Bob Babbitt
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DETROIT (AP) - Prominent Motown studio musician and Funk Brothers member Bob Babbitt, whose bass playing pounded through the Temptations hit "Ball of Confusion" and Marvin Gaye's "Mercy Mercy Me (The Ecology)," has died. He was 74.

Babbitt died Monday of complications from brain cancer in Nashville, Tennessee, where he had lived for many years, his manager David Spero said in a statement released by Universal Music, the label in which Babbitt contributed to numerous hit records.

Well-known for decades among musicians, Babbitt laid down bass lines on Stevie Wonder's "Signed, Sealed, Delivered," along with "The Tears of a Clown" by Smokey Robinson and the Miracles, "Inner City Blues" by Gaye, and Edwin Starr's "War."

"Bob was a teddy bear of a guy," former Motown engineer Ed Wolfrum told the Detroit Free Press. "And he was an extraordinary musician - a player's player."

After leaving Motown, he recorded with Bette Midler, Jim Croce, Bonn ie Raitt and Frank Sinatra.

In all, he played on more than 200 top 40 hits, including "Midnight Train to Georgia," by Gladys Knight and the Pips and "Ready to Take a Chance Again" by Barry Manilow.

Babbitt gained wider public recognition through the 2002 film about the Funk Brothers, "Standing in the Shadows of Motown."

"He was one of the last of the breed of journeymen bass players who were total pros, could go in and crank out a hit, go to the next session and crank out another one," Allan Slutsky, the film's writer and producer, told The Detroit News.

Babbitt was born Robert Kreinar on Nov. 26, 1937, in Pittsburgh. He got his first music work freelancing around Detroit in the mid-1960s and joined Stevie Wonder's touring band in 1966. The next year he became part of Motown's house band, known as the Funk Brothers.

Babbitt had lived in Nashville for 26 years but he told The Tennessean in 2003 that he toured so much that he got little work as a s ession player in the city's recording studios. "I couldn't get producers on the phone," he said.

Babbitt is survived by his wife, Ann Kreinar, and their children, Carolyn, Joseph and Karen.

