Marvin Gaye & James Jamerson: “What’s Going On” Isolated Vocals and Bass

Here’s a new take on Marvin Gaye’s hit “What’s Going On” the way we like it: with James Jamerson‘s bass line loud and clear in this bass and vocals only isolated track.

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Share your thoughts

  1. Norman T hacker

    True genius …

  2. Moe Speaks

    The bassist that truly made Motown famous. His bass lines were so melodic you couldn’t help but tap your feet.

    • Mike Harrison

      And his rhythms were so catchy you just had to sing along…

  3. John G

    This song could have been a hit just the way it’s presented here. The bass lines that spilled from Jamerson’s hands were so musical they could stand alone and needed no other instrumentation to portray the emotion of the song.

  4. Geoff Kovarik

    The very core of the song…thanks for making this available!

  5. Art

    Thanks for the providing this valuable piece of bass history, simply amazing.

  6. Clifton

    Wow!! Now that was some awesome Bass playing! He had his Groove on that day!!

  7. Crap… That would be very challenging to sing and play at the same time!!!!!! Gonna have to try it!!!!
    Yes… I’m a glutton for punishment! :-)

    • Kelly

      Go for it. It can only make you stronger and more coordinated even if you don’t get it perfect. I dont even sing and i want to try it. Just for the challenge.

  8. GaryDaBassman

    Classic Jamerson!

  9. Mary Shutt

    FANTASTIC Bass line!

  10. Miguel Cabanzo

    AWESOME!

  11. as a Detroit bassist, this brings tears to my eyes…James was our hero, and you should have heard him play upright, rock solid and funky, groovin and swingin, God bless James Jamerson.

  12. JJ was a true master of the groove: pure groove! And Marvin… one of the best.

  13. Gênio das 4 cordas.

  14. awesome. thanks for sharing.

  15. Wow, was really looking forward to hearing this, but never mind, it’s been blocked by Universal Music Group because of copyright issues. That’s probably a smart business move. Oh wait… did I say smart? I meant to say stupid. Very pointless and stupid.

  16. Here is a vid of just the bassline (available in all countries).

  17. long may this touch us deep down!

  18. real smooth & slick.

  19. The Fender Bass! The Master! Less Is more! Put the Bottom On TOP! DAM!

  20. What can I say but, The Man was Pure Genius, He was born to groove like that!! Bassist all around the World, Bow Down to the MIGHTY, MIGHTY JAMES JAMERSON!!! Ha Haaaaaa!!!

  21. Pure old school class!

  22. My Favourite Bassist of all time……beautifully crafted lines.

  23. According to “Standing in the Shadows of Motown” Marvin was in the studio with a different bass player that just could not get the feel Marvin wanted. Marvin stopped the session and said “get me Jamerson.” James was playing in a local club and was so drunk when he got to Motown he could not sit on his normal playing stool. He laid down this track while laying on the floor on his back. Genius is not a strong enough word!

  24. I have been a Fender P bassist for 51 years and I can say with an experienced ear that J.J. AND Bob Babbitt were the masters of the instrument. I have been teaching for 15 years and the first thing I tell a student, young or old, that the secret that I got from listening and playing in a band in Phoenix, Az. for four years with three black musicians that said to me that you’re a soulful honky with black fingers (jokingly)and I was proud of it but the trick in playing bass is knowing what “not” to play and when “not” to play it. As the sun sets on my days, It has never failed me!

  25. I have been a Fender P bassist for 51 years and I can say with an experienced ear hat J.J. AND Bob Babbitt were the masters of the instrument. I have been teaching for 15 years and the first thing I tell a student, young or old, that the secret that I got from listening and playing in a band in Phoenix, Az. for four years with three black musicians that said to me that you’re a soulful honky with black fingers (jokingly)and I was proud of it but the trick in playing bass is knowing what “not” to play and when “not” to play it. As the sun sets on my days, It has never failed me!

  26. This is my Christmas gift, Thank You!

  27. Bluesiana Red

    That was all in your heart and soul. So much love and passion.

  28. bvdon

    One of the greatest bass grooves ever.

  29. BEADG

    Always inspirational bass lines. Amazing! Thanks, JJ!!!

  30. Lou Weckler

    If I’m asked by anyone about becoming a bassist my answer is : listen to Jamerson

  31. Wow, that had know they were creating magic with this. This song still gives me chills.

  32. Robin

    That so cool !

  33. Steve Grossman

    Wow!

    For anyone who loves Motown and the bass playing of James Jamerson there is a wonderful book called Standing In The Shadows. This book inspired a film of the same name that shines a light on the instrumentalists who were not credited for their work on hundreds of hit songs.

    On 2 CDs accompanying the book, James’s bass lines are accurately performed by some of the best living bass players. Their bass lines are isolated in the left ear while very spare piano, guitar, drums and some background vocals play through the right ear.

    In addition, each bass player talks about how they were directly influenced by James’ playing and each performs on CD, from 1 to 3 songs that James originally played with awe inspiring emotion, technique and beauty.

    For those who read bass clef, there are accurate transcriptions of James’ work.

  34. Kevin Brown

    All I can say about Jamerson is genius!

  35. James Jamerson rules!

  36. alexander freeman

    This is truly heaven I was waiting for the his to hsppen instead listen to everybody I got to here just these two. All the feedback is right Jamerson hit right on the head. He got patirnce he not rushing he picking spots to fill in but eith meanful playing. It like a story book the bass ask the question thenbit answer itself. Thanks you very much because this song made me we hat I am today thats thorough in my playing . That why you keep your mouth Shut sn esrs open. I always trusted my ears first then b inread it but ears always first that we hen you get down an dirty as h r ll a n I love getting my hands dirty lol