As far as Deaky/Stu...
BY THE CRITERIA:
Bleh, could go either way depending on how you look at it. To be entirely honest I think Stu takes it though.
Winner: Stu but fairly close
Deaky gets points here for continuing to develop and make prominent the Macca style (i.e. subtle melodic touches/'melodic' playing thru the use of harmonic counterpoint and lots of feel in note plucking)...he was Macca's main acolyte in the next (post Beatles) generation of famous bassists I think. He also refined that style and took it in his own direction. In addition he was one of the first very versatile rock bassists. Some points also need to given for "Another One Bites the Dust" helping define and solidify a certain style/approach to rock bass in a very influential way.
Stu gets points here for being one of the 'big 3' contemporary shredder style guys who helped bring that style to rock and show/develop how it could work in a rock setting (the shredder style was really a further development on fusion guys like Jaco and Clarke, more than anything else), and also for helping to bring to prominence the multiple melodic voices bass solo. He also helped further develop tapping. Important in helping innovate the unaccompanied bass solo, and in helping invent and define the rock 'virtuoso' player style.
Winner: Again, Stu but fairly close
Deacon wins this one. It's not debatable.
Winner: Deaky, but Stu is still very good
I don't know Queen well enough to assess Deaky's versatility, but a hunch says Stu wins for being the king of unaccompanied rock bass solo/multiple melodic voice rock bass solo, uses tapping as its own distinct style, good slapper, has played both shred rock and jazz fusion a great deal, plus bass-centric albums of his own.
Winner: I'm pretty sure it's Stu, but Deaky's still good
Stu wins by a lot here, but Deaky's still pretty good, it's not close between these two though.
Winner: Stu easily but Deaky's nothing to scoff at.
So by the criteria it's two small wins for Stu, a significant but not huge win for Stu, a solid and notable win for Deacon and a big win for Stu. I admit I simply don't know Queen that well though so I could be misjudging a lot of this.
NOW, throw in intangibles/notable points...
Kept the Macca style alive and refined it further. One of the first very versatile rock bassists. Very distinctive and identifiable style, a ridiculous amount of creativity (top 10 ever in rock easily). A true musician's musician on the bass with a ridiculous amount of subtlety and finesse, and a very deep well of phrases to draw from: in rock one of the top 'bass musician-as-artist' guys. Played in one of the biggest bands ever, very heard and therefore considerably influential (in addition to influence in helping keep the Macca style alive and keeping it prominent). Literally every Deacon performance is a masterpiece, which you can say about only a few rock guys, he's ALWAYS inventive, subtle and brilliant. Mastery of using the bass as a countermelodic/counterharmonic instrument in rock second to none and tied with Macca, Flea and Jamerson for first place. Huge amount of great bass lines, but also helped popularize/invent/define the rock bass solo/'up front playing' style. Personality wise, up there with JPJ as THE guy who defined the rock bassist's stereotypical personality. One member of one of the elite instrumental ensembles in rock's history in terms of all members being brilliant musicians, and held his own with May which is saying a lot. Bass parts equally important compositionally in Queen songs as vocal, guitar or drum parts. Also, has one of the greatest basslines ever to his name, and one of the most influential and important ever (Another One Bites the Dust). Helped show the world the bassist can be equally important to a great band as any other member, both in terms of the sound of the band/its songs AND as a songwriter.
With Wooten and Sheehan: greatest and most visible, famous and important contemporary shredder style bassists, more responsible for bringing that style to prominence and fame than anyone else. In doing so helped bring fusion bass virtuoso influences/style to rock, which is important. One of those guys who has been very influential to rock bassists in being a 'gateway drug' to discover the fusion bassists of the 70s and 80s he and the other shredder style guys built upon: Clarke, Jaco, etc. One of the top 'multigenre' (rock and fusion) bassists ever, helped popularize that trend. Perhaps the greatest ever in rock at the unaccompanied bass solo as a composition. Like Deacon, one of the top bass musician-as-artist icons in rock. Highly creative and highly renowned for his creativity. Huge figure in advancing, defining and popularizing the tapping style on the electric bass. Within rock, maybe the greatest and most influential multiple-melodic-voices soloist, maybe the player most responsible for popularizing that style in rock (also helped invent that style in general). Helped define the possibilites of the bass as a fully fledged, versatile instrument, from chordal playing to tapping, slapping (different timbres and styles), and obviously fingerstyle. Bass icon.
In the end I reckon Hamm wins by the criteria, and his win becomes even more solid and concrete when we take what I call intangibles into account. BUT, consider Deacon's spot pending: it's not definite. I need to buy and really immerse myself in Queen's discography, and it's possible he'll move up when I do. His spot is basically a placeholder spot for him for now.
Consolation: Deacon would easily be top 10 in creativity ever and very possibly top 5. Hamm would be top 20. They're not really close in creativity. Even if I'm right that Hamm is 'greater', Deacon's still better, has a more distinctive, subtle and refined style which is harder to imitate (actually it's impossible to accurately imitate), he's a creativity god. He's a deeper musician with a deeper musical soul.
Oh and don't forget I raised Deacon like 5-10 spots from where he was before I took over haha
Great post Ariel, thanks.