Another Thursday has arrived and it’s time for a new installment of #askNat where I give my best answer to a Beatles-related question sent to me by one of you. This week’s question comes from James Dryden from Los Angeles, CA. James says this:
I am a faithful reader of your website. Love the informative posts. I have a good one you could talk about, if you haven’t already. How about all the official Beatle releases in which John Lennon plays bass? Is there any insight or thoughts on that bass playing from the Beatles themselves or the inner circle? My understanding is that he plays bass on “Helter Skelter” and a few others, such as the notoriously not-so-great bass on “The Long and Winding Road.” How about George Harrison on bass? Thanks!
Good question James and thank you. Paul McCartney is the primary Beatle-bassman but George and John did have a few that they played bass on too. Some of you may remember a similar question answered back on July 25th, 2012 about lead guitar rolls by John and Paul McCartney vs. George who is the customary one to handle that duty (see that post here).
John plays bass on “Rocky Raccoon” (a bass duet with Paul), “Helter Skelter” (six string bass), “Back In The USSR” (six string bass w/Paul & George), “Let It Be” (six string bass) and “The Long And Winding Road.”
George has a few more bass credits under his belt to include “Honey Pie” (six string bass), “Golden Slumbers,” “Carry That Weight,” “Drive My Car,” “Birthday,” “Old Brown Shoe,” “Rock And Roll Music” (according to sound engineer Geoff Emerick, but other references have this credited to Paul). Many think George is playing bass on “Hey Jude” as he is seen on bass in the David Frost (Frost On Sunday) program playing a six-string Fender bass, but Paul plays bass on the record. Some sources have George playing bass on “She Said She Said” since Paul walked out of the session (see BROW entry here) but Paul’s bass was possibly recorded before his departure. However, when the vocals for the song were added, he was not present – leaving only John and George to take care of that.
As far as how well they did, I personally am of the opinion that everything came out fine, but realize that this is treading on subjective ground. I do not have any information handy on what was thought or said of their playing by others close to or in the band.
Thanks for a good question James. If anyone reading sees any that I’ve missed or have something to add, feel free to speak up in the comments section below.
Thank you to everyone who has sent in their questions! Keep #askNat going by sending your questions to me in any of the following ways:
1) There is a contact form that you fill out right on the website where you can give your name, location, email address and submit your question. The form is right here and is the same form used to submit requests for BROWs (Beatles Rarity Of The Weeks).
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4) For you Twitter users, www.twitter.com/beatlesrarity gets you to the right place. Post your question and be sure to add “#askNat” somewhere in the tweet.
Here are some Amazon links to read more on, or purchase music related to this post:
1) The White Album 2-CD 2009 remaster of original stereo 1968 double LP including many of the tracks mentioned above (“Helter Skelter,” “Birthday,” “Honey Pie,” etc.)
2) Abbey Road (Remastered) 2009 remaster of original 1969 LP including tracks mentioned above (“Carry That Weight,” “Golden Slumbers,” etc.)
3) Let It Be 2009 remaster of original 1970 LP including tracks mentioned above (“Let It Be,” “The Long And Winding Road,” etc.)