Bill named as one of the 50 greatest bassists of all time

Rolling Stone Magazine has named Bill as one of the top 50 greatest bassists of all time, alongside other greats including James Jamerson, Charles Mingus, Sting and Lemmy.

The article reckons that bassists are often overlooked and undervalued, even within their own bands – yet, according to session legend Carol Kaye, “The bass is the foundation.”

Rolling Stone has put together its list of 50 greatest bassists of all time, and its one that celebrates the entire spectrum. According to Rolling Stone, the list is “emphatically not intended as a ranking of objective skill; nor does it assign any one set of criteria as a measure of greatness. Instead it’s an inventory of the bassists who have had the most direct and visible impact on creating, to borrow Kaye’s term, the very foundation of popular music — from rock to funk to country to R&B to disco to hip-hop, and beyond — during the past half-century or so.”

Celebrating and recognising some of the greatest bassists, Bill is listed as 23 – something that will surprise the ever-modest Bill!

“There must be hundreds of better bass players than me,” Bill Wyman told Rolling Stone in 1974. “I mean I could never play like Jack Bruce. If I was ambitious in that direction I’d practice, [but] I don’t.” But while he undersells his talent, his fellow Rolling Stones disagree. “Bill Wyman’s an incredible bass player,” Keith Richards once said. “I’m still always amazed by Bill’s tastefulness in his bass playing.… He’s a very sensitive musician.” Wyman earned Richards’ praise by playing smart harmonies under the guitarist’s iconic “Satisfaction” riff (playing a melody that goes down while the guitar goes up), a gentle rumble underneath “Jumpin’ Jack Flash,” and rhythms that wiggle underneath the boogie-woogie of “Rocks Off.” “I’m not a busy bass player,” Wyman once said. “I’m not a Stanley Clarke or anyone like that. To me, they should be playing guitar, not bass.… You need some balls in the bottom.… You leave the space for other people, you don’t fill it in with the bass. Leave lots of room and let the track breathe from underneath.”

Read the full top 50 run down at Rolling Stone Magazine’s The 50 Greatest Bassists of All Time – and let us know in the comments below what you think!

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