getting from Em to G and back again, with a fat snarling throb of tone that changed a few lives.

It's not like the rest of the band doesn't help with the groove that ensues, but it's instructive that the guitar can contribute nought but 3-note 12th and 7th fret harmonics and not deplete the energy a bit.

Squire had been doing that in Yes for 3 previous albums, and announced That Tone quite clearly on the first track of the first album, where it was already obvious that the most inventive Yes arrangements would musically be built around whatever Chris and his mighty Ric deigned to do.

So there are countless examples of bass creating new worlds throughout the Yes catalog, making it hard to single them out. "Roundabout" is just a particularly dramatic example - and the one that introduced most listeners to the band.


Any mike watt stuff... my favorite is spillage


Smoke on the Water Mr. Tambourine Man In A Gadda da Vida? Eight Miles High


"1984"? The tone isn't monstrous, but the lick is the song.


The bass comes in in a pretty cool way in the Clash's "London Calling", cool bass sound too.


Not earth shattering but it completely makes the song.


Thanks, Ade. Of course I can't stop dancin' now, and will be thinking of Great Bass Intro songs all day, or until this thread runs its course.

And there's always that Yes thing in my head. I can't help suggesting another, perhaps fraught, example (submitted with trepidation under the foregone conclusion that ever so many GDPers, either prog-tolerant or otherwise, are just going to shake their heads and say "there goes Proteus").

I wouldn't submit this particular example, but I think there's sufficient support in your rules for the thread to support it:

the pivotal moment is the stupendous arrival of tuned low end on a record. This may be at the beginning of the tune, this may be some distance into the track.

So OK, in my example, not the pivotal moment - the track is strewn with pivots. And not even the only pivotal moment for the bass. But surely one of them - and I guess 14 minutes in counts as "some distance into the track."

It's just got to destroy then remodel the universe the second it starts...

And again, this extended piece destroys and remodels the universe several times. Notably in the incredible 3 minutes of ascending-bass-cubist-madness-segues-into-melodic-statement that starts the track; the dreamy impressionist float in the middle, followed by the epic majesty of Wakeman's pipe-organ-and-synth fanfare, which ends with a cataclysmic Moog descent into the attack-force maelstrom of the bit I'm submitting (serving not only as the most powerful statement of its particular theme in the suite, but as a bed for one of the classic B3 solos in all rock).

It might be hard to imagine how completely alien this recording sounded in 1972 - how thoroughly it serially destroyed and remodeled the musical universe at least I lived in. It's safe to say no one had ever heard anything quite like it. It's still pretty durn avant - and sui generis - a sobering 45 years later. (In fact, 45 years to the DAY, if today were Weds Sep 13 rather than Tues Sep 12.)

And, OK, Squire's bass is perhaps only one component. Bruford, Howe, and Wakeman all contribute integrally to the creative destruction. But the bass is a major component. (As with any Yes, mentally mute the bass track in your head and see what you're left with.)

So, wit no furder ado, herewith the last "movement" of "Close to the Edge," joined in progress at the end of the Wakeman keyboard interlude. The ferocity and tone of the bass through to the end of the B3 solo knocks me out every time I hear it.

(If the embed doesn't honor the requested start time, it's at 14:13. But if you don't know this piece - or it's been awhile - you should listen to the whole thing.)

(For a more furious rendition, 5 guys firing on more cylinders than they could have known they had - albeit with worse keyboard sounds than in the studio - check out the live track identified on ütube as Yessongs#5 Close to the Edge.)


Pretty much every Bob Marley song qualifies for this thread.

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