9 Classic Rock Bands Whose Replacement Bass Players Didn’t Last

Rock Bands Whose Replacement Bass Players Didn’t Last

Photo: Achim Raschka / CC BY-SA (https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/3.0)

Our 9 Classic Rock Bands Whose Replacement Bass Players Didn’t Last article takes a look at some great bass players who filled some pretty big shoes and then were eventually replaced themselves. Like all our previous articles in our musicians that didn’t last series, this article examines only the musicians who were caught in the middle. Original and final bass players in these bands are not included on this list. Even if a band’s original bass player was replaced and then came back and replaced their replacement and then was replaced again, they have been excluded from the article. Otherwise, it would be just a mess. Even writing that explanation was messy. For whatever reason, these have been pretty popular articles and we just wanted to thank all of you for taking the time to look at these.

# 9 – The Doobie Brothers

(Tiran Porter, Willie Weeks, Skylark) Current bassist: John Cowan

We open our 9 Classic Rock Bands Whose Replacement Bass Players Didn’t Last article with the great Doobie Brothers Band.  The group’s original bassist Dave Shogren did not last a long time with the band. Shogren was replaced during the recording of the band’s second album in 1971 by bassist Tiran Porter. After almost ten years with the band and playing on the group’s most legendary recordings, Tiran Porter quit The Doobie Brothers and was replaced by Willie Weeks.

Tiran Porter would return to his role as the band’s bass player in 1987 when The Doobie Brothers reunited. He played with the group for another five years and then quit again. He was replaced by John Cowan who was then replaced Skylark on the bass. Skylark was then replaced on the bass by John Cowan’s return.

# 8 – Utopia

(John Siegler, Doug Howard)

Tony Sales was the original bass player in Todd Rundgren’s Utopia Band.  Sales was replaced by John Siegler in 1973. Siegler was replaced by Kasim Sulton in 1976. Kasim Sulton would record the majority of Utopia’s career-defining albums in the 1970s and early 1980s. Sulton was replaced by Doug Howard in 1982. Sulton was back in the band pretty quickly replacing Howard.

# 7 – Deep Purple

(Glenn Hughes)

Deep Purple is one of classic rock’s most legendary bands that has gone through more lineup changes than almost any other classic rock band. Every role in the band has gone through major changes including their lead singer, guitarist, keyboardist, drummer and bass player. Deep Purple’s iconic bassist Roger Glover left Deep Purple in 1973 along with Ian Gillian and was replaced in 1974 by Glenn Hughes. Both fabulous musicians recorded some great material with Deep Purple. In 1984 when Deep Purple reformed, Roger Glover returned replacing Glenn Hughes.

# 6 – The Pretenders

(Malcolm Foster, T. M. Stevens, Andy Hobson)

Like Deep Purple, The Pretenders have gone through major lineup changes over the years with every musician being replaced in the band at one time or another with the exception of band leader Chrissie Hynde. The band’s original bassist Pete Farndon was fired from the band in 1982. He died a year later due to a heroin overdose. Farndon was replaced by Malcolm Foster who played with the band for just a few years. In 1986, Foster was replaced by T. M. Stevens. Andy Hobson would then take over the bass payer duties in the band for the next eleven years from 1994 to 2005. The band’s current bass player Nick Wilkinson has been with the group since 2005.

# 5 – King Crimson

(Gordon Haskell, Raymond “Boz” Burrell, John Wetton, Trey Gunn)

The lineup changes in King Crimson will make your head spin. Let’s keep this simple Greg Lake was the band’s original bassist before he left to form Emerson Lake & Palmer in 1970. Lake was replaced briefly by Gordon Haskell. Raymond “Boz” Burrell then got the bass playing job in the band and recorded three albums with the group. John Wetton replaced Burrell from 1972 to 1974. Trey Gunn played bass in King Crimson from 1994 to 2003. Tony Levin has been the bass player in the band since 2003.

# 4 – The Kinks

(John Dalton, Andy Pyle, Jim Rodford)

Pete Quaife was The Kinks original bassist from 1964 to 1966. In 1966 he was injured in an accident and was replaced by John Dalton for a short time in 1966. Pete Quaife returned to The Kinks in 1966 replacing his replacement. However, in 1969 Pete Quaife quit The Kinks and was replaced once again by John Dalton. In 1976, Andy Pyle replaced John Dalton on bass. Jim Rodford replaced Andy Pyle in 1979 and became the band’s longest-running bass player of all time playing bass in The Kinks from 1979 to 1997 when the band disbanded. Did you get all that?

# 3 – Guns N’ Roses

(Tommy Stinson)

Duff McKagan was the original bass player in Guns N’ Roses. We are not going to count Ole Beich’s one show with the band in 1985 to name Beich the original bassist. On pretty much all levels McKagan was the band’s original bassist. He is still the band’s bass player. However, when McKagan left the band in 1997 he was replaced by bassist Tommy Stinson who had been the bassist in the band The Replacements. Duff McKagan returned to Guns N’ Roses in 2016 when most of the original band reunited.

# 2 – Metallica

(Cliff Burton, Jason Newsted )

Ronald J. McGovney was Metallica’s original bass player during the band’s formation. McGovney quit the band before Metallica recorded their first album. He was replaced by Cliff Burton who became pretty much known as Metallica’s original bass player even though he was a replacement for one of the founding members. Burton enjoyed a very successful four-year run with Metallica and became recognized as one of the genre’s most influential bassists. Sadly, Cliff Burton died in a bus accident in 1986.

Burton was then replaced by Jason Newsted in a much-noted search for Burton’s replacement. Jason Newsted played with Metallica for five years and then quit the band in 2001. Bob Rock served as a temporary replacement for Jason Newsted until they hired Robert Trujillo to become Metallica’s new bass player. Robert Trujillo has been with the band since 2003 and so far has not been replaced.

# 1 – Allman Brothers Band

(Lamar Williams, David Goldflies, Allan Woody) Final bassist: Oteil Burbridge 

The Allman Brothers Band went through many personal changes in guitar and bass over the years. Many of those changes were due to tragedies. The Allman Brothers Band lost their first bass player early on, one year after the loss of Duane Allman. Original bassist Berry Oakley died in a motorcycle accident he 1972. Oakley was replaced by Lamar Williams who played in The Allman Brothers Band from 1972 to 1976. Lamar Williams was replaced by David Goldflies who played bass with The Allman Brothers Band from 1976 to 1982.

Allan Woody replaced David Goldflies when The Allman Brothers Band reunited in 1989. Allan Woody played bass in the band for eight years until he passed away in 2000. Woody was then replaced by Oteil BurbridgeHe would be the last bass player The Allman Brothers Band ever employed as Burbrideg played with the group until the band’s final shows in 2014.

Updated October 31, 2023

9 Classic Rock Bands Whose Replacement Bass Players Didn’t Last article published on Classic RockHistory.com© 2023

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