December 2013: This Month in Bass History

1ST Electric bass icon and fretless pioneer Jaco Pastorius born, 1951.
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1ST Electric bass icon and fretless pioneer Jaco Pastorius born, 1951.

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5TH Dr. Art Davis, clinical psychologist and influential jazz and classical bassist, born, 1934.

6TH Weather Report co-founder Miroslav Vitous born, 1947. A trio of studio bass gods—Gordon Edwards, Tony Levin, and David Hood—puts the bottom under Paul Simon’s No. 1 album Still Crazy After All These Years, 1975.

7TH Barry White, armed with a Wilton Felder bass line, hits No. 1 with “You’re the First, The Last, My Everything,” 1974. Sting and the Police’s “Walking on the Moon” is tops in the U.K., 1979.

8TH Session superman Nathan East born, 1955.

9TH Rick Danko of The Band born, 1943. Jack Bruce and Cream release their debut, Fresh Cream, 1966. Bernard Edwards’ iconic bass line takes Chic’s “Le Freak” to No. 1, 1978.

10TH Rick Danko dies, 1999.

11TH Sting, Miles Davis, and Rolling Stones sideman Darryl Jones born, 1961.

14TH Bill Wyman makes his live debut with the Rolling Stones, 1962. A James Jamerson bass line helps Marvin Gaye score his first U.S. No. 1 with “I Heard It Through the Grapevine,” 1968.

15TH Clash bassist Paul Simonon born, 1955.

16TH Billy Paul’s “Me and Mrs. Jones,” with 19-year-old Anthony Jackson on bass, hits No. 1 in the U.S., 1972.

17TH R.E.M. bass man Mike Mills born, 1958.

18TH Tom “T-Bone” Wolk’s Jamerson-inspired bass part pushes Hall & Oates’ “Maneater” to the No. 1 spot, 1982.

20TH Punk icon and supremely prolific bass man Mike Watt born, 1957.

22ND Upright virtuoso/composer Giovanni Bottesini born, 1821. Upright/ electric doubler and 6-string icon John Patitucci born, 1959. Dee Murray’s bass parts and background vocals help push Elton John’s “Goodbye Yellow Brick Road” to the top of the charts, 1973.

23RD Spinal Tap’s Derek Smalls born as actor/comedian Harry Shearer, 1943.

24TH Motörhead leader Lemmy born, 1945.

25TH The Eagles’ Hotel California, adorned with the falsetto and bass work of Randy Meisner, is No. 1, 1976.

26TH New Orleans bass godfather and Meters co-founder George Porter Jr. born, 1947.

27TH John Paul Jones and the boys get their first No. 1 album, Led Zeppelin II, 1969. John Deacon’s electric, upright, acoustic guitar, electric piano, and vocal contributions are all over Queen’s U.K. No. 1 album A Night at the Opera, 1976.

28TH George Harrison, aided by either Klaus Voorman or Carl Radle on bass, rules the airwaves with “My Sweet Lord,” 1971.

31ST Jazz bassist/bandleader/tuba player John Kirby born, 1908. Aerosmith bass man Tom Hamilton born, 1951. AC/DC, with original bassist Larry Van Kreidt, plays its first show, 1973.