We all love a catchy kick-off to get us going, but no guitar shred or drum fill will ever compete with a perfectly executed bass intro. Whether it be in songs or Seinfeld, the bottom end can add a whole different dimension which is why we have compiled a list, in no particular order, of some of the best and most recognisable bass intros in music.
Motorhead, ‘Ace of Spades’
Ace of Spades! The Ace of Spades…and queue the bass riff. As soon as the song begins Lemmy’s aggressive bass tone and strumming is instantly recognisable and ready to get you chanting those three words.
KISS, ‘100,000 Years’
This simple bass line does not have as much to it as other intros mentioned here, but is definitely one of the most recognisable. Regardless of the band, as soon as the first note is plucked from this riff many ears prick up assuming this song is about to be played.
Pink Floyd, ‘Money’
We listed this on our ‘Dad Rock’ list, and you bet it’s getting a mention here! Ask any dad what they recommend with a solid bass intro and you’re guaranteed to hear them rave on about this tune.
Queen and David Bowie, ‘Under Pressure’
There’s no question that ‘Another One Bites The Dust’ should have a mention —some bands just know how to handle the bottom end— but for the sake of not repeating the same artist over and over, ‘Under Pressure’ wins the ticket when it comes to Queen bass intros. The reason for that is because if there was no ‘Under Pressure’ there would be no ‘Ice Ice Baby’!
It’s an unspoken rule that ‘Hysteria’ makes it on to every ‘best bass intro’ list.
A song that not only sounds great, but is extremely fun to play. FYI – it’s also a great warm up song for bass players to stretch their fingers!
Rick James, ‘Superfreak’
Another song that has a bass intro that everyone will recognise regardless of their age.
Metallica, ‘For Whom The Bell Tolls’
As killer as this sounds on recording, Cliff Burton’s live rendition of ‘For Whom The Bell Tolls’ bass intro/solo is a must watch. Prepare to be blown away.
Chic, ‘Everybody Dance’
It’s mandatory that we include some 70’s disco groove, and ‘Chic’ is a perfect example!
You want a bass intro to get you revved up? Then be sure to listen to 2012 by Taberah, nothing like some Australian heavy metal from Tasmania.
Black Sabbath, ‘N.I.B’
While Black Sabbath have many great basslines, Geezer Butler’s ‘N.I.B’ intro will always have the crowd left in awe over how great of a bass player he is.
Bang Tango, ‘Someone Like You’
An underrated song that people rarely think of when it comes to bass, however, the bass line that you hear in the intro and throughout the song adds depth to create a far more catchy track.
Iron Maiden, ‘Killers’
As discussed earlier, some bands just know how to handle the bottom end and could be mentioned numerous times on this list; Iron Maiden is one of them. All of Steve Harris’s bass lines are here to impress but the intro to ‘Killers’ in particular is full of fast finger picking octave action.
Megadeth, ‘Peace Sells’
Because this is proof that a dance vibe is attainable in a heavy metal bass intro.
Death, ‘Spirit Crusher’
Death can be a bit of an acquired taste —the band and death itself — so even if this is something you can’t listen to beyond a certain point, the bass intro is most definitely listenable and enjoyable.
Thin Lizzy, ‘Dancing In The Moonlight’
Thin Lizzy has never been short of a catchy rock tune. Vocalist and bassist Phil Lynott made this especially true when it came to the intro of ‘Dancing In The Moonlight’.
Testament, ‘Souls of Black’
There’s no argument that this list is composed a lot of a metal bands, but that is because many metal bands have great guitarists that they like to flaunt, which is why the occasional bass intro is s such a sacred thing. This intro is a perfect example and really does set up the whole song.
Electric Light Orchestra, ‘Last Train To London’
This is another one of those intros that you have most likely heard and will remember yet had no idea what song it was from — until now.
Pegazus, ‘Enchanted World’
Ever hear something so beautiful that it makes you feel a little bit emotional? Amazing how a metal band can have that effect.
Red Hot Chili Peppers, ‘Around The World’
Will Flea ever be absent from a bass list? The answer is no. While Red Hot Chili Peppers are never short of a good funky-rock-punk-infused bass line, ‘Around The World’ is definitely an intro that does impress and reflects Flea’s playing as a whole.
Nirvana, ‘Love Buzz’
So apparently Nirvana can have an intro that isn’t just grungy guitar chords, in fact they have possibly one of the best simple bass intros you will hear.
Van Halen, ‘Running With The Devil’
If you are looking for a song that plays one note over and over and does it with such oomph then you’ve come to the right place. Don’t expect any Cliff Burton-esque playing here, but for some reason it will rev you up.
Symphony X, ‘Domination’
Nothing simple sounding about this, but that’s what makes it so great. It’s complex enough where you can be amazed, but not too complex where it’s just the musical equivalent of a buzzing bee.
Rage Against The Machine, ‘Bombtrack’
It was a bit of a tossup between ‘Bombtrack’ and ‘Killing In The Name’. Bombtrack won because the intro is purely bass on its own basking in the glory of excellent riffage.
I am a bass-thundering and word-writing lover of music; especially of tunes with an old school rock and metal feel (I'll even throw in a bit of 70's disco while we are at it, can't forget about a good groove!). I spend most of my time either playing music, or writing about music. Find me on Instagram @jacintajacintajacintaView all posts by Jacinta Jaye