23 feelgood disco, dance and pop basslines
27th Feb 2014 | 16:52
Classic offerings from the bass players behind Chic, Donna Summer, Kylie Minogue and others
BASS EXPO 2014: Are you a budding DJ? Do you play bass in a covers band? Or are you simply a lover of low-end? Whatever brings you here, you're in the right place for soaking up some feel good disco, dance and pop basslines.
The 70s ruled when it came to big, chunky disco bass, while the 80s and 90s carried the mantle with aplomb. There are loads more dance floor filling basslines out there but, to us, the following line-up represents the very best in feel good bass.
First up, we treat our eardrums to the super slick playing style of Bernard Edwards...
Good Times - Chic
The mother of all disco basslines, Good Times featured low-end supremo Bernard Edwards at the height of his powers. It was also sampled on The Sugarhill Gang smash Rapper's Delight.
Music For Chameleons - Gary Numan
Just like Alan Patridge, we're major fans of this super fat bassline. Laid down by Welsh bass wizard Pino Palladino, Music For Chameleons is a tasty workout for any player.
The Promise - Girls Aloud
It starts off simple enough, but jump to the chorus and this perfect pop bassline - played by Xenomania house bassist Kieran Jones - really begins to flourish.
Love To Love You - Donna Summer
Aside from the saucy lyrics, provocative vocals, and seriously funky guitar licks, this disco favourite is home to a superb bassline courtesy of session ace Dave King (Chaka Khan, Tina Turner).
Teardrops - Womack & Womack
Taken from their fourth album, Conscience, Teardrops with its standout bassline has been covered by everyone from Elton John and Sugababes to Cliff Richard and Candi Stanton.
Treasure - Bruno Mars
If ever a modern player represented the feel and soul of James Jamerson, we'd put our money on The Hooligans' Jamareo Artis. Treasure is just one of the smoking hot basslines he's laid down on Bruno Mars' copious skyscraper hits.
Mr Blue Sky - ELO
Electric Light Orchestra were a bunch of staggeringly talented, harmonically lush musos. Mr Blue Sky may be one of their simplest basslines, but it's by far their most memorable - anyone and their gran could sing this back to you.
Girls On Film - Duran Duran
Another busy offering from the inimitable John Taylor, we reckon Girls On Film is one of his stand out moments... And that's saying something considering the raft of memorable lines he's written for Duran Duran over the years.
Spinning Around - Kylie Minogue
The diminutive Australian popstar was lucky enough to bag session giant Phil Spalding on her UK No 1 in June 2000. Not giving an inch, this super tasty bassline will make even the most reluctant of dancers shake it like a polaroid picture.
Love Shack - B-52s
Taken from the classic album Cosmic Thing, Love Shack is a dance floor filler that features an iconic bass break down at 3:23 - written and played by bassist/singer-songwriter Sara Lee (Robert Fripp, Gang Of Four).
He's The Greatest Dancer - Sister Sledge
With a reggae inspired guitar lick sampled by Will Smith on Getting' Jiggy Wit It, this Sister Sledge classic flows thanks to a smooth, rich bassline that knows its place.
Like A Prayer (album version) - Madonna
Fusing elements of gospel and funk, Like A Prayer is one of Madge's most complex songs. Played by renowned session musician Guy Pratt (Pink Floyd, Michael Jackson, Tears For Fears), the busy, bubbling bassline is doubled by an analogue Minimoog bass synth.
Rapture - Blondie
Us mere mortals can only dream of writing a bassline as infectious as the one on Rapture, yet Nigel Harrison captured a perfect piece of disco pop meets hip-hop on this US No 1.
You Can Call Me Al - Paul Simon
Paul Simon's African inspired bass playing stands up on its own, but it's the bass run from Bakithi Kumalo that truly thrills. Factoid: only the first half of the run was recorded - it was played backwards for the second half.
Thunder In My Heart - Leo Sayer
Berklee music graduate and studio great Abe Laboriel unleashed this driving bassline for Leo Sayer's disco darling, making it as much a focal point as the vocals and strings.
Don't Leave Me This Way - Thelma Houston
Ahead of the beat and with some juicy slap bass, too, a classic disco feel dominates this well-loved track. The chorus is where things get busy - compared to the original Harold Melvin version, the bassline, played by Motown ace Henry Davis, sounds like it's on speed.
Easy Lover - Phil Collins
Not only did Nathan East (Toto, Daft Punk, Herbie Hancock) play bass on Easy Lover, but he also co-wrote the song with Phil Collins and Phillip Bailey. Skip to 3:08 to hear the rock solid foundation he lays down for the lead guitar.
Get Down Tonight - KC & The Sunshine Band
A badass bassline if ever there was one, the super fly Richard Finch held it down meticulously with drummer Robert Johnson on KC's first of five Billboard Hot 100 No 1's.
Voulez-Vous - Abba
Surprise! Admit it, you didn't expect to find Abba in this line-up, did you? Just one listen to Rutger Gunnarsson's throbbing bass as it bulldozes through Voulez-Vous and you'll understand why we included it.
Billie Jean - Michael Jackson
Do pop basslines come any more iconic than this? Simple, timeless, and beloved by beginners and pro bassists alike. You can thank Louis Johnson for the Billie Jean bassline, and that of Don't Stop Til You Get Enough.
Young Hearts Run Free - Candi Staton
Perhaps one of the most feel good basslines of all. Scott Edwards (Stevie Wonder) is credited with playing the bubbly, rich and smooth sounding bass on Candi's best known hit.
More Than A Woman - Tavares
Once again, session ace Scott Edwards lays down a busy little line for what is arguably Tavares best track. A true disco classic, it was featured in one of the main dance scenes for Saturday Night Fever. And, um, The Office.
Cosmic Girl - Jamiroquai
You need some serious groove to handle the bassline in Cosmic Girl. Original Jamiroquai bassist Stuart Zender said it was one of his favourites. Ours too - we love all those little fills he peppers throughout the track.
Words: Claire Davies