Michael Jackson “Billie Jean”
Based (get it, based?) around the pumping bassline of session player Louis Johnson, this track was the first breakout hit of MJ’s Thriller album. Producer Quincy Jones actually wanted to cut the extended intro but Michael protested. You know who won the argument.
Earth, Wind & Fire “Let’s Groove”
This post-disco pop funk epic is centered on a relentless, repeating bassline that really does make you want to, uh, groove.
Chic “Good Times”
Bernard Edwards’ throbbing bassline to this 1979 hit single is one of the most famous basslines of all time thanks to it being used by The Sugarhill Gang on their genre defining anthem “Rapper’s Delight.”
Queen “Another One Bites The Dust”
The classic rockers biggest single was actually inspired by Chic’s “Good Times” and released at the suggestion of Michael Jackson.
Parliament “Flash Light”
Though these funk pioneers included groundbreaking bassist Bootsy Collins, this song’s rump shaking bassline was actually played by keyboardist Bernie Worrell on the synthesizer.
Rick James “Give It To Me Baby”
Long before he became a punchline on Chappelle’s Show, the “King of Punk Funk” tore up the charts with his bass-heavy odes to overindulgence.
Beastie Boys “Sabotage”
These rappers turned alt rockers cranked up the fuzz bass on this 1994 hit song whose video helped launch the career of director Spike Jonze.
Red Hot Chili Peppers “Give It Away”
Wild and crazy punk funkers get a lot of millage out of famed finger popping bassist Flea’s bass grove on this song off their Blood Sugar Sex Magik album.
The White Stripes “Seven Nation Army”
The distinctive descending bassline that anchors the song is not actually a bass but a guitar run through a DigiTech Whammy which can lower the pitch of any note.
Green Day “Longview”
The song that put these Bay Area punkers on the map is built around Mike Dirnt’s looping bassline which he allegedly wrote one night while tripping on acid.