Although Cee Lo Green’s subsequent singles from The Ladykiller failed to match the commercial success of his debut release, ‘Forget You’ (and the more explicitly titled version of the song) was something of a chart smash, making the top 10 in no less than thirteen countries. Co-written by Bruno Mars, ‘Forget You’ brought a dash of Motown and 60s soul to the charts of 2010 with plenty of hooks and brimming with live instrumentation.
Although the recording begins with the bass line played by keyboard and synth for the first 12 bars I’ve included the part on the chart from the beginning – chances are you’ll be required to be in from the start if you’re playing this live. The main riff is built on the classic Motown/soul cliché of using the 5th and 6th leading to the root note on a major chord – this motif then gets adapted to fit with each successive chord in the progression, forming the main hook of the song.
Bass-wise, things really kick off in the middle 8, with session bassist extraordinaire Pino Palladino (his other credits include pretty much everyone, ever) reminding us why he gets hired again and again. Pino brings a hefty dose of retro soul-inspired magic over a standard iii – vi – ii – V chord progression, with bars 1 and 4 sounding very much like James Jamerson on The Four Tops’ ‘Bernadette’. The mega lick in bar 7 is an almost note-for-note reproduction of a fill in Frankie Valli’s ‘December ’63 (Oh What A Night)’ – more on where Pino stole his licks from here and here. The fill in bar 11 is one of my personal favourites, with a definite Anthony Jackson flavour to it.