Copyright © 2012 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.
Published in The Columbian on Jul. 16, 2012.
Memories & Condolences
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106 entries
September 24, 2018
the beat in my heart through years and still ..
what a gift God gave us
blessings to the family.
michael morrison
October 21, 2017
I started playing bass because of you - Thanks
Tim Barth
February 22, 2017
The Funk Brothers were an integral wheel in the success of the Moson Legacy. Thank you for sharing in the making of some of the most beautiful unforgettable music!
Nazarene Mckinney
October 5, 2016
A great musician who played on alot of MOTOWN hits being a member of the famous "FUNK BROTHERS" , all his talent will be greatly missed.....RIP
Valenda Newell
April 28, 2016
Babb! You took me under your wing. Never dreamed I'd be friends, and have the great honor of writing and recording with you. I miss you and Anne. Miss you friend. Looking forward to playing music with you and Scattie in Heaven.
December 30, 2015
I'm just one of your many, many fans. Oh how I wish to have known you in person, your music inspired me to take up Bass. May God open his arms wide for you!!!!
April 3, 2015
i never knew Bob or any of the Funk Brothers, but my ears LOVED their music. I am just finding out about Bob's death so I'm sorry this is soo late. Loved Standing In The Shadows, and was glad someone finally brought forth to the light , THE GREATEST BAND hands down. as someone who lost all their family members, except one to Cancer, i understnd how difficult it must have been for your family to watch. wish i could give you back to them, but only if you were healthy and happy. as someone who can't play either instrument Drummers Up Front and Crank Up The Bass. Thanks again Bob wish i could have set between the Bass players and the drummers at a session. would have been in heaven. God Bless
October 8, 2014
Thank you for so much great great great Bass playing Bob.
September 12, 2014
I am so sad to hear of bob's death, I almost feel like I know him because I have been trying to play sign, sealed, delivered on my bass, but it has been so hard that I only have the intro down so far, but I won't give up never until I get it right. His name has been mentioned so much in my house this week that I feel like I am connecting with him through just trying to play this song. My dad has been a professional bass player for 50 years now and has been teaching me, but I wish someone would give me the song in a better format because I just have to play this song. Dad has spoiled me by given me music like I want you back and the love you save which thankfully I can play but I want this so bad and am having some trouble with the tabs. Hopefully will understand it soon because I will not play another song till I get it. It breaks my heart to hear of his death and makes me sad and I don't even know him. I was shocked when me and my dad had a lesson tonight and we both accidently learned of his death tonight after talking about him so much this week and for that; I WILL learn this song. My condolences to bob's friends and family, I am so sorry to read this tonight, and at the same time shocked too because like I said been talking about mr bob babbitt all week. Again so sorry to his wife and family.
Jeanie Cornelius
December 20, 2013
From the first time I heard Bob play I became a fan and shall always remain one. RIP Bob.
Jim Walls Sr.
July 5, 2013
Not only a great bass player but a wonderful warm human being, having watched the unmissable "Standing in the Shadows of Motown documentary. Much love and respect to those of the Funk Brothers who remain and those that have passed on. Legends all
kevin keatings
June 30, 2013
I will remember you and all the Funk brothers each time I listen to the beautiful music you helped to define with incomparable skill. Motown music was so lovely and captivating. I am your fan always You will never be forgotten. May your family find peace in Jesus Christ.
Nazarene Mckinney
March 22, 2013
Heartfelt condolences to the family from a devoted fan of both Bob and the Funk Brothers. Not only has the world lost a truly distinctive musician but also a marvelous contribution to mankind. Thank you to the family for so generously sharing him with the world.
Susan Yost-Smith
February 11, 2013
Without a doubt, one of the more distinctive sounds in music history along with James Jamerson. Your human presence, generosity and Bass sound will truly be missed. May you Rest in Peace! Charles Elizalde, W.Covina, California
February 10, 2013
RIP to a great musician.
Pearl Williams
January 26, 2013
From a fan in England, thank you for your music. Sadly for us, not many of the amazing Funk Brothers left on earth but I know they will be having an amazing time in heaven!!
Ele Sutton
November 28, 2012
WOW...I'm deeply sadden by this lost, I'm 57, and was brought up listening to the Motown sound. This was an era where music was music, and I was and will always be
a huge Funk Brothers Fan. Rest in Peace Babbit with your fellow FB members. Dusenburg
Dusenburg Goodwin
August 26, 2012
Sharing some good times with bob and Uriel Jones in Calgary
The world has lost one of the grestest bass players to grace this earth - our heartfelt prayers to Anne and his family. Bob was a genuine person who always gave of himself - he will be truly missed.
Gary Martin
August 26, 2012
You will be dearly missed by many, especially your son, Joe. He thinks the world of you. One word of encouragement from you will get him to the sky! No doubt, he will see you again in heaven, one day. That would bring him the brightest smile. RIP, Bob! You are loved!
July 30, 2012
RIP, your family will forever grieve your passing. Although we never met, your daughter thought the world of you and you raised a great lady.
July 29, 2012
Dad at BB King's NYC
Cookie Kreinar
July 29, 2012
My deepest symapthy for the family. I first learned of Mr. Babbit when he played with the Funk Brothers.

