17. Glenn Hughes (Black Country Communion)
The MusicRadar/Total Guitar Best in guitars 2017 polls have received over 136,000 votes, and we're now ready to roll out the winners. The nominees were what we considered to be the guitarists and guitar gear that have excelled in 2017. Here, we present the best bass players of 2017. First up we have Glenn Hughes of Black Country Communion...
2017 highlight: In 2016 Glenn Hughes was inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame in recognition of his work with Deep Purple, but this year was all about the return of Black Country Communion. BCCIV, the fourth album from the blues rock supergroup, was produced by Kevin Shirley and the interplay between Hughes and Joe Bonamassa suggested the pair had patched up the differences that derailed the band in 2013.
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16. Mark King (Gizmodrome)
2017 highlight: While laying down the rhythms for Level 42 remains King’s day job, in 2017 he teamed up with Stewart Copeland, Adrian Belew and Vittorio Cosma for the frankly bonkers Gizmodrome. The resulting self-titled album played to each member’s strengths and was a joyous, experimental journey into prog.
15. Dave Swift (Jools Holland)
2017 highlight: Dave Swift is best know as bass player for Jools Holland’s Rhythm & Blues Orchestra, and he’s a mean studio player too. In 2017 Swift spent most of his time on the road with Jools, delivering his swingin’ tunes to the masses.
14. John Myung (Dream Theater)
2017 highlight: Earlier in 2017 Dream Theater hit the UK to celebrate the 25th anniversary of Images & Words, with Myung doing complete justice to the iconic bass parts he recorded back in the early ‘90s.
2017 highlight: The ever-youthful bass player took his solo show on the road throughout 2017 with a formidable band. The set included monster hits from both his solo material and trailblazing career with The Police. The Live at the Olympia Paris movie highlighted just what a mighty bass player he truly is, both on- and off-stage.
12. Rex Brown
2017 highlight: Brown will always be best known for his pummeling bass work with metal icons Pantera, but he deserves credit for stepping from the shadows of that band to pick up a six string guitar and microphone to front his new solo band. His new album Smoke On This is a real, gritty and rocking affair.
11. Marcus Miller
2017 highlight: The American jazz bass supremo spent much of his year on the road, playing the most prestigious jazz music festivals on the map. In other news, Alex Han’s debut album Spirit, produced by Miller, was nominated for a Grammy award.
10. Michael Shuman (Queens Of The Stone Age)
2017 highlight: Taking their new songs to super producer Mark Ronson was a genius move for Josh Homme and co. The resulting album, Villains, combined Ronson’s funky feel with Queens’ desert swagger. From the Trampled Under Foot-style stomp of Feet Don’t Fail Me Now to the Queens meets punk Head Like A Haunted House, Villains was brilliant from start to finish.
2017 highlight: Riding high on the wave of plaudits he received for his work on Kendrick Lamar’s To Pimp A Butterfly, Thundercat (or Stephen Bruner to his pals) released his third solo album Drunk in 2017. In addition to appearances from music luminaries such as Pharrell, Lamar and Wiz Khalifa, the album fused electronic music with jazz fusion and, as well as highlighting Thundercat’s bass playing prowess, also cemented his reputation as a top producer.
8. Victor Wooten
2017 highlight: If you want a lesson in bass mastery look no further than Wooten’s newest solo album, Trypnotyx. Featuring everything from jazz fusion and hip-hop, to all out funk, the album is the perfect example of taste, virtuosity and control.
7. Geezer Butler (Black Sabbath)
2017 highlight: Black Sabbath played their final shows together in 2017, the very last one fittingly performed in their hometown of Birmingham. While we hope they don’t really mean it, if that really is the end then Geezer Butler has left quite a mark on the rock and heavy metal bass playing world. Thank you, sir!
6. Duff McKagan (Guns N' Roses)
2017 highlight: This year’s Not In Our Lifetime… tour proved that the trio of Axl Rose, Slash and Duff were always the most potent element of Guns N’ Roses. With their differences aside, Duff picked up his bass once again to play those iconic, chorus-fuelled lines from Appetite For Destruction and beyond.
5. Bootsy Collins
2017 highlight: No best bassist list should ever be without a bit of Bootsy. The funk icon proved he still works with the best on his latest album World Wide Funk. Guests included Victor Wooten, Buckethead and Stanley Clarke, but still it’s Bootsy’s distinctive style that stood out above everything else.
4. Steve Harris (Iron Maiden)
2017 highlight: Iconic, influential and responsible for forming one of the biggest heavy metal bands on the planet, the Iron Maiden bassist certainly deserves this high placing. This year the band once again boarded Ed Force One and flew to all corners of the globe to deliver their Book Of Souls world tour to their rabid fanbase.
3. Mike Kerr (Royal Blood)
2017 highlight: While many of the older names on this list will have certainly influenced the Royal Blood bass player/frontman, we’re almost certain Kerr is influencing a whole new generation of bass players. His thunderous sound and economical, grooving style have earned Mike and the band legions of fans since they emerged in 2014, and new album How Did We Get So Dark further proved they are still the most exciting thing happening in rock.
2. Billy Sheehan (Mr Big, Sons Of Apollo)
2017 highlight: Besides another new album from Mr Big, the prolific bass player started yet another project this year alongside brothers in prog Mike Portnoy, Bumblefoot, Derek Sherinian and Jeff Scott Soto. Sons Of Apollo was everything you’d expect from such a fearsome line-up and the band’s debut album Psychotic Symphony is a heavy, grooving prog fest!
WINNER: Robert Trujillo (Metallica)
2017 highlight: An incredibly deserving winner. Powerhouse bass player Trujillo has always been the muscular glue holding Metallica together, and his contributions to 2016’s Hardwired… To Self-Destruct would have made Cliff Burton proud. What’s more, Trujillo becomes a different beast altogether when the metal icons hit the road, and he stalked stages across the globe on 2017’s epic WorldWired tour.