Central Time Explores Why People Love the Sound of the Bass

"Love bass" image by No TrebleRob Ferrett is the co-host of “Central Time” on Wisconsin Public Radio, and he has a cool idea for a show that’s all about bass.

Rob reached out to us to ask us to get involved in the show. Of course we said yes, and of course we want you to be involved too.

“The interview will start with a brain researcher who’s looking at the science behind why we love bass sounds,” Rob shared. “I’d talk to her for a few, then bring a guest on for ‘best bass lines’ and take calls from listeners as well.”

The show will air tomorrow, July 30, 2014 from 3:30 to 4:00pm Central Time (4:30-5:00pm Eastern). Rob and co-host Veronica Rueckert will be leading the discussion with the researcher and yours truly, and playing some samples of the bass lines you share.

What do you think are the best bass lines? The most recognizable, most iconic, or flat out best? Please share in the comments, we’ll tally them up and present the list on the show.

Check out Central Time on WPR, including how to listen live.

Get daily bass updates.

Get the latest news, videos, lessons, and more in your inbox every morning.

Share your thoughts

  1. bob

    My favorite bass line is from the Kings of Leon song “The Immortals”, by Jared Followill. Just love how it sounds with the rest of the band in the song.

  2. Anton Bell

    So many good ones to choose from. The first to pop into my head was Bob Marley’s “Stir It Up” bass line provided by Aston “Family Man” Barrett. Oh so many just popping into my head, “Signed, Sealed, Delivered” by Stevie Wonder bass line provided by Bob Babbitt and any thing from James Jamerson. “I Know You Know” by Esperanza Spalding is good one. Ah just too many

    • BC Anagnostis

      One of the most recognizable lines that come to mind is the bass line from “I’ll take You There”, by the Staples Singers…there are so many to choose from in so many genres of music…bass has that unique way of moving around in the depths of your soul and making feelings happen…

  3. Phinex Diego

    Bass frequencies are just soothing by nature. Just ask Barry White

  4. “Cold Sweat” by James Brown; “For the Love of Money” by the O’Jays; “Money” by Pink Floyd; “Billy Jean” by Michael Jackson. Those are the ones that immediately come to mind.

  5. So What, Paul Chambers bass on Miles Davis Kind of Blue

  6. Day Tripper, Beatles

  7. Dave Goldthorpe

    Donna Lee by Jaco Pastorius is possibly the best fretless bass line.

    I love what Geddy Lee from Rush brings to the bass line to Marathon from Power Windows. How he sings, and plays that line is beyond me.

  8. Gavin MacDonald

    Whenever people talk about the best bass line or simply great bass lines the first one to pop into my head is I Want You Back by the Jackson 5. Every single time so I’d say that is my number 1 choice.

    Other noticeable bass lines include:
    Around The World – Daft Punk (ok it’s played on a synth but it’s still a funky bass line)
    Almost all of the bass from Thriller by Michael Jackson (I personally like Baby Be Mine), actually a lot of MJ bass lines are excellent. Take your pick.
    Rage Against The Machine – Whole 1st album.
    Stand By Me – Ben E King
    Primus – Tommy The Cat, Golden Boy, American Life… ummm, every other Primus tune.

    I could go on forever. There are lots of excellent bass lines.

  9. Jason

    Prunus with American life

  10. floyd

    “I Want you Back” J5
    “Give it Away” RHCP
    “Stir it up” Bob Marley
    “Run to the hills” Iron Maiden

    These 4 lovely Basstracks are my choice to describe the summary of the best, coolest and sexiest Bass-Awesomeness through every genre of music. Just my opinion!

  11. Black Sabbath – N.I.B.

  12. Sunshine of Your Love – not because there’s anything great about it, but because the simplest form of the pentatonic minor blues scale was front and center for the first time in pop music. I suspect there are thousands of bass players out there who did a head slap the first time they realized that those same 5 notes covered roughly half the rock music out at the time. Throw in the blue notes and sudenly you’re a player. :)

  13. Gregg

    These are a few that come to mind.

    Billie Jean – Michael Jackson
    Brick House – The Commodores
    I’ve Got You – James Brown
    Stand By Me – Ben E. King

  14. My favorite bass line is off of Voyager by Daft Punk.

  15. B-Rye

    Shake Everything You Got – Maceo Parker

  16. Man… Too many to pick up just one from….

    But as a bass player, and to choose my favorites to play, here they are:
    – “Transmission”, Joy Division (the first thing I ever played in a instrument);
    – “She Bangs The Drums”, The Stone Roses;
    – “This Charming Man”, The Smiths
    – “Dig a Pony”, The Beatles.

    And the list goes on….

  17. Mike Matthews

    Oh my… there are just so many good ones out there. Off the top of my head, “Ramble On” Led Zep, “For Whom the Bell Tolls” Metallica, “Good Times” Chic, “Virtual Insanity” Jameroqui (or however ya spell it), “Teen Town” Jaco, “Scarified” Racer X, anything and EVERYTHING by Stevie Wonder !!!

