I was a rock-n-roll kid. I listened to a little country, a lot of rock, classic rock, metal, and as little Top 40 radio as I possibly could during my formative years. I have memories of cheerleader-types with MTV darling-pop band posters in their lockers, and though I haven't really given them much thought over the years, I think I know now, what they do in their spare time...
They vote in (what should be dismissed as) meaningless internet polls.
Case in point: musicradar.com's '60 Greatest Bassists of All Time'.
Granted, bassists are often treated like the band stepchild. Not many rockin' solos or stage spotlights for them. But, there are great, notable, and historic bass players out there. You might not even know their name, but you can likely recall any number of songs that have a memorable bass line, a great bass riff, a solid bass back beat.
If the question had been posed to me, who is the greatest bassist of all time, or who belongs in a top 20 list, several names come to mind. Number One - hands down, Geddy Lee. Granted, I am not a bass player, so I am not ranking on technique, just musicality from a listener's perspective. From there, it would likely be more difficult for me but names like John Paul Jones, Les Claypool, Cliff Burton, Billy Sheehan, Steve Harris, Roger Waters, and Roger Glover come to mind. There were some great funk bass players whose names I do not know. There are great R&B bass players, I am thinking of bands like Earth, Wind & Fire and Kool & the Gang. Heck, Gene Simmons has an impressive body of work.
Never, in my wildest dreams, would I have named the same Number 1 bassist of all time, as the musicradar.com poll did. In fact, he wouldn't have made my top 100 list. I am fairly certain I could name 500 musical acts whose bass playing would rank above the band and bass player that they named number one.
Let's just rename their poll, 'Who would be the last person you would think to name to a bass player poll?'
Answer: John Taylor of Duran Duran.