He'll be dearly missed by the music world.
Steve Russo
July 26, 2012
You will be missed dear Bob. Thank you for coming on my session and helping make things come true for me...
Carl Dixon
July 25, 2012
My deepest sympathy for your loss.May the God of all comfort grant you peace during this difficult time.Romans15:13
July 24, 2012
Thank God for the wonderful man Bob was,He will never be forgotten.
My love to all family and friends God Bless.
Carlos Randall
July 24, 2012
sheri pedigo sending my prayers and thoughts to the family...
where can someone send cards too.. from los angeles..
July 23, 2012
What a treasure of a man. Kind and talented. I thank Alan S. for creating Standing in the Shadow of Motown. I never would have heard of Mr. Babbit or the Funk Brothers and I lived 2 miles from Motown Studios! Thank you for the gift of your music. My condolences to Mr. Babbit's family.
Janet H
July 22, 2012
A legend a giant in the entertainment world has been promoted from temporary into eternal. May his soul rest in peace.
c gary
July 21, 2012
So very sorry for your loss! I am really of the reasons I play bass is gone! God needed the best...Bless you all Thanks Bob for Everything R.I.P.
Paul Weiss
July 21, 2012
So sorry for you loss. I did not know Bob but had the pleasure of meeting Joe while he watched over his father at Hospice. May your family be at peace and take comfort that he is no longer suffering.
July 20, 2012
Dear Bob,
Thank you for sharing your musical talent with us. You and the hundreds of hits that you and your Funk Brothers created, provided a songtrack for generations will never be forgotten. God Bless You.
Art Stevens
July 20, 2012
I got to meet Bob and his wife Ann during my days in Nashville. He never spoke of his fame for the longest time and only when we were having dinner one night that Midnight Train to Georgia came on and I commented on the great bass line that Ann told me who Bob was. A very humble good man who I will miss. Ann I love you and look forward to having dinner with you again soon! A veggie patch pizza and a french onion soup are always on the menu!
Phillip Moulton
July 20, 2012
I got to know Bob pretty well , along with Bjorn. He was a Great Bass player....and a Great guy. My deepest regrets to his family! I will miss him, along with many others who knew him! R I P 'BOB'
Gordy Collins
July 19, 2012
was bless to bring bob back home to pgh for a salute to motown what a great guy love to talk to him on the few phone over the last few years
donald patterson
July 19, 2012
I was so humbled by meeting Bob on several occasions and talking with him about Pittsburgh and the music he helped to create. My condolences go out to his wife and family.

Kevin Amos (son of Howard and Clarice Amos and grandson of Elder Walter Amos and Sallie Amos, Franklin TN)
Kevin Amos
July 19, 2012
Remembering a great talent and a loving soul. I didn't know him personally but his devotion to and love for his brothers in music made an impression on me. As an ardent Bob Babbitt fan, I have been warmed by every interview and clip I watched over the years. Thank you, sir, for your contributions to the world of music and to the world in general. Every artist could learn from this man who stepped in behind James Jamerson without apology and brilliantly made his own mark. God bless his family.
July 18, 2012
July 18, 2012
I was sad when I read of Bob's death in this morning's LA Times. I got my dvd out and watched, again, Standing in the Shadows of Motown. He is so prominent in the movie with that great part at the end that featured him. My condolences to his family. Rest in were special.
Gene Doms
July 18, 2012
Watched the tape of the Funk Brothers last night. Bob is no longer standing in the shadows...he's playing bass in the big band with James and the others who have passed on. Rest in peace.
Richard Isaacs
July 18, 2012
It was my great pleasure to play with Bob back in the 80's in Nashville for a couple of years. I like to think that every time I play, a little bit of him is coming out of my horn. Went to see his Star yesterday...
Play sweet in Heaven, big guy!
Ed Bouillet
July 18, 2012
I grew up with his songs. God rest his soul and my condolences to Karen, Dan and the rest of the family
Cheryl Notzelman-Smith
July 17, 2012
he was a music legend! he was playing bass for someeone on american idol this season or last season
amelia mccaig
July 17, 2012
My sympathy to the family. I did not known him personally but know of his work. Laura is my cousin, and through her heart I've come to know him a little. The mark he left on the world will become apparent over the next couple of weeks. I hope you feel the comfort the world is sending you.
Frances Johnston
July 17, 2012
I've heard about you since I was a young girl because Toad thought you were the best. I totally agree! Your music has brought me so much joy and you will be in my heart forever. I pray that God will bless those who loved you. Boy, I can just imagine what it's like in heaven now, with you and Toad on bass and Etta James and Ray Charles singing!!!
Judih O'Malley
July 17, 2012
Ann, I am grieving today. I wasn't aware that Babb was ill. You know that He was my greatest mentor and friend along with the tremendous blessing of recording music with him! My solace is knowing we will all be together with Jesus, and that Bob is with him now. Robert and I are praying for the peace of the Holy Spirit for you and your family. . I love you both and will miss him
Kari Norlin-Barron
July 17, 2012
May God bless you and your family in this time of sorrow.
July 17, 2012
July 17, 2012
He was a great inspiration to many players and wish I could of worked with him whle at Motown... maybe another time in another galaxy RIP
RG Ingersoll
July 17, 2012
Joseph Billingslea
July 17, 2012
Words can't adequately express the gratitude I hold in my heart for you Bob.Thank you for the tremendous contribution that you and your other Funk Brothers made to the entire landscape of music. Rest in peace my brother...job well done!
Darryl Keitt
July 17, 2012
I met Bob several years back when he recorded on my ex's CD in Franklin, he was a very nice man and enjoyed takling to him and watching him play the bass!
Joyce Williams
July 17, 2012
He was a great player and gentleman. Made me feel very comfortable when he recorded with me in Nashville. Groove master. Wish I could have spent more time getting to know him. RIP Bob. Condolences to the family.
Elizabeth Rose
July 17, 2012
My prayers are for Bob, and his family . I know he's at peace now , and with a smile , getting ready to jam .
Mckinley Jackson
July 17, 2012
I pray the family's strength in the Lord.
Ric Evans
July 17, 2012
All of us here in the Detroit area are saddened by the loss of another "Funk Brother".
When I read the list of hits that featured Bob's playing, I was FLOORED.
I hope that his inspiration and influence will be eternal.
I pray that his family will find comfort and strength in God's love at this grievous time.
Now, he has UNLIMITED studio time.
The bass section in Heaven's band just got a lot funkier.
Bob Adams, Jr.
July 17, 2012
July 17, 2012
May you have eternal peace Bob. And your family receive the support and blessings that they need to pull through these times. God Bless your legacy always! Deborah A. Culp * Journalist & Consultant
Deborah Culp*Journalist
July 17, 2012
July 17, 2012
The House of Hits is sad today--because another family member had to go away. to the Motown Family, the Funk Brothers, The Babbitt Family and Fans everywhere--my prayers and condolences are with you..that god will comfort you at this time. Bob thatnk you! Thank you for keeping my feet dancing, my fingers snapping and my toes tapping! You will be missed....
Patricia (Sweet Pea) Washington
July 17, 2012
Rest peacefully Bob. Your contribution to the music of my life time is gratefully acknowledged.
Steve Kirk
July 17, 2012
My deepest sympathy to Bob's family at this difficult time.
July 17, 2012
A true "blue eyed soul brother"...Rest In Peace...

