Top Five rock Bass players

1 John Entwistle
2 Jack Bruce 
3 John Paul Jones
4 Geddy Lee
5 Paul McCartney
6 Glen Hughes
OK it's six but I saw Hughes with Trapeze and Deep Purple. And one magic night in Abilene Texas he played note for note with Tommy Bolin so I give him Honable mention. 

Won't argue with McCartney and Squire.  Also a fan of John Lodge on bass. 
My quick 5:

Graham Maby (Joe Jackson)
Mike Mills (R.E.M.)
John Paul Jones
Lee Sklar (James Taylor et al)
John Entwistle
mark anthony of van halen. the story goes eddie told him "put your finger on this fret, then keep playing eight notes. we'll give you a wink when the song ends." 
Add John McVie, Rick Grech and Jack Bruce (Bluesbreakers + Fleetwood Mac, Blind Faith and Cream, respectively).  If you're looking for guys talented with string instruments, IMO it's always a good idea to start with the Bluesbreakers.

Graham Maby...Yes! He has is own jumpy style and I love it.


Bruce Thomas (x Attractions)

Jack Bruce

Jack Casady

John Entwistle

Since Paul got mentioned, maybe Roger Waters also? My understanding he is not the best but at least he did not f$&@-up the end result? 

Man have you guys got it wrong ;-).

1- Willie Dixon. He not only invented Rock 'n' Roll bass playing, he wrote many of it's early songs. Played with Chuck Berry, Howlin' Wolf, and Muddy Waters.

2- James Jamerson. Motown's bassist, and Paul McCartney's model for bass playing. How can you nominate Paul when he took his style from James?!

3- Jerry Scheff. The best bassist I have seen live, playing with T-Bone Burnett. He also played with both Elvis' (Presley and Costello), Dylan, Roy Orbison, Richard Thompson, and hundreds of others.

4- Joey Spampinato. When Bill Wyman left The Stones, Joey was Keith Richards' first choice as replacement. Joey turned him down (!), preferring to stay in the REAL Best Rock 'n' Roll Band in the world, NRBQ.

5- Carol Kaye. Played on recordings of The Beach Boys (think about all those great bass parts), The Doors, Frank Zappa, Ray Charles, Phil Spector, Simon & Garfunkle, and thousands (literally) of others.

Tony Levin
John Wetton
Mike Rutherford
Tina Weymouth

and without doubt, Chris Squire
bdp, FWIW Carol says Brian wrote out all those Beach Boy bass lines for her. She did come up with many other things including the classic line for " The Beat Goes On."

Some faves of mine already listed, esp. Sir Paul and the two Jacks.
I'm surprised no one has suggested Bill Black (early Elvis) or Les Claypool.  Tom Fowler (Zappa, It's A Beautiful Day, Ray Charles, Steve Hackett, Jean-Luc Ponty) also deserves mention.  Oh, and I love the way Rick Danko played.
Ah, what the heck, additional bassists to the above, regardless of style, that I like are:

John Paul Jones
Percy Jones
Jaco Pastorius
Dave Holland
Mike Rutherford
Greg Lake
Walter Becker
Jeff Berlin
John Wetton
Jimmy Johnson
Ray Brown
Phil Lesh (lesh is more)
Kim Deal
Carol Kaye
John Deacon
Mani Mounfield
Krist Novoselic
Colin Greenwood
Pino Palladino
Cliff Burton
Jeffrey Hammond-Hammond
Charles Mingus
John Myung
Geezer Butler
Jack Casady
Paul Simonon
Jay Wobble

