Naming most famous bass guitar players or the famous bassists is challenging. Yet, here is a list of top 5 best bass guitar players in the world. These bassists were session bassists mostly and also were in studio recordings; however, do not allow their minimum level of notoriety fool you. These artists are prominent and their studio talents are well recognized than famous artists.
Top 5 Best Bass Guitarist in The World
1. Joe Osborn
Joe Osborn was born in 1937 on August 28th. He was the greatest session musicians and has contributed in his time to many albums in Nashville and Los Angeles and made a mark throughout his impressive career.
Joe Osborn contributed many famous tracks by bands and artists such as:
- The Mamas and the Papas
- Ricky Nelson “Travelin’ Man”
- Nancy Sinatra
- Simon and Garfunkel’s “Bridge Over Troubled Water”
- Major Hits by Neil Diamond
- Kenny Rogers
- The Carpenters
Osborn confessed that he was not needy and played one bass his entire career. In ’61 he actually received a Fender Jazz Bass as they were planning for a world tour and he just enjoyed playing with the same for his career.
"The song will tell you what to play if you listen." -Osborn
This Osborn’s quote was most repeated lessons and it was for the young and ambitious bassists.
Where is he now?
After getting back to Nashville, he settled finally and remains until this day a semi-retired style of life working as he likes on the projects of his choice.
2. James Jamerson
James Jamerson was born in the year 1936 in January. He was a session bassist extremely talented and he spent his career seeking the deserved recognition. He was behind the 60’s classic Motown Music majority and honestly, it is still popular and heard today.
Though James Jamerson did well, he was unfortunately not a credited session bassist on Motown Records’ revealed Paste Magazine.
James Jamerson was a session musician and he played #1 hits on 30 Billboard, as well as more than 70 R&B #1 hits. In fact, this was much more than any bass player.
Eventually, though delayed, he is recognized now as deserved and is given recognition in the modern music industry as the influential bass players.
This was not his own quote, but it was truly a wonderful representation of his influence and talent.
“Music was in my family always, but the focus was on the keyboards. I learned classical piano, but as I heard James Jamerson, the amazing bass guitar, playing on the 60’s and 70s big Motown hits, I knew immediately that bass guitar was my instrument.” -Suzi Quatro
Where is he now?
In 1983, the world lost greatest, superb bassists to illness. He suffered a combination of cirrhosis of the liver, pneumonia and heart failure, that killed Jamerson, but his legacy continues.
3. Donald "Duck" Dunn
Donald “Duck” Dunn accomplished his lengthy career that it is not easy to sum it up. He was born in 1941 in Memphis, Tennessee, but he began playing bass only after he was 16 years. First, he tried the guitar and as it had many strings, he found it difficult. Besides, Steve Cropper, his best friend played guitar and so there was no place for him.
Dunn formed in high school, his first band with Cropper, his best friend. They referred to themselves as the Royal Spades. They transformed later into the Mar-Keys and this later became big with his “Last Night.”
Eventually, Cropper left the band and became a full-time session musician and at the same time, Dunn was not much behind him. They became Booker T’s MG’s Part and spent their career together. Finally, they became a part of the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame band.
Donald “Duck” Dunn is a prominent bassist and has worked with notable musicians, and a few include: Rod Stewart, Neil Young, Elvis Presley, Jerry Lee Lewis, Bob Dylan, Peter Frampton, Stevie Nicks, Ray Charles, Tom Petty& The Heartbreakers, Eric Clapton, Jimmy Buffet, Ray Charles and The Blue Brothers.
He called himself as well as his lifelong friend, Steve Cropper also his band member, as a married couple. He said he knew his friend so well that just looking at him could make him decide that he would like to have for dinner.
He also confirmed that this association and closeness kept their career going and even while playing, without saying they would know instinctively, where the other was taking too.
“We had a powerful band that was enough even to turn a goat piss into gasoline.” –Donald “Duck” Dunn The Blues Brothers
Where are they now?
Unfortunately, in 2012 Dunn passed away when he was touring Tokyo. During this performance series, he died in his sleep.
4. Carol Kaye
Carol Kaye was born in 1935 on March 24, in Everett Washington, and picked at age 13 the Bass Guitar.
She started as a session musician and played bass on the popular and iconic music today. She played with prolific artists in the world and earned a name of recognition in the industry for herself.
Carol Kaye played on more than ten thousand records in the course of her successful and long career, but some notable contributions include:
- "California Girls"
- The Beach Boys' "Surfin USA"
- Mission Impossible Theme
- Many Simon and Garfunkel Tracks
- "These Boots are Made for Walkin"
- Tracks for The Monkees
- Sonny and Cher Songs
- Ritchie Valens' "La Bamba"
Carol Kaye was aware of her value and she demanded the payment of union scale almost twice and also received it.
Where is she now?
According to LA Weekly article, Carol Kaye moved away many years ago from being a session musician. She lives in her Antelope Valley a more relaxing life home teaching bass lessons. She offers lessons through Skype and has written more than 50 instructional books.
5. Mike Watt
Michael Watt was born in 1957, December. He is a songwriter, vocalist and an American bassist. His career was successful and he worked with famous musicians and was featured on Cartoon Network episode.
Apart from playing in those groups, he worked with some famous artists namely, Nirvana, Grohl, Beastie Boys, Pearl Jam, Henry Rollins, Eddie Vedder, and so on.
Watt was introduced by Boon’s mother, his friend, to playing Bass. She brought this idea up to keep Boon and Watt away from the sketchy streets of Pedro.
Where are they now?
Mike Watt's dedication in later years made him inventive with musical projects and he did not take any retirement, so more can be expected from Mike Watt.
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