Vickie C. Columbus OH
July 17, 2012
Blessings and peace to you all...
Ronn Matlock
July 17, 2012
Ann, our thoughts and prayers are with you and your family. Bob will be greatly missed. He will always be remembered through his music. Bob, thanks for giving music a heart beat. All our love. From the family of Jimmy Staton.
Angela Staton-Dixon
July 17, 2012
With deepest sympathy to the Babbitt family during your time of grief...Psalm 46:1...God is for us a refuge and strength, A help that is readily to be found during difficult times...May God provide you with peace and comfort to endure the days ahead.
July 17, 2012
July 17, 2012
God bless you and your family ~ R.I.P.
July 17, 2012
My most sincere sympathy to Bob's family. In addition to being a great musician, he was a friend and mentor to many, including my son Terry. Rest in peace.
Terry Grant
July 17, 2012
This is truly a sad year for bass players all over the world...Dick Kniss, Duck Dunn and now Bob Babbitt. Bob, your high energy, inventive playing continues to inspire me, as I listen note-for-note to work you recorded. As all genius, you will live on in my fingers and those of thousands of other players whom you touched. God rest you.
Paul "PJ" Jackson
July 17, 2012
Thanks Bob,
For all the pleasures and memories you gave the world through your music. You will always be one of the Funkiest Funk Brothers par excellence!!! I am so glad your music and the Funk Brothers documentary will still be with us.
My heartfelt sympathy to the family...
Wuane Johnstone
July 17, 2012
To Bob family: if it were not for the docomentry "standing in the shadows of Motown" I would not been educated the men behind all those hits which I watch all the time so grateful it was produced.God bless Bob and his family during this sad time you will be truly missed glad you finally received your dues!
deidre McDonald
July 17, 2012
May your hearts soon be filled with wonderful memories of joyful times together as you celebrate a life well lived.
Adrian Barnette
July 17, 2012
Bobbie was a brother. He'll be sadly missed. RIP B!
July 17, 2012
To the Family of the great Bob Babbitt,
I'am so sorry to hear of Bob's passing.Wow what a life he had to be part of the Funk Bros. and play the best music ever Motown.When they all played you felt it.I listen to their dvd all the time and thank all of them for such pure soul. Makes you feel good.May happier memories of Bob get you through these hard times. A true fan of the Funk Bros. Carol
July 17, 2012
My heartfelt sympathy to Bob's wife, Ann & his adult children, Candy, Cookie & Joe. May GOD be with you in your time of sorrow. May you feel GOD's peace.
Jean Woerner
July 17, 2012
Dear Ann and family, we are truly sorry for your loss of Bob. We always enjoyed the times that we shared with you and Bob. All our love, Rich and Sharon Kole.
Rich Kole
July 17, 2012
A true legend!
Russell Martin
July 17, 2012
So very sorry to hear about Bob.I have enjoyed his music all my life,i watch the movie(motown)all the time.Wow what a jam session the angels are having.RIP.May the Love and Prayers from the fans give you peace.
Tammy lewis
July 17, 2012
Thanks for your wonderful music, so memorable and great.
July 17, 2012
While many of the artist who made Motown a once in a lifetime "thrill to the bone" have died, the musical treasures they left will never be forgotton. Thank you Bob Babbitt for being a part of the greatest music ever made.........MOTOWN. Jan Keen
Jan Keen
July 17, 2012
Joanne Chesney
July 17, 2012
Bob was very instrumental in the Funk Bros. success,tunes that will live-on forever. My Condolences to Family & Friends.
Skeeter Evans
July 17, 2012
To the family of BOB BABBITT I send my heartfelt condolences in the death of your dear family member. During these difficult times I hope you draw confort from the GOD of comfort.ISAIAH 61.1,2.

