“Playing with a pick is not something you learn over the weekend. It requires the same commitment as learning to play upright bass with a bow”: Listen to Anthony Jackson’s landmark bassline on the O’Jays’ For the Love of Money

Anthony Jackson with his Fodera 6-string bass
(Image credit: Michael Weintrob Photography)

When it comes to songs about money, few have retained their value like the O'Jays' 1974 hit For the Love of Money. While the song initially reached No. 9 on the pop charts (and No. 3 in R&B), it has since become one of the most recycled singles ever, sampled continually by rappers, and appearing on numerous movie soundtracks.

Bass players, of course, are reverentially familiar with Anthony Jackson's landmark bassline. Unhappy with their demo, producers Gamble & Huff brought the then 20-year-old Jackson into their office for ideas; Jackson broke out his pick and phaser, and soon the entire staff was huddled around the office. Jackson’s bassline caused such a sensation that he was given a co-writing credit.

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Chris Jisi was Contributing Editor, Senior Contributing Editor, and Editor In Chief on Bass Player 1989-2018. He is the author of Brave New Bass, a compilation of interviews with bass players like Marcus Miller, Flea, Will Lee, Tony Levin, Jeff Berlin, Les Claypool and more, and The Fretless Bass, with insight from over 25 masters including Tony Levin, Marcus Miller, Gary Willis, Richard Bona, Jimmy Haslip, and Percy Jones.