20 of the Best Songs with Bass Solos
All bass players dream of wailing a bass solo like their idols did in the past. You can take some inspiration from these incredible bassists that went down in history as some of the best to ever do it.
Today, I will take you through a list of the 20 best songs with bass solos. Now keep in mind that this is not a definitive general list, only a list of my personal choice on the matter.
I hope I make a list that lives up to the standards, so without further ado, let’s have at it.
- 1. Motörhead – Stay Clean
- 2. Primus – Tommy The Cat
- 3. Cream – Crossroads
- 4. Rush – YYZ
- 5. Led Zeppelin – The Lemon Song
- 6. Metallica – Anesthesia (Pulling Teeth)
- 7. Muse – Hysteria
- 8. Yes – The Fish
- 9. Green Day – Welcome To Paradise
- 10. Dream Theater – The Dance Of Eternity
- 11. Red Hot Chilli Peppers – Coffee Shop
- 12. Rancid – Maxwell Murder
- 13. Weather Report – A Remark You Made
- 14. Guns N’ Roses – Paradise City
- 15. Weather Report – Teen Town
- 16. The Who – My Generation
- 17. The Brand New Heavies – You Are The Universe
- 18. Mr. Big – Addicted To The Rush
- 19. Victor Wooten – Cherokee
- 20. Gary Willis – Armageddon Blues
1. Motörhead – Stay Clean
Starting off strong with “Stay Clean” from Motörhead. This bass solo is a truly wondrous thing to hear and even to learn to play. The band’s bassist Lemmy really brings it in and knocks it out of the park with this one.
The song has a somewhat moderate-to-fast tempo that just never lets up all the way, then the bass solo comes in and Lemmy just boggles your head. Starting out modest with some bass scale variations, leading into a shredding fest with high notes that just leaves you speechless.
2. Primus – Tommy The Cat
All the way from ‘20 of the hardest songs to play on bass guitar’ to ‘20 of the best songs with bass solos’. Tommy The Cat by Primus makes both lists with this amazing track. Les Claypool is a remarkable bassist that has been the creator of some fantastic bass material in the past.
The entire song sounds like a bass solo. It’s just a culmination of slapping and grooving all the way through. A very high-tempo song that keeps your attention from start to finish, even with the break where Les implements tapping and slapping as a form of solo and to keep it even more interesting.
3. Cream – Crossroads
Even though prime-Eric Clapton plays lead guitar on “Crossroads”, we can’t overlook the fact that Jack Bruce does some mind-blowing bass work in the background throughout the entire song.
Jack continuously plays scale variations throughout this entire piece, but when you listen closely you can hear all the deviations he’s making in an effort to produce mini bass solos and a hard stand-alone bass solo. Keeping up with him on the song just makes it an enjoyable experience for bass enthusiasts and artists.
4. Rush – YYZ
I think it’s safe to say that there can’t possibly be a list regarding bass that won’t feature Rush or Geddy Lee to be more precise. YYZ is just a culmination of solos, whether they be on guitar or bass.
Geddy Lee has given us all an enjoyable bass experience with his bass skills. In YYZ, it’s just impossible not to appreciate his work, and how he keeps up with the tempo without using a pick. A high-tempo and really difficult song to play on bass. It’s really hard to play the bassline, let alone give the bass solo a shot.
5. Led Zeppelin – The Lemon Song
I can’t exclude Led Zeppelin or John Paul Jones for that matter. The Lemon Song earns a spot on the list with its amazing composition and bassline/solos. John Paul Jones is not only a great bass player but an all-around great musician.
Implementing and following certain scales and variations, John manages to keep it interesting from start to finish. Just the smoothness of his playing, accompanied by intense snippets of finger-style shredding makes this piece a more than worthy choice for the list.
6. Metallica – Anesthesia (Pulling Teeth)
We all knew sooner or later Cliff Burton was going to join the ranks on this list. Cliff had produced a lot of quality bass material for Metallica and had contributed to the success of the band for that matter.
Anesthesia (Pulling Teeth) is an amalgamation of the great Metallica and Cliff Burton on bass, to produce such a classic bass sound and solo. His effortless playing just compliments the song, with his finger-style solos that make it sound like someone is wailing on a guitar. Cliff is more than qualified to make the list of best bass solos.
7. Muse – Hysteria
No.7 on the list is “Hysteria” by Muse. Chris Wolstenholme solidified his place on this list when he contributed his bass skills to “Hysteria”. It’s an absolutely brilliant bass-oriented song that most people would recognize immediately.
The bass is the foundation of the song which cuts throughout. But the whole sound of the bass is like a bass solo, to be honest. In my opinion, It’s a bass solo that goes on for almost 4 minutes and It’s hard not to include this piece on the list.
8. Yes – The Fish
Another juggernaut joins the ranks on this list. Chris Squire’s legendary bass compositions will forever be remembered. This song manages to do what most bassists dream about, to give the job of a frontman to the bass.
Chris Squire masterfully shreds this beautiful bass solo and gives the listeners something to remember. The whole band falls into the background to give the spotlight to Chris and his solo, which ultimately results in a bass solo for the ages. That’s why “The Fish” by Yes joins the list at No.8.
9. Green Day – Welcome To Paradise
Moving on, we have Green Day with “Welcome To Paradise”. Even though the bass does more of a bridge than a solo, It’s hard to argue the sound and the effect it produces.
