Former Member. Electric Bass
8/28/1937 – 12/18/2018
by Hal Blaine, Life Member, AFM Local 47
We are all shocked at the news that “the gentle giant of the Fender bass” has left the world, leaving a musical resume that will live on forever. Joe Osborn has lost his battle with pancreatic cancer.
He was a country farmer from Louisiana who started making recordings with Ricky Nelson on the television series “The Ozzie and Harriet Show” during the ’50s and was quickly recognized as one of the giants of this new genre called rock and roll, backing Johnny Rivers and so many other rock and pop stars. He discovered the Carpenters and played on all of their great hits.
He was considered one of the top Fender bassists and was well respected as a member of Local 47, creating some of the best bass parts ever recorded. He will be sorely missed by all of the recording industry.
I loved this gentle and friendly giant! My sympathies to all of Joe’s family and fans.
Editor’s Note: Joe Osborn was a first-call bassist throughout the 1960s among Los Angeles studio musicians known as the Wrecking Crew, and he worked with well-known producers such as Lou Adler and Bones Howe, frequently in combination with drummer Hal Blaine and keyboardist Larry Knechtel — the combination of the three often referred to as the “Hollywood Golden Trio.” His bass can be heard on many of the hit records cut in Los Angeles during that time, along with numerous film scores and television commercials. In 1974, Osborn left Los Angeles and moved to the country and western capital, Nashville, where he quickly became one of country music’s most in-demand session musicians, performing on Merle Haggard, Reba McEntire, Chet Atkins and Kenny Rogers. He held membership in AFM Local 257 for 15 years, then joined AFM Local 116 in Shreveport, Louisiana in 2012, where he held active membership until his passing.