Jackson 5 and Bach were funky way before Bruno Mars’ Uptown Funk! – “I Want You Bach” -ThePianoGuys

Jackson 5 and Bach were funky way before Bruno Mars’ Uptown Funk! – “I Want You Bach” -ThePianoGuys

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We owe a monumental debt of gratitude and a HEAVY shout out to Hale Centre Theatre for providing the set, the elaborate costumes, the harpsichord, the descending piano/cello cage and, most of all, the friendliest professional team of stage people in the business! If you are ever in Utah, you HAVE to see a production there: http://www.hct.org .THANK YOU, AMAZING HALE PEOPLE!

Story behind the song

What if the harpsichord from the 1770s hit headlong into the talk box from 1970s? What if J.S. Bach and Jackson 5 met up and just jammed? Would they jive? Can you dig it? These are the kind of far out questions we asked ourselves as we laid down these licks and cut this film. We decided to put together a gig with two wigs in dandy attire and two hep-cats in some funkadelic threads to see if it would fly. (Incidentally, Steve’s 1770/1970 alter egos are “Sir Reginald von Sharp” and “Scooby” while Jon’s are “Duke Johann van Keymeister” and “Phil.”)

Presenting… “I Want You Bach” – Jackson 5’s funky “I Want You Back” mashed-up with 5 illustrious themes written by J.S. Bach. (See if you can catch them all – winner gets a free disco ball…which will be faxed to you).

All the sounds you hear were created by the instruments shown – including the words “I Want You Back/Bach” simulated by a “talk box” (popularly used in the 1970’s, but never with a cello!) Here’s how it works: Steve plays cello notes through a micro speaker built into a foot pedal, the sound then travels through a tube and into his mouth where he shapes the notes into actual words. (Google “talk box” to learn more – it’s pretty groovy.) To our knowledge the likes of electric cello, grand piano, harpsichord, Baroque cello, talk box, and kick drum have never gigged together. Until now. It’s totally the battle of the 70’s – the 1770s and the 1970s…can you dig?

Phil is tickling the ivories of a custom-built hybrid grand piano, while Scooby shreds on a custom 5-stringed electric cello complete with a sidecar kick drum. Conversely, Sir Reginald is playing a circa-1700-replica Baroque cello (no “why don’t you fix it?” jokes, please), and Duke Johann is playing an actual harpsichord that was built and designed by Hale Centre Theatre. In fact, nearly everything you see in this video was provided by Hale Centre Theatre – from the sinking Piano/Cello platform down to the disco duds of Scooby and Phil opposite the Scarlett Pimpernel robes arrayed upon Johann and Sir Reggie.

We filmed this using 4K resolution (a huge step up from 1080p and quickly becoming the new “high def”), allowing for more freedom and flexibility to zoom in and out of static shots (which helped us create the illusion that two different versions of Jon and Steve were jamming together.)

Let us know what you think in the comments below! If you liked it – don’t forget to flog the “thumbs up!”

And if you’ve read this far into the description you’re invited to either an evening of highbrow hobnobbing with Sir Reginald von Sharp and his entourage or a night of sick roller-skating with Phil and his dancing mustache. Please choose a 1770s/1970s alter ego name.


“I Want You Back” as performed by Michael Jackson and Jackson 5, written by The Corporation
Arrangement written and produced by Al van der Beek, Jon Schmidt & Steven Sharp Nelson
Also inspired by the following Johann Sebastian Bach pieces: Brandenburg Concertos No. 3 & 5, Two Part Invention No. 8, Minuet in G, Bourrée, and Gavotte from the French Suite No. 5
Performed by
Jon Schmidt: Piano & harpsichord
Steven Sharp Nelson: Baroque cello, electric cello, talk box, cello percussion, percussion, & vocal textures
Al van der Beek: Vocal textures & percussion
Recorded, mixed, & mastered by Al van der Beek at TPG Studios, Utah
Video filmed & produced by Paul Anderson & Shaye Scott
Edited by Shaye Scott

Hale Center Theatre Crew:

Theatre Producers – Mark & Sally Dietlein
Scenic Designer – Kacey Udy
Props Mistress & Set Dresser – Michelle Jensen
Props Assistant – Jennifer Taylor
Production Assistant – Jamie Sanduk
Stage Manager – Jimmy Smolka
Lighting Designer & Body Double – Adam Flitton
Costume Designer – Brooke Wilkins
Wig & Make Up Designer – Krissa Lent & Trisha Ison
Costumer – Peggy Willis
Sound Engineer – Shane Steel
Carpenter & Body Double – Ryan White
Carpenters & Engineers – Rob Kinmont, Kelby Merton, & Brian Loth

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20 Responses

  1. CollabMusic says:

    That moment when you love the PianoGuys but know that J.S. Bach was WAY
    dead by 1770…

  2. Kurtsiecolferite S says:

    That was BRILLIANT! So creative and interesting! Loved it! 😀 

  3. Ian Cowling says:

    NEW VIDEO!! Michael Jackson isn’t dead?? Neither is Bach!

  4. Esmieu-Fournel Maixent says:

    Whaou such talents, it was risky, and you played it really great! How did
    this mash’up could have sounded so good without your funky picked play on
    the cello!! 

  5. FliptopTwister says:

    You guys probably already know this but Bach died 20 years before the

  6. Zaarin1 says:

    Please bring the harpsichord back more awesome! Maybe next time without the
    70s funk? ;)

  7. maxsmodels says:


  8. Fernando Rato says:

    J.S. Bach jams with the Jackson 5.

  9. Darin Humble says:

    Mr. Bean? is that you?

  10. ANTHONY Fosu says:

    Double left click the video without moving the mouse and select loop. ;D

  11. Mixonne says:

    Groovy! :p

  12. Federico Caputo says:

    jajaja que buena mezcla

  13. Christopher Kimson says:

    I spent at least half an hour looking through the comments, and guess what?
    NO HATE COMMENTS!!! At least so far. xD

  14. mohd Zakaria says:

    J.S. Bach jams with the Jackson 5.

  15. Deb M says:

    That was awesome. I love your creativity and the expressions on your faces.

  16. Yizhen Hou says:

    This was hilarious, great use of green screen effects as always!

  17. Emily Hurt says:

    Awesome video, guys! I love the wigs ;)

  18. flintsteel7 says:

    As always, a stellar performance from the Piano Guys! Nice to see you
    release another vid.

  19. Mark Fowler says:

    Brandenburg Concerto No.3 – 1:19
    Invention No.8 In F – 2:04
    Minuet in G (Anna Magdalena) – 2:19

    That’s the Bach pieces I recognised after listening to it

    This video is amazing, thanks for sharing.

  20. KyleGuy says:

    Overall I think this video is ok. You have created much much better in the
    past. I hated how you added the harpsichord. I just don’t like the sound of
    it. Other than that, the music was pretty good. Your videos were much
    better when you filmed in outdoor locations. This and Ants Marching, which
    were both filmed in a man-made location makes the video seem fake and
    staged. Filming outside looks more natural and just better overall. Also,
    will you be making videos for songs in Wonders that don’t already have a

    P.S I liked the thing at the very end with Jon and Steve :)