Phil Lesh (on a good day), though his idiosyncratic style really is different from the "classic" Rock Bass player.
Les Claypool (Primus, Fearless Flying Frog Brigade), Tony Levin (Peter Gabriel and others), Tal Wilkenfeld (Jeff Beck), and Alphonso Johnson.
I have been listening to Geezer Butler on the latest Black Sabbath and have to say his tone and style are killer (in a good way!) I agree about Entwistle, Squire but also Greg Lake, John Myun, Mike Rutherford, Percy Jones, John Wetton, Paul McCartney, Jack Bruce, Dee Murray and of course, let's not forget the great John Paul Jones.
The bass figure that kicks off the breakdown in The Chain is my defining bass moment in rock n roll.
Tal Wilkenfeld (she's amazing)
Stanley Clarke. Jack Bruce. Flea. And can I add Esperanza Spalding?
Don't forget Paul Mcartney.
David Pegg, Chris Squire and Jon Camp all approach the bass as a lead instrument, Squire in particular. Pegg plays lead and carries the melody as well. His 43 year career in Fairport Convention (not to exclude his 16 years in Jethro Tull) as well as session appearances is a remarkable body of work.
Jack Casady (Jefferson Airplane/Hot Tuna)
Carol Kaye (60's sessions player on many well-known songs)
James Jamerson (Motown sessions player)
Jim Fielder (Blood, Sweat & Tears)
Lot's of very good bass players listed. I especially like Chris Squire and Greg Lake. BUT for me, there's only one "best": Jack Bruce.
Add Felix Pappalardi to the list of greats.
Some great talent here. A couple of more off the run suggestions:
Jaco Pastorious- his contributions to Joni Mitchell's catalogue are great. I especially like 'Hejira'
Fernando Saunders- adds to some of Lou Reed' best works. I like Live in Italy.
Peter Hook from New Order helped create their sound.
These players use the bass to "sing' as a lead instrument more than just provide an underpinning for the other instruments.
Ghosthouse- Felix is a fantastic addition. Might have to dust off some Mountain this evening.
Max - ah a kindred spirit...playing Mountain from various You Tube as I write.
I know of Jaco but not really familiar with his work (I do have Hejira).
Will have to check our Saunders & Hook. Thanks.
Yep Ghosthouse, Felix Pappalardi...super!
And Donald 'Duck' Dunn......of Booker T & MGs as well as the original Blues Bros?
Taking the liberty of expanding the rock genre to soul and funk would encompass James Jamerson and Larry Graham, whom I would guess influenced the majority of the great players mentioned above.
Graham Maby(Joe Jackson Band),Anthony Jackson(Steely Dan, Al Dimeola) John McVie(Fleetwood Mac}
Everybody else is second place.
Everyone I would nominate has already been mentioned, except for Jimi Hendrix.
Wc65mustang-I was waiting for the correct answer! Gary Thain and Greg Ridley deserve recognition.
Danny Gatton. Period! I guess this thread is over now.
When did Danny play bass? I know he played a double neck with a bass side, but I don't think I've ever heard him play a straight up bass. If there's a record you could point me to, I'd love to check it out.
Staying on this subject, if people wanna go the "virtuoso guitarist when he was briefly a bassist" route (see Jimi, above), I guess someone's gotta give Jimmy Page a shout-out for his days in the Yardbirds, too.
PBS running a Tony Levin performance right now....WOW.
Oops! I had this thread confused with the current best rock guitarist thread that I didn't answer.
Ok, if he did play bass, he'd be the best.
Um, Geddy Lee.
Yes, Flea and Levin and Claypool might be more technically articulate, but Geddy out=performs them in terms of musicality, composition, and voicing. Whether you enjoy Rush or not, his elevation of his instrument in his genre is comparable to only giants like Entwistle.
Jack Bruce. Period. His bass playing on the live track "Spoonful" from Cream's "Wheels of Fire" album recorded in early 1968 in San Francisco is the very best bass performance ever from a rock band in the 20th Century. Can't touch it. A monumental masterpiece. A damn good runner up is John Entwistle's bass playing with the WHO on the "Live at Leeds" album from 1970.
Let me add someone I know, who is an extremely musical bass player- Rob Stoner.
+1 on billy sheehan. heck of a nice guy as well.
My 3 favorite rock bassists:
Jack Bruce (incomparable)
Bruce Thomas (ex Attractions)
Jack Cassady (Hot Tuna)
Graham Maby (ex Joe Jackson)
As someone earlier had taken the liberty of expanding the rock genre to soul and funk I would add Mark Adams from the group Slave.
Stanley Clarke's early albums were just as much rock as they were jazz.
I agree with Geddy Lee. I listen to a huge variety of music and I don't believe I own any Rush. I have however seen them live in the late 70's/early 80's and I've never heard a bass player as good as him live or recorded. I'm talking electric bass however.
There are a lot of great bass players already mentioned. Three others that belong in the discussion are Stuart Hamm, Dave Larue, and John Myung. Of those three, I think Larue is the best. I have seen all of them live, and they are all outstanding.
Steve Harris Iron Maiden
Roger Glover Deep Purple
These days I would say either Geddy Lee or John Myung.
Best? A lot of bass players...James Jamerson, Jaco Pastorius, Bootsie Collins and Larry Graham Jr are just a few but I didn't see one post that included John Entwistle.
Dang shame y'all forgot him!
jack cassidy of the Jefferson Airplane/Hot Tuna. Listen to any live Airplane album and you will hear how he unobtrusively drives the band intensely forward.
Jack Bruce is a technical great, but when playing with Cream went off on his own path during songs instead of laying down a strong bass line.
Jack Cassidy...... Awesome.
In my time its Geddy Lee and Chris Squire. I saw them many time's since the late 70s.Most recently...Geddy Lee with the Clockwork Angels tour. In August of 2013 I saw the so called Yes....even though they were pretty good. They can never really be Yes without Jon and Rick.
Mental, I had Entwistle on my list of eight.
FWIW the more recent players don't do it for me with the exception of Les Claypool. But the modern guitarists (Satriani, Van Halen, etc.) don't do it for me either.
Jack Casady was top of my list. I guess this far down people don't read all the posts.
Doug Ferguson, original bass player in Camel was pretty awesome, as was Andrew Latimer when he picked up a bass guitar as well.
ALso a big fan of Richard Sinclair who played bass mainly with canterbury rock group "Caravan" (it's dromedary day I suppose) and also did a stint as bass player with Camel in teh late 70's.
Also gotta mention Chris Squire (Yes) in the discussion.
While on the prog rock track, in more recent years, how about Colin Edwin of Porcupine Tree?
"Best" is indeed a vague way to ask the question, but here's what you need to know:
1. J.S. Bach
2. James Jamerson
3. Paul McCartney
There are others.
So you've heard Bach play then, I assume? :^)
Hard to argue with McCartney, all things considered.
Jamerson did the bass playing for Motown? That's a pretty good resume as well!
Yeah, Bach's feet are the Original Bass Player. And they rock.
James Jamerson (and the Funk Brothers rhythm section that he anchored) played on more #1 hits than the Beatles, Stones, and Elvis combined. But since he didn't sing, nobody cares.
Dusty Hill ZZ TOP! Jack Bruce, John Entwistle, and a call out to Bill Wyman for laying down the best rhythm with Keith and Charlie!