A great bassline can be the difference from a song being good and being iconic. Here are some of the funkiest, most famous, and most unforgettable basslines of all time.
Singer-songwriter Ben E. King was inspired to write “Stand By Me” as an update to a 20th-century hymn called “Stand By Me. Producer Mike Stoller came up with the bassline for this modern standard.
Another One Bites the Dust – Queen
Featuring a simple but insanely catchy bassline, “Another One Bites the Dust” was written by Queen bassist John Deacon. Deacon had been hanging out in the studio with disco band Chic, which inspired him.
Under Pressure – Queen
Queen teamed up with David Bowie in 1981 for another song with an iconic bassline, “Under Pressure”. The line was sampled (uncredited) by rapper Vanilla Ice, resulting in a lawsuit.
My Generation – The Who
This 1965 track features one of the most famous bass solos in history. Bassist John Entwistle’s line created a call-and-response effect with the other instruments, influenced by American rhythm and blues music.
Thank You (Falettinme Be Mice Elf Agin) – Sly and the Family Stone
This pioneering 1969 funk track includes a slap bass line – pulling the strings away from the fretboard for a distinct tone.
The main “bass riff” you hear on this grunge classic is guitarist Kurt Cobain’s guitar in drop tuning, but bassist Krist Novoselic imitates the line for a double dose of low-end.
Can’t Stop – Red Hot Chili Peppers
RHCP bassist Flea slaps and hits ghost notes through this very memorable bassline.
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