List of Famous Bassists

List of famous bassists, with photos, bios, and other information when available. Who are the top bassists in the world? This includes the most prominent bassists, living and dead, both in America and abroad. This list of notable bassists is ordered by their level of prominence, and can be sorted for various bits of information, such as where these historic bassists were born and what their nationality is. The people on this list are from different countries, but what they all have in common is that they're all renowned bassists.

Use every person on this list for yours, from Eddie Van Halen to Paul McCartney.

From reputable, prominent, and well known bassists to the lesser known bassists of today, these are some of the best professionals in the bassist field. If you want to answer the questions, "Who are the most famous bassists ever?" and "What are the names of famous bassists?" then you're in the right place. {#nodes}
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  • Sir James Paul McCartney (born 18 June 1942) is an English singer, songwriter, musician, composer, and record and film producer who gained worldwide fame as bass player for the Beatles. His songwriting partnership with John Lennon remains the most successful in history. After the group disbanded in 1970, he pursued a solo career and formed the band Wings with his first wife, Linda, and Denny Laine. A self-taught musician, McCartney is proficient on bass, guitar, and keyboards. He is known for his melodic approach to bass-playing (mainly playing with a plectrum), his versatile and wide tenor vocal range (spanning over four octaves), and his eclecticism (exploring styles ranging from early 20th-century pop to classical and electronica). McCartney began his career as a member of the Quarrymen in 1957, which evolved into the Beatles in 1960. Starting in 1967, he gradually became the Beatles' de facto leader and business manager, providing the creative impetus for their records after Sgt. Pepper's Lonely Hearts Club Band. Of his Beatles songs, more than 2,200 artists have covered "Yesterday" (1965), making it one of the most covered songs in popular music history. In 1970, he made his solo debut with the album McCartney, which anticipated the lo-fi movement. Along with Ram (1971) and McCartney II (1980), the records have enjoyed a cult following among later generations of musicians. From 1971 to 1981, he led the group Wings, and in 1993, he formed the music duo the Fireman with Youth of Killing Joke. Since 2002, McCartney has toured consistently with the same backing musicians. Beyond music, he has taken part in projects to promote international charities related to such subjects as animal rights, seal hunting, land mines, vegetarianism, poverty, and music education. McCartney is one of the most successful composers and performers of all time. He has written or co-written 32 songs that have reached No. 1 on the Billboard Hot 100, and as of 2009, had 25.5 million RIAA-certified units in the United States. His honors include two inductions into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame (as a member of the Beatles in 1988 and as a solo artist in 1999), 18 Grammy Awards, an appointment as a Member of the Order of the British Empire in 1965, and a knighthood in 1997 for services to music. As of 2015, he is also one of the wealthiest musicians in the world, with an estimated fortune of $730 million.
  • Gene Klein (born Chaim Witz on August 25, 1949), known professionally as Gene Simmons, is an Israeli-American musician, singer, songwriter, record producer, entrepreneur, actor, author, and television personality. Also known by his stage persona The Demon, he is the bassist and co-lead singer of Kiss, the rock band he co-founded with lead singer and rhythm guitarist Paul Stanley in the early 1970s.
  • Jared Joseph Leto (; born December 26, 1971) is an American actor, singer, songwriter, and director. After starting his career with television appearances in the early 1990s, Leto achieved recognition for his role as Jordan Catalano on the television series My So-Called Life (1994). He made his film debut in How to Make an American Quilt (1995) and received critical praise for his performance in Prefontaine (1997). Leto played supporting roles in The Thin Red Line (1998), Fight Club (1999) and American Psycho (2000), as well as the lead role in Urban Legend (1998), and earned critical acclaim after portraying heroin addict Harry Goldfarb in Requiem for a Dream (2000). He later began focusing increasingly on his music career, returning to acting with Panic Room (2002), Alexander (2004), Lord of War (2005), Lonely Hearts (2006), Chapter 27 (2007), and Mr. Nobody (2009). In 2012, he directed the documentary film Artifact. He then appeared in Suicide Squad (2016) and Blade Runner 2049 (2017). Leto's performance as a transgender woman in Dallas Buyers Club (2013) earned him an Academy Award, a Golden Globe Award, and a Screen Actors Guild Award for Best Supporting Actor. Leto is considered to be a method actor, known for his constant devotion to and research of his roles. He often remains completely in character for the duration of the shooting schedules of his films, even to the point of adversely affecting his health. He is also known to be selective about his film roles.Leto is the lead vocalist, multi-instrumentalist and main songwriter for Thirty Seconds to Mars, a band he formed in 1998 in Los Angeles, California, with his older brother Shannon Leto. Their debut album, 30 Seconds to Mars (2002), was released to positive reviews, but only to limited commercial success. The band achieved worldwide fame with the release of their second album A Beautiful Lie (2005). Their following releases, This Is War (2009), and Love, Lust, Faith and Dreams (2013), received further critical and commercial success. As of September 2014, the band has sold over 15 million albums worldwide. Leto has also directed music videos, including the MTV Video Music Award–winning "The Kill" (2006), "Kings and Queens" (2009), and "Up in the Air" (2013).
