September 3, 2011

When you ask people who have had the opportunity and privilege to play bass who their favorite classic rock bassists are, you’re likely hear the names of Paul McCartney, Jack Bruce, John Paul Jones, Carol Kaye, or John Entwhistle bandied about, and with good reason. For me, McCartney was the very best; it was his virtuoso playing throughout Abbey Road (especially here and here) that inspired me to learn to play bass.

An unsung favorite you rarely, if ever, hear about, and one of (at least in my mind) great rock bassists of all time was Chip Douglas. While you may not have ever heard of Douglas by name or reputation, without a doubt you’ve heard him play on any number of classic hits by The Turtles and, most especially, on The Monkees‘ classic albums. He had a very “busy”, jazz-like technique that really kept the beat jumping behind even the most straight 4/4 rhythms. His work on The Monkees’ albums Headquarters and Pisces, Aquarius, Capricorn and Jones is some of the finest bass playing I’ve ever listened to.

Here are some samples of songs he’s played on I think you’ll enjoy.

From The Monkees:

“Listen To The Band”
“What Am I Doin’ Hangin’ Round?”
“Pleasant Valley Sunday”
“The Girl I Knew Somewhere”

From The Turtles:

“Happy Together”
“She’d Rather Be With Me”

…and my favorite (just listen for how Douglas’ bass line drives the chorus): Elenore. It’s one of my all-time favorite songs. Don’t forget to play this one loud and by all means, sing along!

But I’m not the only one who respects Douglas’ technique. Check out this guy; dude has got it down pure. He’s playing along to “Sunny Girlfriend” from Headquarters. God, I wish I could play bass like that!

Filed in: Uncategorized by The Great White Shank at 00:44 | Comments (0)
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