Isolated James Jamerson: I Heard It Through the Grapevine

Marvin Gaye’s “I Heard It Through The Grapevine” wouldn’t have amounted to much without the iconic bass line we’re able to recognize without hearing anything else.

To prove that, here’s the isolated bass, featuring the incredible bass line by James Jamerson. Of course, like all tracks from Motown in that era, there’s plenty of leakage from some of the other instrument tracks, notably keys and drums.

No matter, the bass is loud and clear, which is all that matters to us.

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Share your thoughts

  1. Want to hear the Motown foundation? Check out the legendary James Jamerson

  2. Not that the Marvin Gaye version is bad,….just that the Gladys Knight & The Pips version cooks about a thousand times hotter. They should really isolate that track.

  3. Wow thanks for that… I never heard those chromatic note choices near the last 20 seconds or so. Very interesting! What a great player!

    • Jamerson was amazing! He played on most of the tunes I produced at Motown.

    • Wow! Do you think those were intended?

    • What a treat to hear a true master at work. So simple, but perfecly sublime. I couldn’t have thought up those lines in a thousand years. I want to hear more!

    • When he went into a session, the rest of the rhythm section had pretty much full arrangements. They would give Jamerson only a lead sheet, knowing he’d fill in the blanks.

    • Gosh, Charles T, I think they might have been intended, however if they were NOT, then the first one was a mini-mistake, and then he continued to use the note to make the best of it… The notes are just fine as passing notes, yet they are not notes that I would choose in these circumstances. I have been known to “make the best of” a little glitch that I made and repeat it, and that “sort-of” justifies the use of that note again and again. Wish we could ask the man!

    • Goes to show that what may look like a mistake on paper and what we hear as wrong are frequently two different things. As for me, that’s one more JJ lick that’s going to show up every time I get my bass out! THAAAANKS for posting this.

    • Now I wanna go see if they’ve got the Gladys Knight version….

    • Exactly, Gordo! I was also thinking that! Sounds like he made a clam and tried to turn it into a riff in the true spirit of spontanaeity..

  4. funny…these days all those passing chromatic tones on a radio hit would be considered voodoo, but it just proves that if it’s in the fabric of the song, it’s more a hunch than a hinderance.