The Who: The Real Me
When I think of great bass players, there are a few who come to mind. Many are jazz players, and I'll consider posting one of them later in the week, but the rock/pop player that comes to my mind most quickly is John Entwistle. His style is so unique and powerful. Entiwstle once said of The Who that they really didn't have a proper bass player, and in many ways that was a true statement. There was no one in the band who stood back and thumped notes over and over for the purpose of holding the music together. Instead, Entwistle used his instrument to create powerful melodic and harmonic structures within the songs.
The Real Me, the first (real) track from Quadrophenia, is a great example of how a bass can add just as much detail and depth to a song as a lead guitar or keyboard.