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Herbie Flowers: The Story Behind Lou Reed’s “Walk on the Wild Side” Bass Line

The news of Lou Reed’s passing this weekend led me to revisit some of his music, including the legendary musician’s smash hit “Walk on the Wild Side.”

Here’s an awesome clip taken from The One Show – an interview with the man that created one of the most famous bass lines in rock history: Herbie Flowers.

Flowers, a popular studio musician at the time, was hired by Reed for the session at Trident Studios. The bassist got a big, dark tone from his upright, then decided to build on the line by adding electric bass a tenth above the line. The result is a thick, rich bass line that sticks with you.

And how long was the session that produced such an iconic hit? “About twenty minutes,” Flowers says.

RIP, Lou.

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    I agree Jim, I’ve had to play this line live and the best I can do is play the tonic and the 10th as a 2 note chord both moving in the same direction. With attention to touch and tone I can make it sound acceptable but it will always lack that touch of magic as you well explain it.



And he never got a share of the songwriting credit.