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Synthesizer Bass in Popular Music


Wizz

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I am aware that Bernie Worrell gets the credit for introducing the, synthesizer bass, Mini Moog Bass, line on the song 'Flash Light" but my first encounter with the synthesizer bass, Mini Moog bass, was "Boogie on Reggae Woman" by Stevie Wonder. At time of my very young age, I could not learn to play it by ear because of the variations. Boogie on Reggae Woman made it to number 3, 1974, on the pop charts, unlike Flash Light that made it to the number 1, 1978, on the pop charts.
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Bernie doesn't get credit for introducing synth bass, just making perhaps the funkiest ever tracked, though.

Yamaha (Motif XS7, Motif 6, TX81Z), Korg (R3, Triton-R), Roland (XP-30, D-50, Juno 6, P-330). Novation A Station, Arturia Analog Experience Factory 32

 

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Synth bass was introduced during the days of the Moog Modular in the late 1960s. In Analog Days by Trevor Pinch, Bob Moog reflected on a studio session where he encountered a bass player asking what this machine was doing, and when he was told it was being used to play bass lines the bass player's face turned white.
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Some other dates ...

 

Herbie Hancock did an Arp Odyssey bass on Chameleon ... 1973

 

Blue Weaver the ex-Strawbs keyboardist, did the Minimoog bass on "Nights on Broadway" for the Bee Gees around 1975 ...

 

The thing with a musical innovation ... is you can measure when it was invented or when it hits the player's consciousness, or when it hit the listener's consciousness.

 

Reggae Woman (1974) is one of my favorite bass lines ever ... but I was just enjoying the song ... without a clue as to how it was done.

 

Jerry

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Speaking of "Boogie On, Reggae Woman," I read an interview with Malcolm Cecil, one of the producers of the track and co-owner of the TONTO modular monster, that that line was done by Stevie, Cecil and his studio partner all in real time, Stevie playing the notes, and the others manipulating the filter and portamento. I'd always thought that line was unplayable with just 2 hands. Amazing bass line.

Turn up the speaker

Hop, flop, squawk

It's a keeper

-Captain Beefheart, Ice Cream for Crow

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Hey I forgot about Chameleon by Herbie Hancock of 1973. Chameleon was one of the songs being the turning point on whether I played the drums or piano. My mother wanted me to play piano instead of drums and I was leaning toward drums. Those songs made me rethink that playing piano could be cool meaning since synthesizer utilizes a piano type keyboard. When I got a job and was able, I purchased a synthesizer.
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  • 3 years later...
In 1972 there was Popcorn by Hot Butter, which was practically all synth including synth bass. I think there was an explosion of synthesizer bass starting about 1973. David Hentschel played synthesizer bass on Elton John's Goodbye Yellow Brick Road LP that year, most notably in "All the Young Girls Love Alice." Paul McCartney & Wings used synth bass filter sweeps in Nineteen Hundred and Eighty five from Band on the Run also in 1973.
Come out with your hands up! I have a synthesizer, and I'm not afraid to use it.
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"Son of My Father" by Chicory Tip was number one for several weeks in the UK in 1972, incidentally with my brother Trevor Bastow playing Moog modular in the recording session (not a very impressive Moog sound, though!) In this Top of the Pops clip he is miming on Wurli (everybody mimed on TOTP). Trevor was a session player, and apparently their regular keyboard player couldn't play the part accurately (!).

 

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=QXbrS3Msgww

 

 

Phil

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My Love Is Alive by Gary Wright...

 

[video:youtube]

'55 and '59 B3's; Leslies 147, 122, 21H; MODX 7+; NUMA Piano X 88; Motif XS7; Mellotrons M300 and M400’s; Wurlitzer 206; Gibson G101; Vox Continental; Mojo 61; Launchkey 88 Mk III; Korg Module; B3X; Model D6; Moog Model D

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Synth bass was used effectively on Lionel Rickie's 1984 hit "You Are The Sun, You Are The Rain".

 

Which was covered by the more popular Lionel Richie that same year.

 

:D

When an eel hits your eye like a big pizza pie, that's a Moray.
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Synth bass was used effectively on Lionel Rickie's 1984 hit "You Are The Sun, You Are The Rain".

 

Which was covered by the more popular Lionel Richie that same year.

 

:D

 

I'm wondering whether The Pro watches BBC's Top Gear... this episode has Lionel relating a story about his early days with The Commodores, and walking into a car dealership to buy 5 Mercedes Benz automobiles... pretty funny story, if you have a few minutes to watch. :thu:

 

Clonk here for Top Gear site & video.

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Synth bass was introduced during the days of the Moog Modular in the late 1960s. In Analog Days by Trevor Pinch, Bob Moog reflected on a studio session where he encountered a bass player asking what this machine was doing, and when he was told it was being used to play bass lines the bass player's face turned white.

 

My first thought when I saw this thread was Wendy Carlos' SOB in 1968.

 

You guys can argue the merits of whether that qualifies as popular or not.

..
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Would E.L.O. have used synth bass "enhancements" in their early 70s projects ? I'm sure George Duke was into synthesizing bass around that time. A lot of him was "used" without much accreditation I think.

 

Also it would interest me to read about what the ROlling Stones did with their Moog modular...

 

 

Theo

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Also it would interest me to read about what the ROlling Stones did with their Moog modular...

Theo

 

 

I think they all had one but got fed up trying to use it properly. Mick Jagger's one was eventually sold to Tangerine Dream :laugh:

 

 

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1969 - MOOG: The Electric Eclectics of Dick Hyman, used the Moog for bass parts. "The Minotaur" probably influenced ELP's "Lucky Man". Old Dick Hyman was way ahead of the curve on this recording.

~A little bit funky and a little bit rock and roll~

 

[video:youtube]http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=aVNR_d75CXE This is "The Minotaur", not "Topless Dancer..."

 

Emerson pretty much "borrowed" The Minotaur almost note for note in his solo on AquaTarkus from "Welcome Back My Friends to the Show That Never Ends..."

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