“We started at a slow tempo, but as the session wore on, people were heading to the bathroom and sniffing stuff, and the tempo got to be almost twice as fast!” Klaus Voormann’s bassline on John Lennon’s Whatever Gets You Thru The Night is a must-listen

1973: Musician, producer, graphic artist and illustrator Klaus Voormann in recording studio 1973 in Los Angeles, California.
(Image credit: Getty Images)

Even though he launched a legion of low-end disciples with his landmark bass playing, Paul McCartney was not the only bass presence in the Beatles' orbit. Shadowing Macca was soft-spoken, German-born Klaus Voormann, whose supple, tasteful P-Bass lines anchored a decade of discs by rock's royalty – including seminal solo works by the other three Beatles.

Born in Berlin in 1942, Voormann studied classical guitar before picking up a bass guitar in the band Eyes, in 1964. While performing in the trio Paddy, Klaus & Gibson, and shortly before replacing Jack Bruce in Manfred Mann, Voormann met and befriended the Beatles in Hamburg. Their relationship eventually led to the band's request that he apply his graphic art skills for the cover of Revolver

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Chris Jisi was Contributing Editor, Senior Contributing Editor, and Editor In Chief on Bass Player 1989-2018. He is the author of Brave New Bass, a compilation of interviews with bass players like Marcus Miller, Flea, Will Lee, Tony Levin, Jeff Berlin, Les Claypool and more, and The Fretless Bass, with insight from over 25 masters including Tony Levin, Marcus Miller, Gary Willis, Richard Bona, Jimmy Haslip, and Percy Jones.