A native of Charleston, South Carolina, Jamerson moved with his mother to Detroit in 1954. Jamerson learned to play the upright bass at Northwestern High School. After graduation he began to play and develop a reputation in Detroit area clubs. Opportunities to play in studio sessions began to open up to him. At the tiny Hitsville USA Studio A at 2648 West Grand (down the stairs in a room they called the Snakepit) he became a member of an elite core of studio musicians who called themselves the Funk Brothers. Jamerson's discography at Motown reads as a catalog of soul hits of the 1960s and 1970s, including, among hundreds of others, "Shotgun" by Jr. Walker & the All Stars, "For Once in My Life" and "I Was Made to Love Her" by Stevie Wonder, "Going to a Go-Go" by The Miracles, "My Girl" by The Temptations, "Dancing in the Street" by Martha and the Vandellas, "Ain't That Peculiar", "I Heard It Through The Grapevine" and the "What's Going On" album by Marvin Gaye, virtually all of the hits by The Four Tops (including "Reach Out I'll Be There", "Bernadette", "Standing in the Shadows of Love", and "I Can't Help Myself (Sugar Pie, Honey Bunch)") and many hits by The Supremes (including "Reflections", "Baby Love", "Back in My Arms Again", "Come See About Me", "You Keep Me Hangin' On", and "You Can't Hurry Love"). Jamerson's musical contribution, no less than that of any individual, defined the instrumental signature of the Motown Sound, making it the major success that it was; his innovation was the syncopated bass that could virtually catapult a song into a number one hit. The songwriting-production team of Holland-Dozier-Holland attested to the fact that James Jamerson played on almost every one of their productions and they never allowed others to produce songs that they had written. It would be hard to overstate the significance of Jamerson's role in and contribution to the Motown Sound and the music of the era. Post-Motown, Jamerson played on many hits in the 1970s, including "Rock the Boat" (Hues Corporation), "Boogie Fever" (the Sylvers) and "Theme from S.W.A.T." (Rhythm Heritage). He performed on nearly 30 No. 1 pop hits -- surpassing in a sense the record commonly attributed to The Beatles. On the R&B charts, nearly 70 of his performances went to the top. Jamerson and The Funk Brothers typically reported for work at 10 am and laid down the instrumental track for a song; the vocal tracks would be added later. It was a formula for making hit after hit, and in the music business, the studios, writers, and vocalists would get all the credit and the money. Jamerson and the other studio musicians would be paid $10 each per song. James Jamerson (as is the case with the other Funk Brothers) received little formal recognition for his lifetime contributions. In fact, it wasn't until 1971, when he was acknowledged as "the incomparable James Jamerson" on the sleeve of Marvin Gaye's What's Going On, that his name even showed up on a major Motown release. Long troubled by alcoholism, Jamerson died in 1983 of pneumonia in Los Angeles, California. Since his death, however, he has become a true musical legend. Jamerson is the subject of the 1989 biography Standing in the Shadows of Motown, and his story is featured in the subsequent 2002 film of the same title. In 2000, Jamerson was one of the first inductees into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame's "Sidemen" category. While James Jamerson began his musical life playing upright bass, it was his groundbreaking work on the electric bass guitar that made him a legend. That's not to say Jamerson stopped playing upright; he often played a German upright acoustic bass he bought as a teenager and used on a few songs (most notably on "Heat Wave",) but the electric bass Jamerson played on most of the other Motown songs was a stock 1962 Fender Precision bass dubbed "The Funk Machine." Jamerson bought it after his first Precision (a gift,) was stolen c. 1961. The second Precision's bass and treble controls were turned up full, and Jamerson used a set of LaBella heavy-gauge flatwound strings -- by all accounts, he never changed the strings. Additionally, the "action" (the string height above the fingerboard) was set very high to mimic his upright bass. It required tremendous hand strength to play, but the added tension improved the quality of the tone. Amazingly, Jamerson played even his busiest basslines using only his right-hand index finger, which earned its own moniker, "The Hook." The Funk Machine was stolen just before Jamerson's death. To date, it has not been recovered. Jamerson's amplifier at club performances was an Ampeg B-15 and in concert halls was a blue Naugahyde Kustom with twin 15" speakers, with the bass turned full on and the treble turned halfway up. In studio recordings, the bass was nearly always plugged into the board. Even though that was a brief bio I pasted on line, I think his mark not just in music, but in the bass community is excellent. I'm pretty much inspired by his contribution to music through playing the bass.