James Jamerson

  • Year:
  • Inducted by:
    Mike Stoller
  • Category:
    Musical Excellence


He bestowed the funkiest, grooviest basslines in the Motown catalogue.

James Jamerson played the bass with an intuition like no one else. Although he was a sideman, he revolutionized the bass and brought it out of the shadows and to the forefront of music.

Hall of Fame Essay


Allan “Dr. Licks” Slutsky

I walked into Berry Gordy Jr’s basement recording studio on Detroit’s West Grand Boulevard, the electric bass  was  still an infant. Leo Fender’s 1951 brainchild had yet to find an identity - a situation that ended with the first note Jamerson played on a Motown record. 

In one momentous and soulful trifecta, the instrument found its voice, a fledgling record company discovered its heartbeat, and a generation took a bold step toward finding its groove.

Rock and Roll Hall of Fame Induction Ceremony Program 2000
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