As a basshead and audiophile, I’m always looking to push my subwoofers to the limit with the most bass-heavy tracks I can find. I’ve compiled my list of the best songs with good bass to turn up your subwoofer, across multiple genres from classic rock to modern EDM. Whether you’re looking to rattle the windows or just enjoy clean, deep bass lines, these iconic songs are sure to get your subwoofer pumping. So turn it up and get ready for some serious low end!
“Another One Bites The Dust” – Queen
The instantly recognizable funky bass riff in Queen’s smash hit “Another One Bites The Dust” is one of the most iconic in rock music history. Composed and performed by Queen bassist John Deacon, the infectious bass line drove the song to the top of the charts in 1980. Deacon’s precision attack and the rumbling synth bass gave disco audiences a blast of hard rock bass energy unlike anything else at the time. To this day, “Another One Bites The Dust” stands as a masterclass in grooving bass lines that compel listeners to turn up their subs and rock out.
“The Old Man’s Back Again” – Scott Walker
Scott Walker’s late ’60s baroque pop album Scott 4 contains the hidden gem “The Old Man’s Back Again” featuring a subtle yet captivating bass performance. The darting, melodic bass line glides beneath the song’s languid tempo and dreamy vocals. Though not as thunderous as some other bass tracks, the expertly recorded bass on this cult favorite highlights the instrument’s versatility and proves that a memorable bass line doesn’t have to overpower to make an impact. For audiophiles looking for clean, textured low end, “The Old Man’s Back Again” is a must-listen.
“My Generation” – The Who
Any list of great bass songs has to include this 1965 blues-rock anthem by The Who featuring one of rock’s earliest bass solos by legendary bassist John Entwistle. His rapid-fire finger work matched Pete Townshend’s feedback-laden guitar as The Who cast aside pop conventions with a bracing Proto-punk energy. The bass solo breakdown mid-song highlights Entwistle’s dexterity before the band crashes back in with their signature raucous power. For a deep cut of bass talent, “My Generation” showcases a pioneering performance that laid the groundwork for hard rock bass for decades to come.
“Down With The Bass” – fIREHOSE
Jazz-trained bassist and punk icon Mike Watt reveals his mastery of the instrument across all styles on fIREHOSE’s 1991 single “Down With The Bass”. Alternating between funky pops, a deep reggae groove, and furious rock runs, Watt’s playing spans the spectrum from showcase soloing to tastefully economic accompaniment. While less focused on pure low-end power, “Down With The Bass” highlights a remarkably expressive tone as Watt’s bass lines dance around the drums and guitar. For bassists and listeners, it’s a clinic on technique across genres.
“Brick House” – The Commodores
The iconic funk workout “Brick House” by The Commodores has been shaking booties and subwoofers since its release in 1977 thanks to Winston Monseque’s poppin’ bass line. Locked tight with the Drums, rapid 16th-note bass chords drive the tune and its suggestive lyrics. Monseque also delivers the song’s signature cascading fill that transitions between sections. With an undulating, growling presence, “Brick House” showcases funk bass that gets into your gut and gets audiences moving to this day.
“Come As You Are” – Nirvana
The grunge rock classic “Come As You Are” instantly brings the 90s’ alternative revolution crashing back thanks in large part to its distinctive bass line. Composed and performed by Nirvana bassist Krist Novoselic, the clean, noodling riff stands apart from Cobain’s guitars and even mimics Cobain’s vocal cadence. The bass-driven intro immediately sets the brooding tone before the full band comes in with thundering distortion. Yet the intricate bass work maintains the song’s melodic depth for a uniquely dynamic grunge anthem.
“Animal I Have Become” – Three Days Grace
Canadian rock band Three Days Grace unleashed this bass-heavy hard rock single in 2006, led by Brad Waddell’s grinding bass lines matched only by Adam Gontier’s vocals. The bass tone has a dark fuzz that gives the track an aggressive heaviness, even during the verses. When the chorus hits, the bass turns dominant, underpinning the song’s themes of primal release and loss of control. Waddell’s fat bass presence elevates the intensity of Three Days Grace’s big melodic hooks.
“Are You Gonna Be My Girl” – Jet
Aussie rockers Jet landed their breakthrough hit in 2003 with the guitar and bass driven stomper “Are You Gonna Be My Girl”. In the vein of AC/DC, the song mixes garage rock attitude with pop hooks led by Mark Wilson‘s propulsive, descending bass riff in the intro and chorus. Its raw, fuzzy overdrive gives “Are You Gonna Be My Girl” a trashy lo-fi vibe, but the bass provides melodic hooks pairing perfectly with buzzsaw guitars. Cranked up loud, it delivers a welcome kick of gritty rock and roll.
“Boom Boom Pow” – Black Eyed Peas
The Black Eyed Peas dominated airwaves and clubs with their maximalist 2009 electro-hop number one hit “Boom Boom Pow”. Producer Keith Harris lays down the song’s crushing bass foundation of distorted synth lines pulsing below Auto-Tuned hooks. The bottom-heavy groove provides the through-line as the Peas’ trade rapid fire verses embellished with futuristic effects. “Boom Boom Pow” showed that mold-breaking productions could still shake subwoofers, and its cavalcade of ear-grabbing layers still feels futuristic.
“Thank You (Falettinme Be Mice Elf Agin)” – Sly & The Family Stone
The powerhouse 1968 funk single “Thank You” revolutionized the role of bass in popular music as bassist Larry Graham pioneered the influential “slap bass” technique. Graham aggressively plucks the strings to create a percussive snap, adding rhythmic accents that propel the groove. The bright trebly tone contrasts with the deep funk guitar as Graham’s syncopations cement “Thank You” as a landmark recording that spawned countless imitators and opened the floodgates for bassists to step into the spotlight.
