I guess it was fairly inevitable that this should end up on here at some point this year. It’s a massive rock classic, an iconic track. The bass intro alone (you can ignore Slash doing his guitar stuff, the true melody is in that bass line – but maybe I’m biased!) makes it worthy of inclusion.
The reason I’ve shared it this week is quite fun I think. The band I’m in were auditioning a new singer this week, and she’d prepared some songs, which we played and all was good. We then started talking about other numbers and she mentioned that she liked singing this one, so we said “OK, let’s give it a go”.
What I hadn’t appreciated was that it’s been around 2 years since the band last played it. What the band hadn’t appreciated was it’s probably twice that since I played it last. I’ve only ever played it twice in gigs, about 5 years apart, and only rehearsed it with any band a handful of times.
To cut a long story short, I skipped the intro because I couldn’t remember it, but what ensued was a fantastic jam. We all got really into it, played it pretty well considering, and our potential new recruit did it real justice as its not an easy song to sing well.
Guns ‘n’ Roses – Sweet Child o’ Mine
Simple Minds are another one of those bands that I didn’t like, then I liked for a while, then I didn’t like them again. Now I can listen to a couple of their songs at a time, but I wouldn’t necessarily want to hear a whole album, and I doubt I’d try to see them in conert again. I went once, but was at the very back of the SECC in Glasgow and couldn’t really see them. And it took longer to get out of the car park than the gig had gone on for!
Anyhow, I chose this track because it shows that bass lines don’t have to be complicated to be effective, and I don’t think you can get much simpler than playing one note over and over!
I hope you enjoy this blast from the past: it doesn’t seem to get played on the radio as often as some of their other tracks but is very worthy. This is the only one of their singles I bought (on 12″) and I don’t think I’ve any of their albums on vinyl.
Simple Minds – Waterfront
I think this is one cover version of a song which far surpasses the original. It doesn’t sound massively different, though it does have additional swagger, and there are so many references to Michael Jackson in the video. I guess that each version means something different to each generation, but I think that this rockier version from Alien Ant Farm may prove to be more enduring than Jacko’s version.
It’s a lot of fun to play this on bass – perhaps one reason why I like it – but I also enjoy the video. The band appear to be having fun making it: not many will have had the chance to appear alongside a chimpanzee. Their follow up single, Movies, had a great video too – check it out!
Smooth Criminal – Alient Ant Farm
I heard that a few years ago Classic Rock magazine polled its readers to find out who they considered to be the best rock singer, guitarist, bassist and drummer of all time. When the votes were cast, it turned out that the band that was created already had a name – Led Zeppelin.
I must confess that I hadn’t listened to them much before my 40s, to the extent that I’d heard Rolf Harris’ version of Stairway to Heaven long before I heard the original. That seems barely credible to me, but it’s true,
I found a list of Top 40 bass lines ever, and of all the many possibles, this song was the Led Zeppelin one that made the list. And what a track it is! The bass burbles away in the background, while the lyrics include reference to Lord of the Rings. I’ve addded this to my bucket list of songs to be able to play, and from time to time I return to it. It’s getting easier to play parts of it, but I’ve not managed the whole thing at full speed. I know I’ll get there though, it’s just going to take time.
Ramble On – Led Zeppelin
Yet another fabulous bassline which mangles my hands when I try to play it! This is a really bouncy, happy song, which I hadn’t heard until a couple of years ago. Stevie Wonder has never really been on my radar in terms of musicians I should listen to, even though I play Master Blaster for the band I’m with now, but this song appeared in a list of Top 50 basslines in a music magazine and it’s grown on me over the years.
I Wish – Stevie Wonder
Hope you enjoy it as much as I do. And the bassist in the video makes it look so easy!
As you know I’m a bass player, I’ll bet that some of you are a little surprised at this choice. Surely I’d have gone for something like Hysteria by Muse, with its awesome, hand mangling bass line? This track is relatively simple, though as I don’t use a pick it’s quite tough to play at full speed all the way through. All the fancy stuff is being done by the guitar, but it’s underpinned and supported by the bass and drums. It’s a classic bit of understated bass playing, though I love the guitar riff too.
Headphone on – or wind the volume up if you can – and rejoice in how good a three piece band can be.
Stockholm Syndrome – Muse