Without a solid rhythm section, your favorite bands would not exist. We recently paid our respects to the greatest drum intros of all time, so let’s get to the other rhythmic anchors in rock and metal — the bassists.

This list wouldn’t be worth a damn without Cliff Burton’s iconic lead on Metallica’s “For Whom the Bell Tolls.” Not only is it one of the best bass leads ever, it’s one of the best metal riffs, period. Since Burton died at the young age of 24, there isn’t much quality footage of him ripping the lead, but this one clip has become iconic amongst Metallica fans.

Where would heavy metal be without Steve Harris? The Iron Maiden bassist / songwriter has taken the lead in many NWOBHM classics over the years, but our pick for this list is “Wrathchild.” Harris has made his bass the focal point of Maiden songs like “The Clairvoyant” and “Children of the Damned,” but we chose the perennial Killers track to represent Harris and his four-string prowess.

If it wasn’t for Mike Starr’s bass line during the opening of “Would,” the bleak Alice in Chains cut wouldn’t assert the same weight onto the listener. It’s cold, gloomy and forms like a black cloud with each play. Jerry Cantrell and Layne Staley’s duel vocals carry the track, but that bass intro sets the stage for a truly heavy piece.

Check out our picks for the 15 Greatest Bass Intros of All Time in the Loud List above.

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