At the close of each year, we take time to remember those we lost in the bass community. 2014 saw the passing of some of the most influential bassists of our lifetime. Join us as we take a moment to remember the lives and legacies of the bass players we lost this year.
Paul Goddard (April 29, 2014)
Goddard was among the founding members of the Atlanta Rhythm Section in 1970. The band became an influential group that has lasted for over four decades.
Juan Formell (May 1, 2014)
Cuban bassist Formell started music at a young age and honed his craft in cabarets and on television shows. He formed Los Van Van in 1969, with whom he is credited with mixing son and salsa styles. He was also a pioneer of incorporating electronic instrumentation to the Cuban musical form.
Ed Gagliardi (May 11, 2014)
In 1976, Gagliardi was the final member added to complete the original lineup of Foreigner. The bassist was featured on Foreigners first two albums, Foreigner and Double Vision, which included the hits “Feels Like the First Time,” “Cold As Ice,” “Hot Blooded,” and “Double Vision.” He was replaced in 1979, but went on to release two more albums with keyboardist Al Greenwood under the moniker Spys.
Akihiro Yokoyama (May 13, 2014)
Yokoyama was a mainstay of the Japanese metal scene. He joined United two years after they formed, and although he wasn’t an original member, he quickly became their manager as well as the lead creative force in the band. The bassist recorded nine full length albums, two EPs and two singles with United on his trusty three-string bass.
Randy Coven (May 20, 2014)
Bassists all over the world have benefitted from Coven’s instructional videos. Inspired by the Beatles concert at Shea Stadium, Randy Coven started out on drums but switched to bass after feeling restricted behind the kit. He was roommates with guitarist Steve Vai at Berklee, leading to a lifetime friendship. Throughout the 80s and 90s, the bassist worked with musicians ranging from Leslie West to Yngwie Malmsteen to Holy Mother. His more recent projects included the band ARK, MCM, and continuing the Randy Coven Band.
Charlie Haden (July 11, 2014)
Jazz legend Charlie Haden is a bass icon. Born in Iowa, Haden was raised on country and folk music in his family band before becoming interested jazz and classical. He attended Westlake College of Music in Los Angeles, during which time he played with Paul Bley, Art Pepper, and Ornette Coleman, with whom he recorded the groundbreaking album The Shape of Jazz to Come in 1959. Haden played and recorded with numerous musicians throughout his life, with hundreds of recording credits. He was awarded the Lifetime Achievement Award at the 55th Annual Grammy Awards in 2013.
Billy Rath (August 16, 2014)
Rath joined New York-based Johnny Thunders and the Heartbreakers in 1976 and recorded on their only studio album, L.A.M.F., which landed them a tour with the Sex Pistols during the Anarchy tour. The bassist got out of the music scene in the mid-’80s due to health issues but returned to the stage in the last few years of his life in his own band called the Street Pirates.
Tim “Rawbiz” Williams (August 26, 2014)
Williams was a talented and diverse bassist who graduated from Berklee College of Music. He went on to perform with artists like Braxton, Keyshia Cole, Boyz II Men, and Young Jeezy. He was also featured on the MTV reality show Making His Band, but ultimately joined Suicidal Tendencies in 2011. He is featured on their 2013 album entitled 13.
Glenn Cornick (August 29, 2014)
Cornick was featured on Jethro Tull’s first three albums, This Was (1968), Stand Up (1969) and Benefit (1970), but left the group during the early recording sessions for Aqualung. According to Jethro Tull frontman Ian Anderson, his broad knowledge of music was instrumental in establishing the band’s early song arrangements. He went on to play in various bands and frequent Tull fan conventions.
John Gustafson (September 12, 2014)
Gustafson carved out his living as a bassist with the likes of Ian Gillan Band and Roxy Music. The Liverpool native, who also gigged as a singer, worked with Ian Waller of Wal basses to create the JG Custom bass.
Jack Bruce (October 25, 2014)
The magnitude of Jack Bruce’s influence on modern rock cannot be overstated. Born in Scotland, Bruce studied cello and composition at the Royal Scottish Academy of Music and Drama, but left due to a conflict with the school over him playing jazz. His early career included work with John Mayall’s Blues Breakers, Manfred Mann and more, but he is best known as the cofounder of the supergroup Cream with Eric Clapton and Ginger Baker. He wrote most of the group’s songs including “I Feel Free” and the iconic “Sunshine of Your Love.” Cream split up in 1968 and Bruce went on to follow a solo career, further cementing his status as one of the greatest bassists ever.
Rick Rosas (November 6, 2014)
Affectionately known as “Rick the Bass Player,” Rosas got his musical start in an instrumental surf band called Mark & The Escorts in the early 1960’s. Through life’s twists and turns, he ended up meeting Eagles guitarist Joe Walsh and joined him on his 1985 release, The Confessor. He went on to contribute to six more albums with Walsh. His relationship with folk rock hero Neil Young began at Farm Aid 1987 and was first documented with 1988’s This Note’s For You. Young brough Rosas back into the fold in 2005 for the rest of his albums and touring. He also worked with Jerry Lee Lewis, Johnny Rivers, Ron Wood, Etta James, Buffalo Springfield, and more.
Paul “Cuzo” Mancuso (December 6, 2014)
Paul Mancuso was a member of the Canadian rock scene and was formerly a member of Diemonds. He joined the Canadian Celtic punk outfit The Mahones in 2012 and was featured on two of their albums.
Larry Sims (December 13, 2014)
Sims got his start in the ‘60s group The Sunshine Company before meeting Jim Messina in Huntington Beach, California. Once Messina teamed up with Kenny Loggins, Sims was brought into the fold to lay down bass and vocals. He played on all six studio albums including the hits “Danny’s Song”, “House at Pooh Corner”, and “Your Mama Don’t Dance” before the group broke up in 1976.