Discover the 10 albums that changed Billy Sheehan's life

Billy Sheehan — aka "the Eddie Van Halen of the bass" — loves a lot of different music, but there is a common theme in his Top 10 list: great bassists.
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By Pat Prince

When you’ve earned the nickname of “the Eddie Van Halen of the bass” and made a living playing in Diamond Dave’s solo band, it’s probably not much of a surprise that at least one classic-lineup Van Halen album makes the list of 10 Albums that changed your life.

But what other albums have earned the undying love of Billy Sheehan, also known as the bass virtuoso from Mr. Big?

Rave Up With The Yardbirds

Spoiler alert: a lot of them feature prominent bass players.

The Yardbirds
"Having a Rave Up With The Yardbirds"
Bassist Paul Samwell Smith was breaking new ground. The guitar players weren’t bad, either.

Frank Zappa and the Mothers of Invention
"Freak Out
I know every single thing on this record by heart, having listened to it about 2,000 times. Changed my outlook on life as well as music.

Frank Zappa and The Mothers of Invention Freak Out

Jimi Hendrix Experience
"Are You Experienced?"
This record changed everything for me. The entire world looked different after I heard it. Jimi was the first concert I ever attended, as well. The coolest human being ever. Period.

Jimi Hendrix Experience Are You Experienced

Vanilla Fudge
"Vanilla Fudge"
Playing songs I was already familiar with, their re-arrangement/interpretation chops were second to none, showing unlimited possibilities for musical creativity. Tim Bogert is my biggest bass influence, combining Motown sensibilities with psychedelic overtones. Awesome!

Vanilla Fudge album

The Beatles
"Sgt. Pepper’s Lonely Hearts Club Band"
Probably the single most important record of all time, in my humble opinion. I learned it backwards and forwards. I still play along with it. Paul McCartney’s bass is absolutely incredible.

The Beatles Sgt. Pepper's Lonely Hearts Club Band

King Crimson
This version of King Crimson, though not the original, had a vibe to it that touched me very much. John Wetton’s voice is spectacular, his bass tone I’ve blatantly and shamelessly imitated, and Fripp and Bruford made this record one of my all-time favorites. I went on a trip once with only this record to listen to. Brilliant.

King Crimson Red

Ronnie Montrose with Sammy Hagar. A perfect rock record. I think I’ve played every song on it in a club band at one point or another.

Montrose album

Grand Funk Railroad
"Closer to Home"
Awesome bluesy, soulful vocals over a relentless bass and drum monster groove. Still love every second of this record and know the whole thing by heart.

Grand Funk Closer To Home

Van Halen
"Van Halen"
This record changed the course of musical (and other?) history. Absolutely incredible on all fronts.

Van Halen album

Frank Sinatra
"Live at the Sands with the Count Basie Orchestra" (with Quincy Jones conducting)
THIS is heavy metal! The metal happens to be brass, though. Frank is utterly perfect on this — a snapshot of a time and a place in music that we may never see again. It’s almost TOO good.

Frank Sinatra At The Sands