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The Beatles: “A Day in the Life” – Paul McCartney’s Isolated Bass (Isolated Bass Week)

We’ve heard from a lot of readers who think that Paul McCartney is one of the most underrated bassists of all time.

Well, you can judge for yourself in today’s isolated track, which includes both McCartney’s bass and Ringo Starr’s drums on “A Day in the Life”, the last track on the 1967 album, Sgt. Pepper’s Lonely Hearts Club Band.

The interplay between these two is pretty magical.

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    It’s a myth that Paul re-recorded any of Ringo’s drum parts. Paul did drum on a few Beatles songs when Ringo was unavailable, but he didn’t replace Ringo’s parts.

Bob Boyce

Bob Boyce

Clearly seen here is that Paul’s Bass is the source of ‘forward motion ‘ in the ‘whole’ of the Beatle catalog. There is genuine knowledge of the arranged sections and always putting the vocal line above the mix while ‘lifting’ the band with yes ‘forward motion’. Many good music writers forget that if the bass player does not have the ‘Big Picture’ of the tune the tune in most cases will fall short and not be received by the listener. Paul was the nucleus of the Beatles.

Brandon Taylor Crow

I think if this wasn’t The Beatles, people would make fun of this.


A few cats here hit the nail on the head….the magic word is melody. A really good bass player plays melodic bass lines. Look no further than Bach’s Figured Bass for inspiration. Some cats do this naturally by ear. Others are just knowledgeable and know exactly what to do during a certain chord progression. In the sixties pop era most bass players were quite content in staying on the root since most were just really guitar players. But dudes like Paul were multi-instrumentalist. So he knew exactly what to do to make it pretty, it was all in the Bass. Underrated bass player? I never heard that being said about Paul as a bass player. Must be a lot of young wannabes that have not yet paid homage to the masters.

thay singh

thay singh

Nope sorry. Whatever Paul’s virtues as a musician (and they are many), this certainly isn’t a stand-out bass line. In fact, there are a few places where it sounds downright clumsy. Under-rated bass player? He’s about average…


    I like it. It’s amazing how well such a simple bass line actually works in the song. I think Paul’s talent lies in the writing more than the actual playing, I don’t see too many bass players having real trouble playing this, but I don’t think I’ve heard any others actually write stuff like this.

Tony Clark

Tony Clark

Paul McCartney, genius! And on so many levels but being a bass player myself I particularly appreciate his approach to adding bass to a song!

Anthony Cook

Hey Corey….I always love the discussion the ensues once we all get to listen in on an isolated bass track .Paul McCartney certainly has to be recognized as an innovative bassist that set the bar very high.The way he plays into a song is just amazing & imaginative.I am always impressed when a bass player does “unexpected ” bass runs that make me smile and shake my head . I have miles of smiles from the many basslines Sir Paul has graced us with over the years . Thanks again,Corey,and BASS ON !!!

Charlie Schofield

Charlie Schofield

I don’t think that before Paul McCartney, bass players were as melodic. I’m not saying that there weren’t melodic players out there, but he really cemented that style in the 60s. Listening to this, to me , really brings home what an original player he was. There are lots of baddass players in the world. But Paul was not just a bass player trying to clime to the top of the heap of great bassists. (Like so many!) Paul McCartney helped to write fresh new songs with the Beatles, and played such well crafted parts, and in such an original way. He wins my heart, because of that, and because I grew up listening to him, not because he wows me with his chops.