The bass behind the world’s most beloved songs

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Carol Kaye, born March 24, 1939, is one of the world’s best-known bass guitar session musicians in pop and rock and roll music. According to PremierGuitar, she has played bass on over 10,000 records during her career.

Kaye started playing guitar when she was a teenager and eventually became an instrument teacher. She played on the Los Angeles big band circuit, but after recording rhythm guitar on Sam Cooke’s “Summertime” and Ritchie Valen’s “La Bamba”, she decided she could make more money as a full-time session guitarist than in jazz clubs. Soon after, she met producer Phil Spector and recorded the guitar on “Zip-A-Dee-Doo-Dah” by Bob B. Soxx & The Blue Jeans.

In 1963, a Capitol Records studio had an absent Fender bassist. Kaye stepped in and resumed the session. After that, the rest was history. She has become the most sought-after session musician of her time. She became a member of The Wrecking Crew, a group of studio musicians who performed on just about every hit records from the 1960s in Los Angeles.

Her work with Spector opened doors for her that she never knew. Brian Wilson of the Beach Boys has heard of Kaye and used it on several of their records, including The beach boys today, Summer days (and summer nights !!), Animal sounds and Smile. She also played on Beach boys‘single “Good vibes”.

Her studio work includes sessions with Frank Sinatra, Hal Blaine, Joe Cocker, Simon & Garfunkel, Sonny & Cher, Ray Charles, Stevie Wonder, The Temptations, The Monkees, Nancy Sinatra and Barbra Streisand. She is credited with writing the intro for another session player Glen Campbell “Lineman Wichita. ” Near the peak of his career, she was earning almost $ 10,000 a week. She’s performed on everything from Motown to Hollywood.

In the late 1960s, Kaye began publishing tutoring books like How to play electric bass. She also started working with Quincy Jones and began acting on movie soundtracks. She has played basslines for theme songs from TV shows, like MASH POTATOES, and movies, like Impossible mission.

In 1976, Kaye was involved in a car accident and decided to retire part of her life as a guitarist and bassist in the studio. A working woman never really retires, however. Even today, in 2021, you can take virtual bass and guitar lessons with her. You can always buy his private tutoring books and learn to play with the best of them.

Carol Kaye goes down in history as one of the best studio musicians of the 60s and 70s.

“I was raised by musician parents and kinda grew up around music, we were poor, but when music was played you had a spark in your life. And the spark is still there. years later after all the recording we did, because when you turn on the radio, there are all my fellow musicians “, Carol Kaye said once. “I liked it so much, we were all in the same boat, we got together for a hit and loved to groove together. The look, the feel of the music, the quick joke inside, it was a warm feeling . “

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