Relive 7 Pink Floyd Iconic Basslines
via Pink Floyd/YouTube
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Back in September, bass player Guy Pratt revealed to Rolling Stone that contrary to popular belief, Roger Waters didn’t play bass on most Pink Floyd songs. He said, “David played half the bass on those records and I never thought of Roger as a bass player.” But we’re not here to debate whether or not Waters is a great bassist. Instead, we’re only revisiting some of the band’s most iconic basslines. Tasty and groovy, there’s so much more but we’re only including seven of the best.
Let’s check them out.
7. “Have A Cigar”
That intro hooks you in. Written by Waters, it’s his dig on the music industry at the time especially with the hypocrisy and greed of record labels. Foo Fighters’ Dave Grohl called this track the “most punk rock thing Pink Floyd ever did.”
The groove is unbelievable. It features a distinct bassline and clocks in at over 23 minutes. Waters claimed that Andrew Lloyd Webber plagiarized the riff for his musical “The Phantom of the Opera”. Waters explained, “The beginning of that bloody Phantom song is from ‘Echoes’. It’s the same time signature – it’s 12/8 – and it’s the same structure and it’s the same notes and it’s the same everything.”
5. “Pigs (Three Different Ones)”
Smooth and overall awesome, the band’s giant inflatable pig became iconic too. As a solo artist, this has remained a staple in Waters’ shows.
4. “Atom Heart Mother”
Speaking about iconic and great basslines, we can’t leave out this six-part suite. Filmmaker Stanley Kubrick wanted to use it for his 1971 dystopian movie “A Clockwork Orange” but Pink Floyd rejected his request. He got back at the band by refusing Waters from sampling the audio in “2001: A Space Odyssey”.
3. “Astronomy Domine”
Manic and trippy, it was written by Syd Barrett and it was his first foray into what would be known as space rock. Drummer Nick Mason told Rolling Stone in 2018: “This is such a great drum track in an interesting time signature. It’s a fantastic bit of ’60s philosophy mixed with a sort of psychedelic lyric.”
2. “One of These Days”
An absolutely delightful listen from start to end. It’s hauntingly beautiful and was built around a bass riff from Waters. Speaking about playing bass on this classic, David Gilmour told Guitar World: “The opening section is me and Roger. On ‘One of these Days,’ for some reason, we decided to do a double track of the bass. You can actually hear it if you listen in stereo. The first bass is me. A bar later, Roger joins in on the other side of the stereo picture. We didn’t have a spare set of strings for the spare bass guitar, so the second bass is very dull sounding. [laughs] We sent a roadie out to buy some strings, but he wandered off to see his girlfriend instead.”
With its unusual time signature, it’s just catchy and unforgettable. It’s unique and is, without a doubt, Pink Floyd’s crowning achievement as far as iconic basslines go.