Renowned bass player Bob Babbitt died yesterday, July 16, in Nashville. His session work can be heard on countless classic recordings, including many as a member of revered group the Funk Brothers. He was 74 and had been battling brain cancer.
He was born Robert Kreinar in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, and went on to become a member of the Motown Records studio band the Funk Brothers from 1966-1972. During this time Babbitt’s bass licks contributed to seminal hits “My Girl,” “I Heard It Through the Grapevine,” “Papa Was A Rollin’ Stone,” and “Ain’t No Mountain High Enough.”
During his career Babbitt played on over 100 million recordings, including the landmark songs “Signed, Sealed, Delivered I’m Yours” by Stevie Wonder, “Mercy Mercy Me” and “Inner City Blues” by Marvin Gaye, and “Midnight Train to Georgia” by Gladys Knight and the Pips.
Babbitt moved to Nashville in the mid 80s and continued working here and elsewhere.
When The Funk Brothers were inducted into the Musicians Hall of Fame in 2007, Musicians Hall Pres. Joe Chambers stated, “The records that Bob played on have not only become hit records; they have become their own genre. Much like the music of the A Team became known as the Nashville Sound, the music of the Funk Brothers became the sound of Motown. There are very few musicians whose music has impacted so many generations with no signs of slowing down. Bob Babbitt and the Funk Brothers have done just that.”
Babbitt was honored with a star on the Music City Walk of Fame on June 5, 2012.