January 29th in African American History – James Lee Jamerson

James Lee JamersonJanuary 29, 1936 James Lee Jamerson, bass player and member of Motown’s Funk Brothers, was born in Edisto Island, South Carolina.

Jamerson and his mother moved to Detroit, Michigan in 1954. He learned to play the bass at Northwestern High School and soon began playing in blues and jazz clubs. In 1959, he joined Motown and he is reported to have played on 95% of Motown recordings between 1962 and 1968.

Jamerson’s relationship with Motown ended in 1973 and he went on to perform on such hits as the Hues Corporation’s “Rock the Boat” (1974), The Sylvers’ “Boogie Fever” (1975), and Marilyn McCoo and Billy Davis’ “You Don’t Have To Be A Star (To Be In My Show)” (1976). Jamerson died August 2, 1983 and was posthumously inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame in 2000 and the Fender Hall of Fame in 2009.

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