Paul Simon's Graceland: Fretless bass playing would never be the same again

Paul Simon's Graceland album
(Image credit: Paul Simon)

It was Talking Heads man David Byrne who said what bass players all over the world were thinking: “The [Paul Simon] albums before Graceland had great songs, but this one had a little bit more low end going on.”

When this 1986 smash album first hit the radio, there probably wasn't a bassist on the planet whose head wasn't turned by the incredibly interesting, free-flowing fretless bass lines of Bakithi Kumalo. The virtually unknown South African lit up such hit tracks as You Can Call Me Al and The Boy in the Bubble, making a positively great album out of what would have been simply an excellent one. 

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Bass Player Staff

Bass Player is the world’s most comprehensive, trusted and insightful bass publication for passionate bassists and active musicians of all ages. Whatever your ability, BP has the interviews, reviews and lessons that will make you a better bass player. We go behind the scenes with bass manufacturers, ask a stellar crew of bass players for their advice, and bring you insights into pretty much every style of bass playing that exists, from reggae to jazz to metal and beyond. The gear we review ranges from the affordable to the upmarket and we maximise the opportunity to evolve our playing with the best teachers on the planet.