  18. Conor

    Hair (Graham Central Station), Come Together (Beatles), Sunshine of Your Love (Cream), Money (Pink Floyd), Another One Bites the Dust (Queen), Ramble On (Led Zeppelin). These are some quintessential basslines in rock.

  19. Anything by tool, bootsy Collins, flea, Steve Harris, or Cliff Burton is heaven , heavy low end gold !

  20. Damilola Bodunde

    Jungle Boogie- Kool and the Gang
    Get on the Floor- Michael Jackson
    I Want You Back- Jackson 5

    Some of my favourites

  21. Bob Lovejoy

    Three Friends, by Gentle Giant. Absolutely stunning. Ray Shulman is a genius.

  22. Kat

    When I say “bass”, I mean the bass guitar. As a musician who’s tool is primarily the bass guitar, Its not surprising that its sound pleases me. I have thought a lot about why it is that of all of the tools I own, I find myself playing the bass more consistently than any other.

    We love bass frequencies because it appeals to multiples senses. You can hear the bass, yes. But you can feel the bass. The frequency has the ability to stimulate nerves and shake your cells. Bass can move more than your emotions, but can also shift your physical anatomy.

    Bass frequencies can change you. Treble just can’t do that.

  23. I think,we need to first identify the genres of musicpww, then we can provide what we believe is the most appropriate line for that particular song in that genre. That,way reggae is not competing with the blues, with heavy metal, etc. Beatles probably need a genre all to themselves.

  24. There are many, but the one I love since I was a kid. Bouree by Jethro Tull. Actualiteit it is not a bassline but a bass song. :-)

  25. Biscuit Trolley

    In general, the versatility of the bass in being suitable for bass, harmony or lead parts, as well as the range of distinctive tones that can be acheived. When you’ve got such a range, you’re gonna get more people liking bits statistically. There’s also something to be said for the way lower frequencies resonate in the human body – the way you feel bass in your stomach if it’s loud enough. I think this is also related to the perception that a melody played low can be more soulful, for example the use of cello in the classical tradition, and although less common, the mid-high register on an upright can be incredibly expressive.

  26. solomon saunders

    Yyz will definitely be one. Or the enemy with by rush. Also force ten or turn the page to show case bass’ high end stuff. To capture low end psycho by system of a down.

  27. Pierre

    There are just too many to mention, there are lots of great bassists and lots of great bass lines, it’s almost impossible to pick some that really stand out, but at the moment Fugazi’s “Waiting Room” seems to stand out.

  28. Barry Irwin

    “Master Blaster” “I Wish” “For Once In My Life” as played by Stevie Wonder.Jaco’s bass line on “The Chicken” “Come on Come Over” (anything Jaco played) Paul McCartney “Come Together” “Day Tripper” Stanley Clark ” School Days” Paul Jackson “Chameleon” “Badge” Jack Bruce. Everything Bernard Edwards played with “Chic” in the 70’s. The list goes on!!

  29. Amazing Bass Lines:

    Power by Marcus Miller
    Jamiroquai – (Don’t) Give Hate A Chance by Jamiroquai
    Teen Town by Jaco Pastorius

  30. The sound waves are far enough apart that you can snuggle in-between them and take a little nap. I like to think of the role of bass as being the chemicals you need in the water for a fish tank. You can live without the treatment, but you’ll be all sickly and start floating to the top without it.

  31. Rob

    Silly love songs, Paul McCartney and anything by James Jamerson…

  32. David

    the bass line from “Chest Fever” by The Band is hugely underrated

  33. Niels

    This is hard, there are so many good bass lines, almost impossible. But if I have to choose one, I’d say “A Million Miles Away”, by Rory Gallagher (Gerry McAvoy on bass), besides the amazing guitar playing, there’s an amazing bass line, giving the groove and giving depth to the song. Wonderfull.
    But like I said, to many to mention.

    • Virgil

      Guys, by far the most recognizable bass line is “My Girl” by the Temptations. :-)

  34. Raijin

    The bassline on Teena Marie’s “Square Biz” gets my vote, as does the bassline to Pleasure’s “Glide.” If you don’t know either of those, you owe it to yourself to check them out.

  35. S.G.Nightingale

    My favorite bass line is in the song “Freewill”from my favorite bassist of all time Mr Geddy Lee.

  36. Dan

    James Jamerson’s line on Reach Out is my personal favorite, and my vote for best and most recognizable.

  37. Yane

    How can you play bass without grooving? Funk forever! Hair – Larry Graham, Walkabout-RHCP, The final voyage of the liquid sky -Primus…..

  38. Treble is like a knife, Bass is like a pillow. What makes you more comfortable?

  39. Long Cool Woman In A Black Dress by The Hollies! Such a kick to play and gets them dancing and singing along every time.

  40. hugh

    hugh…. Bernadette….jamerson……..kid Charlemagne….Chuck Rainy…..Sunshine Of Your Love……jack.Bruce