Top 10 Songs with the Most Iconic Basslines Not Written by Bassists

I hear you asking, "What? Is it possible?"
Yes, it is.
And this list proves it.

The Top Ten

1 Billie Jean - Michael Jackson

It's so damn catchy. I can play this in my head. - Userguy44

The title is giving me a flashback to Andriy Vasylenko...

- written by Daryl Hall & John Oats (American duo)
- adopted by Michael Jackson from their song 'I Can't Go for That (No Can Do)', 1981
- played by bassist Louis Johnson
According to Daryl Hall, during the recording of "We Are the World", Michael Jackson approached him and admitted to lifting the bass line for "Billie Jean". - Metal_Treasure

The intro was inspired by Hall & Oates. Definitely not the same bass line. - RobertWisdom

2 Hysteria - Muse

This bassline is epic. - Userguy44

- Written by guitarist and lead singer Matt Bellamy
- played by bassist Chris Wolstenholme - Metal_Treasure

3 Seven Nation Army - The White Stripes

- written by guitarist Jack White
- also played by him... using GUITAR!
It sounds and functions as bass but it's guitar. The "bassline" was recorded on guitar, most probably with an octave pedal (or something that could do pitch shifting). - Metal_Treasure

Too bad it's a pretty crap song. - Firepower

Bassline? Lol - Userguy44

4 Pigs (Three Different Ones) - Pink Floyd

Written by guitarist David Gilmour who also played it on fretless bass with a pick (haha, guitarists tend to play bass with a pick). David Gilmour even created two short bass solos on fretless.
Bassist Roger Waters played a rhythm guitar track instead. - Metal_Treasure

5 Back In the Saddle - Aerosmith

Written and originally recorded by guitarist Joe Perry.
Joe wrote the main bass piece and recorded it. Hamilton played a back up bass. - Metal_Treasure

6 The National Anthem - Radiohead

Written and recorded by singer Thom Yorke and not bassist Colin Greenwood. Thom Yorke wrote the song's bassline when he was 16. - Metal_Treasure

7 Sympathy for the Devil - The Rolling Stones

The guitarists for the Stones played bass more often than most people realize. Keith played on "Street Fighting Man", "Jumpin' Jack Flash", "Happy", and "Let's Spend the Night Together" (among many others). Mick Taylor played bass on "Tumbling Dice", "Fingerprint File", "Dancing With Mr. D", and "Torn and Frayed", while Ronnie Wood played bass on "Shattered", "Emotional Rescue", and "Hang Fire" (just a few examples). Having said that, Sympathy for the Devil is still probably the most iconic of the bunch. - Gg2000

Composed and played in the studio by guitarist Keith Richards, not Bill Wyman - Metal_Treasure

8 Livin' on a Prayer - Bon Jovi

- written by Joe Lynn Turner (lead singer for Rainbow and Deep Purple)
- adopted by Bon Jovi's keyboardist/pianist David Bryan from Joe Lynn Turner's song 'Get Tough' (1985)
- probably played by bassist Hugh McDonald although Alec John Such was credited - Metal_Treasure

9 Hey You - Pink Floyd

I'm glad you put this one on there. The bass fills in the intro always get me every time. - Gg2000

Written and played on fretless bass by guitarist David Gilmour rather than usual bassist Roger Waters. - Metal_Treasure

10 Alison Hell - Annihilator

- written by guitarist Jeff Waters
- played by him because Annihilator had no bassist at the time of its recording in 1988
- for the same reason, Jeff Waters actually wrote and played all basslines to this iconic thrash metal album (Alice In Hell, 1989)
- After the recording, Annihilator recruited a bassist who was credited but actually didn't play on the album. - Metal_Treasure

The Contenders

11 Devil's Dance - Metallica

This bass line was a masterpiece! - awesomedp900

- written by guitarist and lead singer James Hetfield
- played by bassist Jason Newsted - Metal_Treasure

12 YYZ - Rush

- the bassline was noticed by drummer Neil Peart in... the location identifier of Toronto Pearson International Airport. YYZ is the identification code of this airport and Neil heard the Morse code version of "YYZ" (_.___.____..), and its rhythm just stuck. Rush used that rhythm and named the song YYZ.
You understand the bassline wasn't exactly "written" by Neil Peart and this is the reason the song isn't higher on this list but it still counts as it became an iconic bassline.
- bassline was adopted and played by bassist Geddy Lee
- should Samuel Morse get writing credits for YYZ? :-) - Metal_Treasure

13 Souls of Black - Testament

A cool and well known thrash metal intro.
- written by their guitarist Alex Skolnick´╗┐
- performed by bassist Greg Christian - Metal_Treasure

14 Human Insecticide - Annihilator

Written and performed by guitarist Jeff Waters. This song is fast as hell. - Metal_Treasure

15 New Frontier - Iron Maiden

A song of 2003 where the bassline was:
- written by drummer Nicko McBrain
- played by bassist Steve Harris
Fun fact: this was Nicko's only songwriting credit in the entire Iron Maiden discography and Maiden's only song co-written by him (except for 3 insignificant reissue bonus tracks). - Metal_Treasure

16 Malpractice - Faith No More

The original bass line was written by singer Mike Patton (the guy with 6+ octave vocal range, I am not kidding) - Metal_Treasure

17 40 - U2

The bassline was written and recorded by The Edge (their guitarist). It was recorded on the last day of the sessions for War; Adam Clayton already went home and the others still felt that the album needed one more song. So, the Edge laid down the bass and overdubbed the guitar. When they play it live, The Edge and Adam swap instruments. - Gg2000

18 Starless - King Crimson

The middle bass riff was written by drummer Bill Bruford and performed by John Wetton - Metal_Treasure

19 Love Gun - Kiss

Paul Stanley wrote it and played it, not Gene. - Metal_Treasure

20 Come Undone - Duran Duran

Nick Rhodes (keyboardist) and John Jones both contributed synth bass.
The group's bassist, John Taylor, did not actually play bass on this track, although he does in the music video. - Metal_Treasure

21 Schizos (Are Never Alone) Parts I & II - Annihilator

Written and performed by guitarist Jeff Waters. - Metal_Treasure

22 Feel Good Inc. - Gorillaz

Who wrote it? - Userguy44

That bass line is so funky - weatherman419

23 Attention - Charlie Puth

This is pop though :( - weatherman419

So is Billie Jean. Metal_Treasure didn't say these songs had to be rock songs or metal songs. - Gg2000

24 California Love - 2Pac
25 Rebirth of Slick - Digable Planets
26 Smooth Criminal - Michael Jackson
27 Who is It - Michael Jackson
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