As the foundation for any and all music, bass is the backbone of every song. But bass guitars are also one of the most exhilarating instruments to start off a song with. Guest-blogger Marlies is a bass aficionado and she’s kindly curated a top 10 of songs that have smashing bass intros.

Top 10 Songs With A Smashing Bass Intro

Built on Bass

Simply put, songs just aren’t as good if they don’t have a fat or catchy bass line. Whether it comes from a double bass, tuba or bass guitar, the bass is arguably the most important instrument in any band. While I’m the first to admit I’m a little biased, this has actually been scientifically proven. Our brains are programmed to be able to better understand the rhythm of a song if it has a bass line in it. The bass basically forms the foundation of a track and as such, bass instruments are a great way to kick one off. Like they say, well begun is half done!

Ten Bass Intros

#1. Come Alive (The War of the Roses) – Janelle Monáe

You might recognise this one from a Kia commercial. The bass is played by Nathaniel Irvin III, who allegedly nicked the bass line from B-52’s, Rock Lobster (1978). Truth be told, I’m tempted to agree. Have a listen!

#2. Come Together – The Beatles

This song comes from the Beatles’ legendary 1969 record, Abbey Road and of course features none other than Paul McCartney on the bass guitar. The intro of Come Together eventually became one of the most recognisable bass lines ever. Loving the psychedelic infusion!

#3. Hair – Graham Central Station

A funky bass intro played by the inventor of the slapping technique, Larry Graham. This track appeared on the 1974 record, Graham Central Station.

#4. I Wish – Stevie Wonder

While Nathan Watts played most of the bass lines in Stevie Wonder’s songs, Wonder himself actually played the bass parts for the studio recordings on his synthesizer. Fortunately for us, that’s not the case for I Wish, which appeared on Songs in the Key of Life from 1976. What a brilliant intro!

#5. Little Green Bag – The George Baker Selection

Bassist Jan Visser used to play this little bass riff to warm up for rehearsals. That is, until one day he and Hans Bouwens (George Baker) decided to turn it into a real song. The rest is history when it comes to this world-class hit from 1969.

#6. N.I.B. – Black Sabbath

This track appeared on Black Sabbath’s debut record in 1970. It’s a dark and ominous song sung by Lucifer, the devil, who falls in love and ends up becoming a good person. During the intro, however, Lucifer is still evil as hell and this feeling is aptly enhanced and intensified by Geezer Butler’s grim bass solo.

#7. Mirror in the Bathroom – The Beat

Released as a single for their debut album, The Beat’s Mirror in the Bathroom (1980) not only features the band’s unique blend of styles but a fast and groovy bass intro that makes it difficult to stay in one place!

#8. Stuart and the Ave. – Green Day

Not exactly the most complex bass line out there but, then again, punk rock doesn’t always need complexity. You’re listening to Mike Dirnt play bass on Stuart and the Ave. from Green Day’s 1995 album, Insomniac.

#9. Sure Know Something – Kiss

Bombastically kitsch hard rock with a touch of disco and a smooth bass intro from Gene Simmons. This Kiss song dates back to 1979.

#10. Walk on the Wilde Side – Lou Reed

Written for the double bass by the classically-schooled Herbie Flowers, the dark and heavy bass line in Lou Reed’s Walk on the Wild Side is also called ‘the mother of all basslines.’ Flowers later prepared a bass guitar version, which can be heard on the world-famous 1972 record, Transformer.

More Bass Intros?

I’m curious to hear your thoughts on these bass intros! While writing this blog, I came across many more remarkable bass intros and it wasn’t always easy to stick to only ten examples. The super-short intro of Glenn Campbell’s Wichita Lineman with Carol Kaye on the bass, Money by Pink Floyd, Superfly by Curtis Mayfield, argh…there’s too much to choose from!

Can you think of a bass intro that deserves to be on the list? Don’t hesitate to leave a comment and a Youtube link!

See Also

» All Bass Guitars & Accessories
» What’s the Best Bass Guitar for Me?

3 responses
  1. Jan says:

    I love the background music in the song Nikita by Elton John. What is the instrument that sounds like a tuba. Bass guitar?

  2. Jeff Briggs says:

    Green-eyed Lady from Sugar Loaf gets my vote. I used to play the intro on bass back in the 1980s. The original had a keyboard player joining the bass for the intro. We didn’t have a keyboard player in the band so it was just me.

  3. Ralph Trayler says:

    8 Mile High, bass intro played by Chris Hillman

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