Joe Osborn’s Original Charts Up for Auction

Joe Osborn's Original Charts

As part of the fabled L.A. studio musicians dubbed “The Wrecking Crew,” the late Joe Osborn was one of the most prolific bassists of all time. His playing graces an incredible number of hit songs, from Ricky Nelson’s “Travelin’ Man” to The 5th Dimension’s “Aquarius/Let the Sunshine In” to the Mamas and the Papas hit “California Dreamin’.” Since his passing in December 2018, his family has been keeping his memory alive by sharing his work on social media. Now some interesting and valuable pieces of Osborn’s history will be available for auction as several of his original charts will be placed on eBay.

The news was shared on Osborn’s Facebook page by his grandchildren, who explained that “It’s not fair for us to keep all of these pieces of history, that should be spread around a bit we feel and things that could make someone really happy to own. There are items obviously that will be kept but there’s just an excessive amount. The museum where his bass is simply doesn’t have room for more things.”

Two charts are already available for bidding, including an original studio session chart for The 5th Dimension’s “Black Patch” and an original chart for the Simon and Garfunkel Hit “Bridge Over Troubled Water.” Though he played on the studio version, Osborn’s granddaughter writes that “he stated he thought this chart was from the live Carnegie Hall show in 1969.”

The charts are currently set at $750 and $1,000, respectively. Even if you can’t afford it, the listings have full, detailed pictures of each chart to give us a clear view of what Osborn was given to work with to craft his own lines. In our 2012 Stories Behind the Songs interview, the bassist doled out some wisdom about bass line creation:

“Young players ask me, “How do you think of all those things to play?’ And this is one of my lessons that I repeat over and over again: The song will tell you what to play if you listen. You get your ideas from either the melody or the vocal phrasing gives you rhythmic ideas.”

More charts will be added soon, including “Ventura Highway.” You can keep up with any new charts posted via the Joe Osborn Facebook page.

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  1. David Desmond

    I noticed that on Bridge Over Trouble Water I notice that someone (Joe) wrote above the note in pencil what the note is. So much for some of these guys being instant sight readers. Still a great bassist and a cool piece of history.