“I Want You Back” by The Jackson 5

Today’s Classic Bass Line is from “I Want You Back” by The Jackson 5.

K-TEL Presents: The Best of the 70's!

K-TEL Presents: The Best of the 70’s!

I Want You Back is a 1969 song, and the debut major-label single for The Jackson 5 which became a number-one hit for the band and the Motown label in early 1970. The song, along with a b-side cover of Smokey Robinson & the Miracles’ “Who’s Lovin’ You”, was the only single from the first Jackson 5 album, Diana Ross Presents the Jackson 5. It went to number one on the soul singles chart for four weeks and held the number-one position on the Billboard Hot 100 singles chart for the week ending January 31, 1970. “I Want You Back” was ranked 121st on Rolling Stone’s list of The 500 Greatest Songs of All Time.

Saxophonist/Bassist Wilton Felder wrote and played this slippery line.  It weaves in and out of arpeggiated triads, chromatic passing tones, and complex scalar motion, all while laying down a funky, hard charging groove.

Felder played a mid 60’s Fender Precision bass with flatwound strings on this recording.  The song is in the key of Ab Major, so try and stay in modified 4th position as you learn the line.  Below is the original recording, the isolated bass, and a good cover.  TABS are here.   Learn it!

“I Want You Back”  Original Recording

Isolated Bass

Great Cover by Sandokanbass