I’m trying to think of examples of well known rock songs where the bass part includes chords, and it’s hard for me to come up with anything. Can you think of some?
Can’t answer that , but a song where the bass is playing a lead guitar type role is “The Real Me” by the Who on Quadrophenia.
Probably most songs by Primus, if those are well-known enough for you. Les Claypool would often slap a bassline on the low strings and do flamenco strumming on the high strings at the same time. They were often double-stops rather than true chords, though. Chords will generally sound muddy on a bass unless you play them at the very top of the neck. He was a special case though, because he used the bass as the lead instrument in the band.
In “Wynona’s Big Brown Beaver” the bass almost sounds like another guitar.
Primus has some really weird bass riffs that resemble chords.
ETA: beaten to the Primus reference, but at least I have a link!
Walk on the Wild Side, Lou Reed.
Though Herbie Flowers overdubbed electric and acoustic basses, so the “chords” may have been recorded as separate notes…
Also, in Heartbreaker by Led Zeppelin, JPJ plays double-stops during the verses. On the album they’re played though a Leslie organ speaker system driven to distortion, so they probably sound like another guitar sound to some people, but it’s the bass.
(Technically a chord has to have 3 different notes, but a lot of rock guitar uses power chords which use one note, the note a fifth above, and then the same note on octave higher.)
I wouldn’t be surprised if Flea has thrown some chords into a song or two, but I’m not a huge RHCP fan so I couldn’t say which. I recall seeing him interviewed by Bass Player mag, and demonstrating some riffs, and I think there was at least one that had some chords.
In Billy Hunt by the Jam, Bruce Foxton is hitting chords during the middle eight.
John Entwistle often played bass more like a lead instrument (Pete Townshend has said that he felt he was perceived as a better lead guitarist than he was thanks to Entwistle’s bass playing), although I couldn’t name particular songs that have what the OP is looking for.
Every hit song by the Doors.
Ray Manzarek (keyboards) played all the bass chords with his pedals, like a church organist.
In his Cream days nobody told Jack Bruce that he wasn’t playing lead. Not so much for chords, but for picking.
Same with Ginger Baker. It was a band with three instruments playing lead and nobody was backing them up. Good times!
Mission of Burma, “That’s When I Reach for My Revolver”
Here is Uncle John kicking some righteous ass a couple of years before he died. Not chords by the strict definition, though.
Almost anything by Motorhead, how about Ace of Spades.
Ah, you beat me to it.