  • Michael Trent Reznor (born May 17, 1965) is an American singer, songwriter, musician, record producer, and film score composer. He is the founder, lead vocalist, and principal songwriter of the industrial rock band Nine Inch Nails, which he founded in 1988 and of which he was the sole official member until adding long-time collaborator Atticus Ross as a permanent member in 2016. His first release under the Nine Inch Nails name, the 1989 album Pretty Hate Machine, was a commercial and critical success. He has since released nine Nine Inch Nails studio albums. He left Interscope Records in 2007 and was an independent recording artist until signing with Columbia Records in 2012. Reznor was associated with the bands Option 30, The Urge, The Innocent, and Exotic Birds in the mid-1980s. Outside of Nine Inch Nails, he has contributed to the albums of artists such as Marilyn Manson and Saul Williams. He and his wife, Mariqueen Maandig, are members of the post-industrial group How to Destroy Angels, with Atticus Ross and long-time Nine Inch Nails graphic designer Rob Sheridan.Reznor and Ross scored the David Fincher films The Social Network (2010), The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo (2011), and Gone Girl (2014), winning the Academy Award for Best Original Score for The Social Network and the Grammy Award for Best Score Soundtrack for Visual Media for The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo. They also scored the 2018 film Bird Box. In 1997, Reznor appeared in Time's list of the year's most influential people, and Spin magazine described him as "the most vital artist in music".
  • Michael Peter Balzary (born 16 October 1962), known professionally as Flea, is an Australian-American musician and actor. He is best known as the bassist of the rock band Red Hot Chili Peppers and, due to bandmate Anthony Kiedis' brief absence in 1986, is the only constant member of the group. Flea is widely considered among the best bassists of all time. Flea briefly appeared as the bassist for such bands as What Is This?, Fear, and Jane's Addiction. He has performed with rock supergroups Atoms for Peace, Antemasque, Pigface, and Rocket Juice & the Moon, and collaborated with The Mars Volta, Johnny Cash, Tom Waits, Alanis Morissette, and Young MC. Flea also performed live with Nirvana in 1993 playing the trumpet. Flea incorporates elements of funk (including slap bass), psychedelic, punk, and hard rock. In 2009, Rolling Stone readers ranked Flea the second best bassist of all time, behind only John Entwistle. In 2012, he and the other members of Red Hot Chili Peppers were inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame.Since 1984, Flea has acted in over 20 films and television series such as Suburbia, Back to the Future Part II and Part III, My Own Private Idaho, The Chase, Fear and Loathing in Las Vegas, Dudes, Son in Law, The Big Lebowski, Low Down, Baby Driver and Boy Erased, in addition to voicing the character Donnie Thornberry in The Wild Thornberrys animated television series and films. Flea is also the co-founder of Silverlake Conservatory of Music, a non-profit music education organization founded in 2001 for underprivileged children. In 2019 Flea will release his memoir Acid for the Children which will detail his life prior to the formation of Red Hot Chili Peppers.
  • Sid Vicious (born John Simon Ritchie, 10 May 1957 – 2 February 1979) was an English bassist and vocalist. He achieved fame as a member of the punk rock band the Sex Pistols, replacing Glen Matlock, who had fallen out of favour with the rest of the group. Due to intravenous drug use, Vicious was hospitalised with hepatitis during the recording of the Sex Pistols' only studio album, Never Mind the Bollocks, Here's the Sex Pistols; his bass is only partially featured on one song - "Bodies". Vicious later appeared as a lead vocalist, performing three songs, on the soundtrack to The Great Rock 'n' Roll Swindle, a largely fictionalised documentary about the Sex Pistols. As the Sex Pistols were gaining attention, Vicious met Nancy Spungen, and the pair entered a relationship which culminated in Spungen's death from an apparent stab wound while staying in New York City's Hotel Chelsea with Vicious. Under suspicion of murder, Vicious was released on bail; he was arrested again for assaulting Todd Smith, brother of Patti Smith, at a nightclub, and underwent drug rehabilitation on Rikers Island. He died in 1979 after overdosing on heroin. Less than four weeks after Vicious's death, The Great Rock 'n' Roll Swindle soundtrack was released. On 15 December 1979, a compilation of live material recorded during his brief solo career was released as Sid Sings. Gary Oldman portrayed Vicious in the 1986 biopic Sid and Nancy.