High Five

James Jamerson Jr.’s favorite Motown tunes

James Jamerson Jr.
Gerald Jensen
James Jamerson Jr.

He grew up in the studio watching his dad play bass in the legendary Funk Brothers, the Motown house band illuminated in the 2002 documentary “Standing in the Shadows of Motown.” Eventually, James Jamerson Jr. became a master of the instrument himself, getting his first cut as a teen on a Smokey Robinson track and playing for many years on the road with the Temptations, and in the studio with everyone from Teena Marie to Bob Dylan to Robert Goulet.

Next Wednesday Jamerson brings “Standing in the Shadows of Motown Live!” to the Wilbur Theatre with Peabo Bryson and Leela James. They’ll play the songs his dad helped imprint on several generations of music fans. Jamerson chatted with us about his five favorite tunes featuring his dad.

1. “My Girl,” the Temptations “That’s a classic, even the kids today recognize that song. Lots of babies were made on that song.”


2. “Bernadette,” the Four Tops “I think that’s more of a bass player’s song. The bass line was difficult for me to play even because he was all over the place.”

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3. “I Was Made to Love Her,” Stevie Wonder “So many people have tried to claim they played bass on that song. No, it’s dad.”

4. “You Keep Me Hangin’ On,” the Supremes “I think that one was the Supremes power song.”

5. “What’s Going On,” Marvin Gaye “The funny part about that one is he was a little inebriated and he played that song on his back because he couldn’t sit in his stool. That record was his favorite. He came home and said, ‘I made history today with Marvin.’ ”

Sarah Rodman

Standing in the Shadows of Motown Live! starring Peabo Bryson & Leela James and featuring James Jamerson Jr. comes to the Wilbur Theatre, Wednesday,
8 p.m. Tickets: $29.50-$49.50. 800-745-3000, www.ticket

Sarah Rodman can be reached at Follow her on Twitter @GlobeRodman