“What’s Going On” – Marvin Gaye
On Marvin Gaye’s watershed 1971 concept album of the same name, Motown session bass legend James Jamerson delivers a masterclass in melodic bass line construction. Drawing on his jazz background, Jamerson eschews root notes to craft ascending chromatic bass lines that add harmonic depth beneath Gaye’s smooth vocals. The expansive feel and rich textures of “What’s Going On” simply wouldn’t be possible without Jamerson’s skilled improvisations expanding the role of bass from rhythmic foundation to an essential countermelody.
“Coming Up” – Paul McCartney
Ex-Beatle Paul McCartney embraced the crisp minimalism of new wave and funk on his 1980 hit “Coming Up”, but it’s his inventive bass playing that drives the song. The infectious high bass riff bubbles below punchy guitar as McCartney syncopates around the beat with improvised fills. McCartney alternates between economy and flashy filigree, proving how bass can power a track both through precision and flamboyance. It’s a showcase for McCartney’s pioneering bass skills that inspired pop and rock bassists for decades to come.
“Lovely Day” – Bill Withers
Bill Withers’ mellow 1977 hit gains its relaxed vibe from bassist Jerry Knight’s smooth bass grooves that anchor the tune. Knight locks in tight with the drums to provide a solid foundation for Withers’ distinctive, soulful vocals. Yet the bass line has a subtle bounce, giving the song a hint of rhythmic swagger layered beneath its laid-back feel. Knight’s bass conveys both deep soul and deft pop sensibilities while Withers sings about simple joys above it all.
“Badge” – Cream
Cream bassist Jack Bruce had a jazz background that informed his fluid, melodic bass lines across the band’s catalog of blues and psychedelic rock. On 1969’s “Badge”, Bruce floats up and down the neck accenting Eric Clapton’s acoustic guitar. The bouncy descending riff hints at the song’s pop sensibilities beneath its hash haze. With impromptu fills between vocal lines, Bruce’s bass provides “Badge” an uplifting sweep and just enough technical flair to deepen a seemingly simple tune.
“Licking Stick” – James Brown
The Godfather of Soul lets the funk loose on 1968’s “Licking Stick”, led by Timothy Drummond’s syncopated bass line bobbing beneath punchy horns. In contrast to Brown’s typically tight, percussive funk, Drummond’s bass adds a looser swing feel with octave leaps. His improvised flourishes give Brown room to have some tongue-in-cheek fun atop the groove laid down by Drummond. It’s an often-overlooked gem that shows Drummond’s versatility within Brown’s vast catalog.
“Hysteria” – Muse
The synth-fueled rock of Muse’s 2009 single “Hysteria” is driven by bassist Christopher Wolstenholme’s pulsing rhythmic lines and distorted growls. The song is full of intricate bass runs that dart from jittery funk to full throated rock power. During the breakdown and outro, the bass takes center stage with an expanded low-end presence that’s felt as much as heard. The bassline’s catchy minimalism during the verses make the heightened sections feel that much more massive.
“Radioactive” – Imagine Dragons
This apocalyptic 2012 alt-rock smash from Imagine Dragons is built on a darkly buzzing bass line that quickly embedded itself into pop culture. The processed synth bass provides the song’s heavy atmosphere and a counterbalance to singer Dan Reynolds’ dynamic vocals. Tailor-made for subwoofer rumbling, the bass dominates the otherwise sparse percussion. The bass maintains its presence even when the full band crashes in, ensuring “Radioactive” stays bottom heavy.
“Yeah!” – Usher
Usher’s 2004 smash “Yeah!” featuring Ludacris and Lil Jon is a crunk-infused hip hop party starter with a booming synth bass foundation. The pulsing low end pushes the upbeat tempo while producers Lil Jon and Kalle Engström pile on blaring horns and vocoded vocals. Usher’s R&B melodies dance above the gritty bass as Ludacris and Lil Jon trade verses grounded in bass bravado. The crossover blend was a hit across clubs, radio, and media for letting listeners revel in rattling low end.
“Papercut” – Linkin Park
The debut smash “Papercut” from nu-metal pioneers Linkin Park in 2000 is built on a bottom-heavy mix perfect for showing off your bass. Bassist Phoenix matches punchy syncopation with ominous distorted tones along with turntable flourishes. When the full band kicks in, “Papercut” alternates between claustrophobic verses driven by twitchy bass and pummeling choruses where the low end is unleashed. The contrast showcases both rhythmic chops and rumbling bass texture for optimal headbanging.
“Feel Good Inc.” – Gorillaz
The massively successful 2001 single from fictional cartoon band Gorillaz, “Feel Good Inc.” features roots rock icon Tina Weymouth laying down the song’s throbbing bass. Built on a looped bass riff, Weymouth locks into the drum groove, leaving space for Damon Albarn’s vocals and hip hop cadences. Her tone has a vintage roundness that grounds the song’s digital textures in organic feel. As one of the most successful 21st century singles, “Feel Good Inc.” proved vintage bass sounds still sound futuristic.
These Iconic Bass Songs Show No Genre Limits
The breadth of decades and genres covered by these classic bass-heavy tracks shows outstanding low end knows no boundaries. Whether it’s rock, funk, blues, pop, or modern EDM, a great bass performance resonates at a primal level. A skilled bassist can make empty space groove or add harmonic depth beneath a song’s hooks. Turning up these bass hits provides a rush for seasoned bass heads and casual listeners alike. So next time you want to revel in pure bass power, throw on one of these subwoofer rattlers and soak in those raw yet refined bass vibes. Your ears and speakers will thank you!