Here are the 66 best hard rock and metal bassists of all time.

When it comes to hard rock and heavy metal, bass players are, almost by definition, typically the most unselfish components of any band. They may not experience the godlike rush enjoyed by singers as the focal point of most concert performances; nor the wild response elicited by guitar heroes with every blazing display of fretboard proficiency; nor even the adulation eaten up by drummers. Instead, a bassist's reward -- if you can call it that -- generally involves the thankless responsibility of holding all the music together while keeping his bandmates' egos in check by way of his own, less selfish example.

READ MORE: The 66 Best Metal + Hard Rock Drummers of All Time

Here, we give bassists their based on several factors, including technical ability, groundbreaking contributions, range of influence, years of service, songwriting ability and, sure, popularity, plain and simple.

These factors are inevitably subjective to a point, but we did our best to line them up according to their overall impact on the conscience of music fans, while praising their individual strengths along the way.

Ultimately, what matters most is recognizing their amazing talents and comparatively selfless contributions to the "me, me ME!" world of rock and roll, so we'll get right to it by paraphrasing the Godfather of Soul, James Brown: "Let's give the bassist some!"

Check out the gallery below to see our list of the Top 66 Hard Rock + Metal Bassists of All Time!

Top 66 Rock + Metal Bassists of All Time

Counting down the very best bassists in rock and metal history.

10 Rock + Metal Bands Whose Bassist Is the Only Original Member Left

The following bands no longer have any original members left except for their bassist.

More From Loudwire