1. The Monkees - I'm A Believer
I used to play this record over and over again on my parents little Dansette when I was a kid. I think I had an in-built love of pop music from a very early age, my mother once told me that she was constantly listening to The Beatles when she was carrying me, so maybe it was ingrained in me from the womb!
2. The Beatles - And Your Bird Can Sing
A song from what is for me the best Beatles album "Revolver". Macca was responsible for many future generations of melodic bassists, he was on top form around this time. The Beatles remain a massive influence to me for bass playing and songwriting, this is my favourite song from the album. Surprisingly this one was written by Lennon, and just pipped McCartney's "Got To Get You Into My Life" to the post. This to me is the perfect pop song.
3. Queen - Now I'm Here
We all had to start somewhere on our musical taste adventure, so before Punk came along, I guess most of us were listening to the likes of Queen, E.L.O. 10cc, Yes, etc, etc.....
No? ... Well I was! This was a few years before I learned to play bass, and back then, like most people I was pretty much oblivious to what a "bass guitar" even was! I just loved the music. I stayed loyal to Queen right up to Bohemian Rhapsody. Things went downhill after that for me. This song is my favourite memory of those early days. I was probably as obsessed with Queen as Stuart was with Bowie.
4. 10cc - Art For Art's Sake
10cc were another "pre-punk" choice of listening for me. Great lyrics, clever arrangements, superb musicianship, irresistible hooks and a pop sensibility. Another band who have had a major influence on myself and many others..
5. Genesis - Turn It On Again
My Prog mates were always trying to get me to attend their "Genesis Evenings", but I always politely declined and went home to play my Punk singles instead. One Thursday we were all at my mate Pete's house watching Top Of The Pops when this song came on. It was the first time I had ever heard a Genesis song and I was quietly impressed enough to go out and buy the album it was from "Duke". I played it incessantly, marvelling at the musicianship, and especially the bass guitar playing. Don't worry... I soon got over it.
6. Yes - Tempest Fugit
Yes were another "Dinosaur Rock" band to me, and I just wasn't interested. Until the album "Drama" came along that is. I was introduced to it by the drummer of a band I was in at the time... we did a window cleaning job together and skived off frequently to listen to music. The bass playing on this album is off the scale. Chris Squire has always been an impressive musician, but together with Trevor Horn and Geoff Downes from The Buggles, he created what is for me the best Yes album. I await the hate mail from hardcore Yes fans.
7. Elvis Costello And The Attractions - Pump It Up
Costello was a strange one for me, it's another case of digging the first few albums and then losing interest. Bruce Thomas is hugely underrated for his bass contribution on Costello's early stuff, his melodic, punchy, driving style carried a lot of the songs. The bass playing on this song is pure bass porn.
8. XTC - Are You Receiving Me
XTC have always been my favourite all time band. This is one of their early singles, and hits all the right buttons for me. The bass part is extraordinarily complex and awesome, and has that unmistakeable "Fender Precision" punch.
9. Wire - Map Ref. 41°N 93°W
Never heard of Wire? That's not surprising actually as MOST people have never heard of Wire. They are a very well kept secret amongst we super-fans. This is probably the catchiest pop song about cartography ever written. Another awesome bassist who plays a Fender Precision.
10. The Stranglers - Nice 'n' Sleazy
What can I say? Mr JJ Burnel was my earliest bass influence, I literally taught myself to play bass to the first three Stranglers albums. This song is one of his finest moments. Fender Precision on fire!