For the weekly #askYES feature over 5 weeks, the current touring members of YES choose tracks they find inspiring and hope will be an inspiration for people learning their chosen instruments.

Here are Chris Squire’s Bass Inspirations, with notes from Chris below.

You can also listen to this playlist on Spotify or watch and listen on YouTube.

The Beatles – All My Loving
One of my biggest influences as a young player was Paul McCartney. The walking bass line on ‘All My Loving’ was one of the first things I learned to play so I guess it will always be burned into my memory.

The Beatles – Come Together
The other big Beatles riff I love is the blues-based riff in the intro of ‘Come Together’ which I have modified and worked into some of my own work.

The Rolling Stones – I Wanna Be Your Man
I’ll never forget how impressed I was the first time I heard Bill Wyman’s bass line on The Stones’ hit ‘I Wanna Be Your Man’ – the very essence of R&B rock.

The Who – My Generation
R&B was very prevalent in the London clubs as I was growing up. I used to go to The Marquee Club to watch The Who, who labelled themselves as ‘Maximum R&B’.

The Who – Happy Jack
I was a dyed-in-the-wool fan of The Who from the age of fifteen and had many enjoyable hours watching Pete Townsend and listening to John Entwistle’s bass playing as demonstrated on ‘My Generation’ & ‘Happy Jack’.

The Who – Live From Kilburn
If you ever get the chance, the whole of The Who’s ‘Live from Kilburn’ DVD is a great show with the bass mixed really loud.

The Graham Bond Organisation – Hoochie Coochie Man
At The Marquee Club I was exposed to The Graham Bond Organisation which featured Graham Bond on Hammond organ, Dick Heckstall-Smith on sax, Ginger Baker on drums (the loudest drummer I had ever heard at that time on a completely un-miked drum kit) and of course Jack Bruce on bass, harmonica and vocals.

Cream – Crossroads (live)
Of course Jack Bruce & Ginger Baker went on to form Cream with Eric Clapton where you can hear many examples of Jack’s talented bass playing – the live version of ‘Crossroads’ comes to mind.

The Police – Spirits In The Material World
I always loved the way The Police combined rock with reggae. A great example of this is Sting’s bass part on ‘Spirits In The Material World’.

James Jamerson
It would be remiss of me at this point not to mention the contribution of Funk Brother James Jamerson who played on more Number 1 Hits (mainly for Motown records) than anyone else who ever lived.

James Jamerson
The list of tunes is astounding and he was largely uncredited but if you get a chance, check out his history.

Stevie Wonder – I Was Made To Love Her (lesson)
His work includes ‘Shotgun’ by Jr. Walker & the All Stars, ‘For Once in My Life’ & ‘I Was Made To Love Her’ by Stevie Wonder…

The Miracles – Going to a Go-Go (lesson)
…’Going to a Go-Go’ by The Miracles, ‘My Girl’ by The Temptations, ‘Dancing in the Street’ by Martha and the Vandellas, ‘I Heard It Through the Grapevine’ by Gladys Knight and the Pips…

Marvin Gaye – I Heard It Through the Grapevine (bassline)
…’I Heard It Through the Grapevine’ by Marvin Gaye, and most of the album ‘What’s Going On’ by Marvin Gaye, ‘Reach Out I’ll Be There’ & ‘Bernadette’ by the Four Tops and ‘You Can’t Hurry Love’ by The Supremes.

Red Hot Chili Peppers – Higher Ground
A couple of guys that I’d like to mention who are younger than myself are Flea from Red Hot Chili Peppers (‘Higher Ground’)…

No Doubt – It’s My Life
…and Tony Kanal of No Doubt (‘It’s My Life’). Both of these two are fantastic live and well worth buying a ticket to see. I recently found out that Tony grew up where I grew up in the northwest suburb of London, Kingsbury.

Chris Squire & Steve Howe – Rig Rundown

I hope this all makes interesting and inspiring listening & viewing for those who are playing or learning to play the bass.

All the best,
Chris Squire


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