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Herbie Flowers: Live in London

Updated on May 13, 2015
Herbie Flowers
Herbie Flowers | Source

So, who is Herbie Flowers?

Some people reading this will know who he is, I'm sure. Other readers might just know the name but aren't quite sure who I'm talking about.

But even those who have never even heard the name at all will know his music. Or, should I say, one of his famous solos. Read on.

Bass and brass

Herbie started his musical career in, of all places, the British Army, where he was a band member playing the tuba. This was in the nineteen fifties - a time when young men were conscripted into the forces to perform their national service. This was mandatory at the time.

I guess that being a musician wasn't a bad option in those days in the army. Whilst in the services, he also took up playing the bass - I believe starting with the double bass and progressing to the bass guitar.

Famous bass solo

If I were to ask you about famous bass solos, which would come to mind? Think back to 1972. Oh, alright, I realize that some of you (babies) might not remember the seventies but I think that most people will know this one.

Herbie was a session musician - session musicians were, and still are - employed for recordings to fill out the existing band or as backing for solo singers. They are usually paid by the hour or session and receive a paltry sum compared to the stars. You're dying to know who he is, aren't you?

Associated with New York

This song, and I promise you it's a famous one, is often associated with New York because of the lyrics but the well-known bassline is definitely played by an Englishman and it was recorded in London. Alright, I'll admit that the singer was an America. These are excellent clues.

In fact, Herbie played two instruments, the double bass and the electric bass guitar - and they were dubbed together on the final recording. Herbie always says that he was paid twice as much because of this.

Herbie says?

Yes, although not to me. I have rambled elsewhere about my ex, who is a jazz musician, and he and Herbie are good mates. I get all the low-down.

OK, Brit, time to spill the beans

If you say so! But before I do,let me tell you about the CD you see above.

It's my favorite because it has two of my most beloved classic numbers, My Funny Valentine and Georgia on My Mind.

Oh, that famous bass line? Please see the video below

All is revealed. What is Herbie Flowers' most famous solo?

Walk On The Wild Side - Live 1972
Walk On The Wild Side - Live 1972

Yes, this was the famous song,'Walk on the Wild Side'. Lou Reed died on October 27th, 2013. This caused a huge revival and a new popularity for his music.

Or did it never really wane? If you don't have this in your collection, I'd suggest that you do. It's a pure classic and will soon become a collector's item.


Did you know?

Herbie Flowers trivia

  • Herbie was once a bandsman on a famous ocean liner - the Queen Elizabeth
  • Another record that you probably know that you can hear him on is Blue Mink's Melting Pot
  • Herbie is not his real name, his real name is Brian
  • He worked extensively with David Bowie and George Harrison

© 2013 Jackie Jackson


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    • BritFlorida profile image

      Jackie Jackson 4 years ago from Fort Lauderdale

      @Erin Mellor: Great info - thanks Erin!

    • Erin Mellor profile image

      Erin Mellor 4 years ago from Europe

      Herbie was on R4 Today this morning - about 8:20 if you can get iPlayer