Paul McCartney's Underrated Bass Lines
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Paul McCartney's Underrated Bass Lines

In honor of Yesterday's upcoming release, let's take a look at Paul McCartney's role not just as a songwriter, but a bassist.

Paul McCartney's Underrated Bass Lines

Every member of the "Fab Four", as it were, contributed something unique sonically. Lennon brought an edge with his reaching vocals, and if anyone was truly the master of their instrument, it was Harrison, who crafted those melodic, layered guitar riffs we know and love.

In honor of "Yesterday" being released this month, I'd like to take a look at Paul McCartney's (relatively) undiscussed role not just as one of the greatest songwriters of all time, but as a very competent bassist.

The bass is special in that it is intrinsically tied to both the beat and harmony of a given track.

Your Mother Should Know (Remastered 2009)

Just listen to how full the song gets when the bass really comes in at the 25-second mark. This is a perfect example of McCartney not only complementing Ringo's drumming but essentially harmonizing with his own voice.

Here is (in no particular order) a list of tracks where McCartney's bass playing deserves a second look.

1. "Rain"

This is awfully fun. Fairly high, listen to how it sort of weaves back and forth around the guitar.

2. "Hello Goodbye"

A lot is going on in "Hello, Goodbye", and that includes Paul's rolling bass line.

3. "Taxman"

This bass line is so great that as soon as McCartney played the first note, a pair of really cool sunglasses materialized on his face. It bops so hard, mod revival group The Jam borrowed it and scored a top ten with "Start!" 14 years later.

4. "Paperback Writer"

The opening riff is iconic, but the bass really sends the track into overdrive 13 seconds in.

5. "Something"

Yeah, yeah, "Something" is Harrison's through and through, but if you listen, McCartney carries the entire song.

6. "Hey Bulldog"

I don't know if a Beatles song can technically slap, but this song slaps. With any other band this would have been their biggest hit, but the Beatles are so damn good it's a throwaway for a cartoon.

7. "Michelle"

The bass is so cool here. It does exactly what it needs to do: lay the groundwork for the pleading vocals and Harrison's guitar (gently weeping).

8. "Come Together"

I mean, single handedly the most iconic bass line ever produced. It's the sound of the 60's coming to an end.

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