Bruce Thomas

 

The roll call of outstanding bass players who came of age in Britain’s 1970s pub rock golden era, such as Nick Lowe, Norman Watt-Roy (Ian Dury & The Blockheads), Graham Maby (Joe Jackson Band) and Andrew Bodner (Graham Parker & The Rumour) to name a few, must include the amazing 2003 Rock and Roll Hall of Fame Inductee Bruce Thomas of Elvis Costello & the Attractions.

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With a yen for American rhythm and blues, soul, and British rock ‘n’ roll Mr. Thomas absorbed the work of such elite bassists as James Jamerson, Sir Paul, Bill Wyman, Paul Samwell-Smith and Jack Bruce and forged it upon the new wave.

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Utilizing a 1960s Fender Precision which he painted an awful shade of pink, Thomas was the driving force on all of Elvis’ early classics, serving in a dual role as a lead player and harmonic anchor.

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To my ears, Bruce’s essential works are This Year’s Model (1978), Armed Forces (1979), Get Happy (1980), Imperial Bedroom (1982), Punch the Clock (1983), and Blood & Chocolate (1986).

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Unfortunately Elvis and Bruce were oft at loggerheads, and Thomas was fired for good after a brief reunion in the mid-90s. The Bass Centre in London has honored Bruce Thomas with a Profile Bass which replicates his pink Fender.

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