10: The Beach Boys: Good Vibrations (1966; bassist: Carol Kaye)
Very much a woman in a man’s world, the trailblazing Carol Kaye started out playing guitar on Los Angeles’ jazz and big-band circuit, but became a seasoned session musician by 1960, making a name for herself as one of the most in-demand players of the decade that followed, playing on hit records by a staggering array of stellar artists, among them The Beach Boys, Simon And Garfunkel and The Monkees.
During the peak of Kaye’s years of session work, she became part of a stable of elite LA-based musicians (also including drummer Hal Blaine, guitarist Glen Campbell and keyboardist Leon Russell) which went by a variety of informal names, but has since become known as “The Wrecking Crew”. Isolating her finest four-string moment is nigh-on impossible (not least because her work wasn’t always credited), but her swinging bassline underpinning The Beach Boys’ legendary pocket symphony Good Vibrations is as good an example as any of her fearsome talent, and proof positive that she was not only one of the best female bassists of all time, but one of the best bassists, no gender qualifier needed.
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