Relive 5 Basslines From John Paul Jones
John Paul Jones in 2007's Led Zeppelin Reunion show - Luigi Natale / Youtube
John Paul Jones doesn’t really need any kind of introduction by now, but the multi-instrumentalist of Led Zeppelin has been criminally underrated for years now. Jones’ background as a session musician helped greatly in crafting the band’s sound, employing his own experiences with that of his bandmates to establish the blues and hard-rock influences of Led Zeppelin. Here are some of the most memorable bass lines from the great John Paul Jones.
“Ramble On” – Led Zeppelin II (1969)
The Middle Earth-inspired tune from Led Zeppelin II has listeners lazing over the acoustic chording of the main progression. But John Paul Jones’ bass parts is where the song really shines, as he carries the track with a whimsical and bouncy progression that actively complements Page’s playing.
“Good Times, Bad Times” – Led Zeppelin (1969)
“Good Times, Bad Times” bases off a power chord shape that has Jones burst out a cascade of notes, but instead of being flashy or standing out from the progression, instead pulls the listener in with its interesting run and phrasing. Jones admitted that the riff was one of the difficult ones he’d ever written.
“What Is, And What Should Never Be” – Led Zeppelin II (1969)
The laid back progression for “What Is, And What Should Never Be” has Jones augmenting it with a Motown-influenced melody. But again, it doesn’t interfere with the actual vocal melody sung by Plant and instead underlays the whole thing with its entrancing quality.
“Immigrant Song” – Led Zeppelin III (1970)
The instruments in “Immigrant Song” sing in unison with the singular main rhythm that drives it home. John Paul Jones plays the exact same rhythm with his meaty bass slaps filling the sound with raw power, and then proceeds into a unique ascending progression as the breakdown nears.
“Black Dog” – Led Zeppelin IV (1971)
This almost-progressive tune from Led Zeppelin IV had listeners scratching heads the first time they heard it. The irregular timing of Page and Jones’ riffs are kept grounded by Bonham’s standard 4/4 drumming, tying it all together for an oddly-satisfying record.