7 Female Bass Players Who Helped Shape Modern Music: Kim Gordon, Tina Weymouth, Kim Deal & More
“Members of bands that routinely become the subject of petitions to the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame, Fox and Gordon represent just two of hundreds of women bass players, many thumping away in obscurity and no small number achieving success in indie, punk, metal, and jazz bands, as solo artists, or as sessions musicians. Gordon’s low end helped drive the sound of nineties alt-rock (see her with Sonic Youth at the top), and Fox’s basslines underscored seventies hard rock (with the Runaways above).
Before either of them picked up the instrument, another hugely influential bassist, Carol Kaye, played on thousands of hits as a member of L.A.’s top flight session musicians, the Wrecking Crew. A trained jazz guitarist, Kaye’s discography includes Nancy Sinatra’s “These Boots Were Made for Walking,” the Beach Boy’s “California Girls,” the Monkees “I’m a Believer,” Joe Cocker’s “Feelin’ Alright”… and that’s just a tiny sampling. (See Kaye give Kiss’s Gene Simmons a bass lesson, above, and don’t miss a lengthy interview with her here.)
No list of classic female bass players will ever be complete—there’s always one more name to add, one more bass riff to savor, one more argument to be had over who is over- and underrated. But it should provoke no argument whatsoever to point toward Meshell Ndegeocello as not only one of the most talented bass players, but one of the most talented musicians period of her generation.
Again, this is only the briefest, smallest sampling of excellent female bass players—in rock, jazz, soul, etc. An expanded list would include players like Melissa Auf der Maur, Esperanza Spalding, and many more names you may or may not have heard before.”
See the full list including a number of videos here