Most recognizable bass lines of all time

  • Under Pressure – Queen/Bowie
  • Pink Floyd – Money
  • Rappers Delight – Sugarhill Gang
  • Come Together – The Beatles
  • Psycho Killer – The Talking Heads: Simple, but effective.
  • Smells Like Teen Spirit – Nirvana: The Pixies formula played to perfection
  • Give It Away – Red Hot Chili Peppers

Honorable Mention:

  • Pass the Mic – Beastie Boys: Not one of their more popular songs, but MCA pulls out the stops here.
  • The Distance – Cake: Working that octave for all it’s worth.
  • The Meantime – Spacehog: The list was getting a bit ’90s heavy, but this one still holds a respectable place.
  • Jeremy – Pearl Jam: I’m somewhat embarrassed about my Pearl Jam fanship of the past. Still, these opening notes are unmistakable.

Comments welcome.

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  1. I personally have always wanted to decapitate Vanilla Ice for sullying the lead in to Under Pressure with his bile. Despite him (thankfully) getting no radio play ever anymore, I still always do a double take and brace myself for pain.

  2. Here are some more songs with instantly recognizable bass lines in them.

    My Generation – The Who (Entwistle’s trademark)
    Boris The Spider – The Who
    Another One Bites The Dust – Queen
    Should I Stay Or Should I Go – The Clash
    Limelight – Rush
    Freewill – Rush
    Tom Sawyer – Rush
    With Or Without You – U2
    New Year’s Day – U2
    Jumpin’ Jack Flash – The Rolling Stones
    Under My Thumb – The Rolling Stones
    It’s All Over Now – The Rolling Stones
    Another Brick In The Wall – Pink Floyd
    Peace Sells – Megadeth
    N.I.B. – Black Sabbath

    A few others that I didn’t list by The Who, Rush, The Rolling Stones, Pink Floyd, and Black Sabbath are also instantly recognizable.

    Oh, and

    Ice, Ice Baby – Vanilla Ice

    (just kidding)

  3. Are you joking?
    Brown Eyed Girl by Van Morrison!
    Stand By Me By Ben E. King!

    How did you miss those? those are two of the easily most universally recognizable bass lines.

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