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Legendary Bass Guitarist James Jamerson to Be Honored at USS Yorktown Dec. 11
12/7/2016 11:57:41 AM

The late James Jamerson
Staff Reports  

On Sunday, December 11, The Independent Tone Awards will honor Funk Legend and Legendary Bass Guitarist James Jamerson at the USS Yorktown in Mouth Pleasant, SC. While the honor is appreciated, the struggle continues to gain recognition here in South Carolina.

Anthony J. McKnight, a local musician and first cousin of Jamerson, has been fighting to get the bass guitarist inducted into the South Carolina Hall of Fame for the last 20 years to no avail. He recently started an online petition to gain support for his efforts.

“Mr. Jamerson is known as the "Father of the Modern Bass" that changed the way that we listen to the Bass and how it is played today so here's the question - What's wrong with South Carolina?”, Knight said with frustration.

Jamerson is acknowledged as one of the greatest influences in modern music. As bass guitar player for Motown Records, the Edisto Island native who was inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame in 2000 performed on 30 number one hits and 70 R&B hits, more than any other person or group in music history.

As a studio musician and performer with the Funk Brothers band, Jamerson’s opening bass lyrics on the Temptations’ hit single ‘My Girl’ was typical of the distinct style he displayed on other hit tunes by Stevie Wonder, The Miracles, Martha and the Vandellas, Marvin Gaye, Gladys Knight and the Pips, the Four Tops, the Supremes and other Motown performers.

Jamerson’s bass playing was considered an integral part of ‘the Motown Sound’ as he transcended the standard bass line and created a duet with the vocalist, but remained tightly locked with the drum groove. He has influenced a renown who’s who list of bass players in jazz, rock and funk.

During his lifetime (1936-1983), Jamerson received little formal recognition for his contributions. He was the subject of a 1989 book by Allan (Dr. Licks) Slutsky titled “Standing In the Shadows of Motown”. In 2004 he was honored with a Grammy Lifetime Achievement Award and in 2009 was inducted into the Fender Hall of Fame. Jamerson was presented with a resolution in his honor by the S.C. House of Representatives that same year. In 2013, he and his band mates of “The Funk Brothers” received a star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame.

The next year they were inducted into the R&B Hall of Fame in Canton, Ohio and The South Carolina State Senate passed a resolution for the bass guitarist. Other notable accomplishments include indcution into the Musicians Hall of Fame in Nashville, Tennessee and the Gullah/GeeChee Nation’s Anointed Spirit Award.

McKnight says that he will continue to fight for the legacy of his cousin to get the recognition that he deserves. If you would like to show your support to get Jamerson inducted into the South Carolina Hall of Fame, sign the petition online. 


The Independent Tone Awards is the first of it's kind in Charleston. It will be honoring the Best in the independent music industry within the city.

Sun, December 11, 2016
6:00 PM – 9:30 PM

40 Patriots Point Rd
Mt Pleasant, SC 29464

TICKETS available for purchase online:

Advance General Admission
$29.99 (+$2.64 fee)

Children (6 to 11)
$15.00 (+$1.82 fee)


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