Music Radar's Best Bassist List is Really Only KIND OF Dumb, But Still: Part 1

I'll admit, this list isn't quite as heinous as some of the others we've featured here, because even though they're not in the right order, at least a good portion of the greats are represented: John Entwhistle, John Paul Jones, Paul McCartney, Cliff Burton, Chris Squire, Bootsy Collins, and even though I don't like his music, Geddy Lee, all deserve a spot here.

That said, the actual order they were placed in is almost criminally screwed, and there are still some real head-spinners as to who they left off. Best bassist ever is a big consideration, so limiting it to ten picks as to who else could've gone on the list was trickier than some of the others we've done, but still, here are ten more that I'm baffled didn't fit into 25,000 people's definition of "best ever".

John Wetton(King Crimson, U.K., Asia)

We will not consider anything that Wetton has done post-U.K., since he has done nothing after that time worth considering. Instead, take note of how in a band where the only other two people were Robert Fripp and Bill Bruford, it was the relatively unknown bass player who completely dominated the sound of the band. Wetton's bass tone can only be described as monstrous-if he were playing in that manner today he could've easily fit in with the Melvins or Kyuss, but Wetton also had incredible technique, supporting the sounds of the other musicians while making sure that he was the one you were paying attention to. John Wetton's bass playing was larger than life, and for three albums with King Crimson he was the most powerful bass guitarist in the world.

Larry Graham(Sly and the Family Stone, Graham Central Station, Prince)

Dude invented slap-bass. Can I stop there? No? Fine. Aside from inventing slap bass, funk wouldn't have come around without Graham's basswork-Bootsy perfected the art of funk bass, but Graham laid down the foundation and played with greater force, to boot. Other funk bassists were content with getting a good groove, but not Larry. Larry wouldn't stop until that groove was kicking your ass up and down the street, making sure that even the slower songs moved with enough boom to swallow you whole. Graham's playing was revelatory at the time, still slightly unbelievable today, and it's a crime that this guy doesn't get mentioned alongside Entwhistle, Jones and Collins every time the most influential bassists of all time are brought up.

Geezer Butler(Black Sabbath)

Frankly, I'm absolutely stunned a website made entirely of prog nerds and metal heads could even conceive of leaving Geezer Butler off of their list of best ever. Simply put, the man invented heavy metal bass playing. There's not really any debating this, and giving even the most cursory listen to Butler's bass playing compared with the hard rock groups of the time will prove this. Even if he wasn't one of the most influential musicians of the 20th century, Butler would still deserve a place on this list for coming up with bass lines that were heavy and intricate but didn't steal the spotlight and propped up Tony Iommi's seminal guitar work like no other bassist could. Geezer was the backing power that kept Black Sabbath heavy, and you won't find '70s bass playing more crushing or memorable than on Sabbath's first 6 albums.


Takeshi is an interesting case, because all the other bassists I've mentioned so far have taken on dominate, or at least co-lead responsibilities for the instrumental sections of their respective bands. Boris doesn't work like that-as a power trio, either all of them are working as a cohesive unit or they aren't working at all. That means you don't get that dynamic energy without Wata's guitar, you don't get that manic, thunderous rhythm without Atsuo's drums and you don't get that relentless, heart-pounding BOOM that stays a constant in every song without Takeshi's bass. Often drifting by as the most underrated member of the band, Takeshi's basslines have a heft that occasionally gets muddled in the mix but shoves the band's classic-rock-meets-doom-metal sound into the titanous force they've become known for. Takeshi deserves a place here because he is an equal in power in a band that is unbelievably powerful.

ESSENTIAL TRACKS: Electric, Dyna-Soar, Ibitsu


You're saying I need to explain why this dude belongs on a greatest ever list? Do you want him to come over here and kill me?!

5 more in the next couple days.



  1. Wow, you were right about the order. Do all the WoW nerds and other dregs of the internet live to give Slipknot blowjobs or something?

    Also I STRENUOUSLY object to the lack of Tony Levin on this list (greatest session bassist known to fucking Man).

  2. why wont you consider anythign post UK? Asia was an amazing band!!!!!they are one of the best bands ever!!!!