In 1965 Elvis Presley was playing bass guitar, with a little help from Paul McCartney

Ringo Starr (playing Ludwig drum kit) and Paul McCartney (playing a Hofner 500/1 violin bass guitar) of English rock and pop group The Beatles perform together on stage during recording of the American Broadcasting Company (ABC) music television show 'Shindig!' at Granville Studios in Fulham, London on 3rd October 1964. The band would play three songs on the show, Kansas City/Hey-Hey-Hey!, I'm a Loser and Boys
(Image credit: Photo by David Redfern/Redferns)

For all the praise that Paul McCartney’s earned as a songwriter it’s quite possible that he doesn’t get enough credit for his bass guitar playing. “You just think of him as Beatle Paul,” said producer Rick Rubin. “But in my opinion he is the best of all bass players, he’s number one.” 

McCartney’s melodic style owed much to Motown’s James Jamerson, whom he’s often credited as his biggest influence. From there, he became interested in seeking out other bass players, including one of the most famous singers of all time, Elvis Presley, as he told Music Radar. “When we met Elvis, he was trying to learn bass, so I was like, ‘You’re trying to learn bass, are you … son? Sit down, let me show you a few things.’ So I was very proud of being the bass player.”

Easy Come, lobbycard, EASY GO, (aka 3 GARS, 2 FILLES ET..1 TRESOR), Elvis Presley, 1967.

(Image credit: Photo by LMPC via Getty Images)

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Nick Wells

Nick Wells was the Editor of Bass Guitar magazine from 2009 to 2011, before making strides into the world of Artist Relations with Sheldon Dingwall and Dingwall Guitars. He's also the producer of bass-centric documentaries, Walking the Changes and Beneath the Bassline, as well as Production Manager and Artist Liaison for ScottsBassLessons. In his free time, you'll find him jumping around his bedroom to Kool & The Gang while hammering the life out of his P-Bass.