The 10 Greatest Rock Bassists in the Rock & Roll Hall of Fame: Geddy Lee Edition

I could sit here and write paragraphs about my appreciation of Geddy Lee. He was the first true influence I had as a bass player when I was in high school. For years after, I admired not just his talent as a musician, but his ability to improve and grow. He is also underrated for how great a "rock" musician he is, since he is often lumped in with more artsy prog-rock acts of the '70s.

Now that Rush is finally being inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame today, it seems only fitting to count down the best rock bass players in the Hall now that he is entering. It most definitely shifts the order around, but is he the king of the Hall?

(Please note that, with all due respect to the brilliance of players like James Jamerson, "Duck" Dunn and Larry Graham, I'm sticking with rock music for my list)

10. Michael Anthony (Van Halen) Anthony is one of the more underrated bass players in rock music history as was his rhythm-section partner, Alex Van Halen. But some of the more intricate and interesting rhythms in hard rock music were born in Van Halen. Unlike so many rock guitarists of his time who preferred simplistic beds of music for solos, Eddie Van Halen wanted syncopated, quirky rhythms under his and Anthony laid them down.

9. Cliff Burton (Metallica) So often prior to Burton, metal bass was simple and plodding. Prior to his horrific and untimely death, Burton was changing the way people thought about the low end for really heavy bands. His combination of distortion and melodic lines made him a pioneer for the instrument in a genre where bass was only supposed to play a supporting role.

8. Sting (The Police) Sting has been much-maligned for his elitist musical bent, particularly after the Police disbanded. He even left the bass behind for many years, choosing instead to hand those duties over to brilliant jazz musicians like Darryl Jones. But in his prime, Sting was not only a master of the four strings, he was able to do it while singing rhythms as complicated as his bass lines.

KEEP THE HOUSTON PRESS FREE... Since we started the Houston Press, it has been defined as the free, independent voice of Houston, and we'd like to keep it that way. With local media under siege, it's more important than ever for us to rally support behind funding our local journalism. You can help by participating in our "I Support" program, allowing us to keep offering readers access to our incisive coverage of local news, food and culture with no paywalls.
Jeff Balke is a writer, editor, photographer, tech expert and native Houstonian. He has written for a wide range of publications and co-authored the official 50th anniversary book for the Houston Rockets.
Contact: Jeff Balke