Who really played bass on I Want You Back by The Jackson 5?

 Michael Jackson and the Jackson brothers backstage at the Inglewood Forum, 26th August 1973
(Image credit: Photo by Michael Ochs Archives/Getty Images)

It was October 1969 that The Jackson Five made their national television debut on ABC’s Hollywood Palace. As the bass-playing older brother of Michael (seen plucking a Gibson EB-3 bass in this early clip), Jermaine Jackson mastered the group’s signature dance moves on what would be the first of four consecutive number-one-hits for Motown Records.

A standout track from their debut album, Diana Ross Presents the Jackson 5, 'I Want You Back' was written by a team of writers called The Corporation, but there’s been some debate surrounding who played bass. It’s been said that when the group signed with Motown, producer Berry Gordy wouldn't allow them to record on their own songs, with the recordings instead handled by Motown's in-house studio band and legendary bassist James Jamerson.

Forward to 02:45 to see Jermaine Jackson with his Gibson EB-3

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Nick Wells

Nick Wells was the Editor of Bass Guitar magazine from 2009 to 2011, before making strides into the world of Artist Relations with Sheldon Dingwall and Dingwall Guitars. He's also the producer of bass-centric documentaries, Walking the Changes and Beneath the Bassline, as well as Production Manager and Artist Liaison for ScottsBassLessons. In his free time, you'll find him jumping around his bedroom to Kool & The Gang while hammering the life out of his P-Bass.