Bob Babbitt, a bass player for Motown’s studio band the Funk Brothers, died of brain cancer yesterday (July 16, 2012) in a Nashville hospital, according to his son, Joe Kreinar.
Babbitt was 74, was born on November 26, 1937.
The American bassist was most famous as a member of Motown Record’s, “The Funk Brothers” in addition to his tenure as part of MFSB for Philadelphia International Records.
Born Robert Kreinar in 1937 to Hungarian parents in Pittsburgh, Babbitt was heavily influenced by the gypsy music he heard so much in his home.
Early on, he received classical training on upright bass.
He fell in love with the sound and traded in his upright for a 1960 Fender Jazz bass guitar.
Babbitt moved to Detroit in 1961, after turning down a music scholarship, where he worked construction and played clubs.
Within a year, he joined the Royaltones and was initiated into Detroit’s blossoming studio scene, charting several records with the group and catching the attention of singer/guitarist Del Shannon, who hired them as his touring and recording band through 1965.
Babbitt’s reputation grew along with his recording schedule, and he first met some of Motown’s “Funk Brothers” staff musicians, including James Jamerson, while working at Golden World studio.
Throughout his career, Babbitt has earned 25 gold and platinum records and played on more than 200 top 40 hits.
He has been on a number of classic hits, most notably, “Signed, Sealed, Delivered I’m Yours” (by Stevie Wonder), “War” (by Edwin Starr), “The Tears of a Clown” (by Smokey Robinson & the Miracles), and many more.
One of his last appearances was in March 2011, where Babbitt appeared on “American Idol,” playing the song “You’re All I Need To Get By” behind Jacob Lusk, for the show’s Motown week.
Bob Babbitt is survived by his wife, son, and two daughters. Memorial services are in the works for Nashville and Detroit.