The original grand-daddy of electric bass. Even legendary Jaco Pastorius was influenced by him along with many other greats like Paul McCartney, Jack Bruce, John Entwistle, Geddy Lee ect. One of the most important factor for Motown's success, he played bass like nobody did before improvising lines, injecting soul and bringing in the groove while using nothing more than his pointer finger. It's being said he never changed strings or cleaned the frets to keep the raw sound of "sweat and dirt infested wood and steel" intact. An epitome, he was a true professionals playing whats required of bass players, that is support the song rather than being a showboat playing the so called lead bass crap which Victor Wooten, Stanley Clarke, Billy Sheehan, Bootsy Collins, Les Claypool and the likes do nowadays. Actually I like that also and never intend to take the brilliance away from these masters, yet I think James Jamerson is the one who started popular electric bass playing. Sadly, Berry Gordy exploited him and he was not able to adapt to the fast changing needs of the music industry leading an obscured life uncredited for all the greatness he deserved. James departed this miserable planet in 1983 due to excessive alcoholism, but as time went by his genius was discovered and even a documentary was made on him and the Funk Brothers (the Motown band of the 60s). Today he is considered one of the greatest bassists who ever lived. Respect & RIP JJ.
New bass freak: Who played bass in Marvin Gaye's Whats going on?
Old timer: James Jamerson
New bass freak: Wtf, I always thought Jenna Jameson was only a pornstar.
Old timer: JAMES JAMERSON you idiot (and shoots himself)
Go check youtube for more examples