NEM#185: Bruce Thomas’ Bass Lines Before, After, and During the Attractions

Bruce is best known as Elvis Costello’s bassist for his first on about a dozen albums as The Attractions, but he’s been in bands since 1970 and has done numerous session gigs, most notably for Al Stewart’s early albums, plus The Pretenders, John Wesley Harding, Billy Bragg, and many more.

We discuss his work on “Blood Makes Noise” by Susanne Vega from 99.9 Degrees (1992), play clips from several of the most famous Attractions tunes (using when possible the 1978 Live at the El Mocambo album) plus “La La La La Loved You” by The Attractions (w/o Elvis) from Mad About the Wrong Boy (1980), the first half of the title track of Quiver’s Gone in the Morning (1972), and we conclude by listening to a cover of The Beatles “There’s a Place” by Spencer Brown and Bruce Thomas from Back to the Start (2018). Intro: “Radio Radio” by The Attractions feat. Fito Paez from Spanish Model (2021). For more about Bruce’s musical and literary projects, see

Hear all of “Radio Radio” in Spanish plus the original. Hear the full versions of the Attractions clips: “Chelsea,” “Pump It Up,” “Clubland,” and “Everyday I Write the Book.” Hear all of “Gone in the Morning” plus “Killer Man,” whose bass solo is at 4min in. Here’s Bruce demoing some of his parts. Watch the video for “There’s Is a Place.” Here’s one of the Al Stewart albums that Bruce plays on. Here he is live just pre-Attractions with The Sunderland Brothers and Quiver.

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