The main reason I chose this to be on the list is because the bridge is given the spotlight when all the music fades in the background, giving it a more bass solo feeling. Mike Dirnt earns his spot on the list for best songs with bass solos.
10. Dream Theater – The Dance Of Eternity
John Myung cements his spot on the list with his skills on “The Dance Of Eternity”. The song has a really high tempo which is hard to follow just listening to it, let alone shred on bass and produce a solo that leaves you speechless.
The track incorporates different kinds of bass skills, ranging from fast scale variations to tapping moments, to just shredding the entire bass with amazing finger-style playing, not to mention the unison between the guitar and the bass in the song. It’s safe to say that John Myung has earned the right to be on this list.
11. Red Hot Chilli Peppers – Coffee Shop
Really hard not to include Flea from Red Hot Chilli Peppers on this list. Although the band has a large amount of bass-oriented songs, the first one that comes to my mind is “Coffee Shop”. Flea definitely knocks this out of the park with his bass.
The song immediately catches the attention of listeners with Flea’s slap groove throughout the song. Almost in the middle of the song, the band takes a step back to let Flea produce one of the grooviest bass solos I’ve ever heard in my life. Definitely deserves to be on this list with this funky bass solo.
12. Rancid – Maxwell Murder
Some might think that Rancid might not deserve to be on the list but I beg to differ. Matt Freeman earns the spot with his bass solo in “Maxwell Murder”. Punk Rock has produced a lot of great artists for us to enjoy, one of which is surely Rancid.
The song starts off with shredding bass that ranges throughout the song. Then the music fades back and the drums accompany the bass in an instant classic solo by Matt Freeman, which, by the way, is with an extremely high tempo that’s hard to follow, let alone rip a bass solo with such speed and precision.
13. Weather Report – A Remark You Made
Taking a break from high-tempo songs and focusing more on the sound and quality of the bass that Jaco Pastorius produces. “A Remark You Made” is filled with stand-alone bass solos that just melt your ears with enjoyment.
I had to include this song, based on the beautiful bass sound it contains. With Jaco Pastorius’ playing style on the bass, which is not always fast but also slow and effective. This takes the spot at No.13, as being an enjoyable bass experience.
14. Guns N’ Roses – Paradise City
Of course, Guns N’ Roses make the list with the style and skills of Duff McKagan on the bass. “Paradise City” is well-known all over the world and symbolizes a great time in rock history, but it also has a really awesome bass solo in it.
Duff McKagan takes the time to showcase his skills on the bass when the song builds up to Its crescendo, to produce an instant classic bass solo for all Guns N’ Roses lovers out there. He lets it all out to compliment the song as much as he can and contribute to its sound.
15. Weather Report – Teen Town
Was it really a surprise that ‘Weather Report’ will make the list again? The bassline in the song is a solo, and it demonstrates just how skilled jazz fusion bassists were back in the day. The bass in the song consists entirely of bass guitar riffs.
Whether you like to think of the bass in the song as bass riffs or a solo, no one can deny that It’s pretty solo sounding. Taking the time to appreciate the skill of bass this song requires, definitely makes the list of best songs with bass solos.
16. The Who – My Generation
Next on the list is The Who with “My Generation”. John Entwistle, with his effortless take on “My Generation”, just makes this song even more enjoyable for audiences and listeners all around the world.
Even though the song is pretty simple sounding, one can’t overlook the short snippets where John just shreds the bass to produce mini solos in the song. With the calmness on his face, he just rips those parts to perfection, so he makes the list with flying colors.
17. The Brand New Heavies – You Are The Universe
This funky tune comes with some serious bass skills on top of it. Recorded and played by Andrew Levy, this song is one of the funkiest you will ever hear. With amazing bass lines and bass solos that will definitely make your list as well.
The bassline itself sounds very much like a bass solo, and you start off thinking like that until the actual bass solo rolls around the corner and just blows you away. Andrew Levy is definitely deserving to be on the list and should not be overlooked by anyone.
18. Mr. Big – Addicted To The Rush
When a bass is soloing in unison with the electric guitar, It’s hard not to include that on the list of best songs with bass solos. Billy Sheehan makes it look easy as he manages to solo in unison with the guitar.
The overall tempo of the song is just nuts. Trying to keep up is really hard, let alone have the bass tapped and played so fast with the guitar in the same fashion. Even though the name of the song is “Addicted To The Rush”, It’s more like “Addicted To This Bass Solo”.
19. Victor Wooten – Cherokee
How can there be a list without Victor Wooten when it comes to bass. Although Victor is a bassist and his songs are strictly bass-oriented, nevertheless, this song incorporates one of the best bass solos out there.
Starting with an outrageously fast tempo, Victor still manages to keep up and produce a bass solo that just drops jaws. He implements tapping and insane finger-style playing to make this piece more than worthy to join the ranks on this list.
20. Gary Willis – Armageddon Blues
Much like Victor Wooten, Gary Willis also has bass-oriented songs, with that being the case, you can only expect to hear some amazing bass skills at work.
Gary Willis takes you on a journey that will change the way you look at a bass guitar for sure. “Armageddon Blues” is what happens when a veteran-level bassist shows just what he can do with effortless technique, and produces a bass solo that will simply leave you speechless.
There are a lot of bass solos throughout history that could have made the list here today. Not gonna lie, It was a split decision between some, but nevertheless, this is what my list looks like. I included lots of different bassists and bands to make the list more diverse. I hope you enjoyed reading and listening!