Hard to argue with anybody's list of "best" since at a certain level, some of it comes down to personal preference/playing style. Some of the folks mentioned (Willie Dixon, Carol Kaye) are legendary.
 I've heard some of the others mentioned over the years (including the great Ray Brown back in the day) , but one of the "best" bassists (aside from my buddy Rob Stoner, who is extremely musical) is a guy that remains a mystery; he was backing Little Richard a few years ago. LR said he used to employ two bass players until he found this guy. He wasn't credited, and there was nothing on the web to identify him either. He was playing counterpoint against himself. (Show at BBKings in NYC within the last 5 years). I was with Stoner, who commented that the guy was "a hired killer." 
I also love the sound of double bass, compared to electric- more common in the early days of rock 'n roll, before the electric bass became ubiquitous. Caught James Hunter a month or so ago, and his bassist was playing a double bass- I had forgotten how much tone and upper harmonics you get with the real acoustic instrument. Really adds to the drive of the music. 
So many greats mentioned that I eithercdidnt know by name or didn't think of. I'd kikecto add Stuart Hamm and Glen Cornick.

Yup tostado, Brian wrote the notes on paper, but bringing them to life is also part of a bassists job, which Carol did excellently. Plus, I have no doubt she made a few suggestions Brian approved.

Rick Danko was sixth on my list! His playing on a fretless Ampeg and fretted P-Bass was just fantastic. I forgot to mention that Spampinato makes his Danalectro electric sound like a stand-up. Incredible! He has been undergoing treatment for Cancer since late last year.

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Props to Steve Chamb for the call on Jah Wobble.  He had an amazing run back there in his day.  I haven't cued up one of his records in forever, but that changes today!
top that come to mind are
Tony levin
Stanley clark
Victor wooton
Geddy lee

Bootsy collins

Not necessarily my top five, but here are five who have not been mentioned that I think deserve a mention (and the first three are certainly top-five contenders in my book):

Larry Graham
Miroslav Vitous
Donald "Duck" Dunn
Klaus Voorman
George Porter Jr.

Honorable mention: Derek Smalls
... And to my above post, add:

William "Billy Bass" Nelson
Cordell "Boogie" Mosson
Rodney "Skeet" Curtis
Lige Curry
Prakash John
Dusty Hill

... And finally, I wasn't going to say it, but since no one has, here you go:

Lemmy Kilmister!

Ok, here goes

Geddy Lee

Chris Squire (RIP)

Jaco Pastorius (RIP)

Scott Thunes

Stu Hamm

Bryan Beller

Ok, that's 6 so I can't count, sue me!!!

I think Ole School is pretty accurate here, but I would have to add in John Entwhistle - quadrophenia reveals a lot.
Is top 5 on skill level or profit level?
Can we elaborate?

Also Jaco Pastorius, Miroslav Vitous are jazz bassists that surely substantially better schooled and skilled than Paul McCartney. Paul I would say is the most profitable and popular bassist.

effischer314 posts09-23-2016 8:02pmTony Levin
John Wetton
Mike Rutherford
Tina Weymouth

and without doubt, Chris Squire

This list perhaps is the most truthful for rock bassists with great skill level.
They're all above the level and caliber of Paul McCartney.
I must also agree with John Paul Jones not only as bassist, but also as multi-instrumentalist. Definitely the brightest talent of Led Zeppelin.

My list would include:

Tony Levin
Trey Gunn
Bill Laswell
Jah Wobble

Topic: Top Five Rock Bass Players

Operative word Rock. Now, what is Rock can be argued. But to say Jaco and Miroslav "are jazz bassists that surely substantially better schooled and skilled than Paul McCartney", while true, is off point, isn’t it? When it comes to technical virtuosity, Jazz musicians are universally more advanced than Rock musicians. But what makes a player "better" at Rock music is different than what makes a player great at Jazz music.

It’s hard to make non-musicians understand the significance of style in the approach to playing an instrument. Keith Moon was asked if he could play in The Buddy Rich Band. His reply was "No, and Buddy Rich couldn’t play in The Who".

Would Jaco or Miroslav playing bass in The Beatles rather than Paul have made The Beatles music "better"? Chances are very likely no. In fact, it would most assuredly have made it less good. I often hear "simple" music ruined by an "ambitious" musician "over-playing". That’s how Jazz musicians play Rock music. They don’t understand the role their instrument plays (unintended pun :-) in Rock music versus Jazz.