Fender Hall of Fame to Induct Jamerson, Yamano
Jamerson (above) and Yamano (below).
At its annual Hall of Fame ceremony on Aug. 7, 2009, Fender will induct legendary Motown bassist James Jamerson and former Yamano Music Co. Ltd. CEO Masamitsu “Mike” Yamano.
In very different ways, both are towering figures in Fender history.
Jamerson (1936-1983) transformed the role of electric bass in popular music. He was the top session bassist for Detroit’s Motown Records from the late 1950s to the early 1970s, and his impeccable and infectious bass guitar work underpinned more hit records than that of perhaps any other bassist in history. His influence on bassists of all eras and styles is incalculable, and he is universally regarded as one of the instrument’s finest players.
His unerring musical instincts—brought to life on a 1962 Fender Precision Bass® guitar—were called upon time and again for what would prove to be timelessly enduring classics by the Miracles, the Temptations, Marvin Gaye, Stevie Wonder, Martha and the Vandellas, the Four Tops, the Supremes and many other artists. Although he received little public recognition or credit during his lifetime for his towering contribution to popular music, the countless hits fueled by Jamerson’s propulsive and musically adventurous bass work remain beloved by millions worldwide as each generation discovers and rediscovers the magic of Motown’s 1960s golden age.
Yamano played a major role in rescuing Fender in the mid-1980s, when the company was struggling for its very existence. In 1985, as president of Tokyo-based musical instrument distributor and retailer Yamano Music Co. Ltd., he provided crucial early support to Fender’s re-emergence. As a major investor, board member and close friend, he extended an invaluable helping hand as Bill Schultz led a small group of investors in acquiring and rebuilding Fender after years of decline under CBS.
That year and soon thereafter, Yamano’s financial generosity, expert guidance and longstanding friendship literally helped save Fender. He was instrumental in the creation and administration of highly successful joint venture Fender Japan, a key element in the emergence of the modern Fender corporation.
The music company bearing the Yamano family name was founded in Japan in 1892, and has represented Fender there since 1963. Masamitsu Yamano, born in Tokyo in 1934, joined in 1960 and later served as its third president, thus working for Yamano Music during Fender’s original heyday and presiding over it during Fender’s modern-era resurgence.