Ms Carruth
July 17, 2012
I saw you in Philly and Orlando while traveling with the Funk Brothers .
I truly enjoyed your music !!!
Rest in Peace :)
Greg Phillips
July 17, 2012
The bass world will never be the same!! The last of the original Motown bass sound has gone on!! To the Babbitt and Kreinar family, God blessed you all and gave you all a true musical treasure!! We love you and we're praying for you. R.I.P., Uncle Bob, we'll always remember the "Snake Pit!!" God Bless, DCGroovz!!!
Darius Clemons
July 17, 2012
If during your lifetime you make one person happy,life's been worth living. Bob brought happiness to millions of people all over the world through his wonderful talent.
Love, Peace & Happiness
Thank You Bob for bringing happiness into my life.
July 16, 2012
From the "Live in Orlando Concert" 12-31-2005
Mark Steinberg
July 16, 2012
Please play for my loves in heaven Mr.Babbitt...let the sweet music go on and on forever and ever.....
July 16, 2012
You were on one the greatest and you will surely be missed. Rest in peace, B
Mike Tuggle
July 16, 2012
RIP! Mr. Kreiner. We always talked about Pittsburgh when he came to the office. Such a sweet and pleasant man. You will be missed. Sending blessings to his family. I knew him when I lived in Nashville,
Jackie Parker
July 16, 2012
I”ve enjoyed your bass playing for many years.
RIP my brother, you will live on through your fantastic music!
Robert Thomas
July 16, 2012
Babbitt,you were like the big brother I never had,a lifelong true soul brother of the highest order.
I will always cherish our friendship and camaraderie and your huge contribution to the world of music,especially in Detroit and in Philadelphia..
I still laugh when I think of you and Andrew speaking"Motownese"
You will be truly missed my friend

Bobby Eli
Bobby Eli
July 16, 2012
God has called you home. Play the sweet melodies of heaven.... May God give the family peace during these times of sorrow. The Funk Brothers will live on through their music....Uriel on drums, Bob on bass
Leslie Coleman
July 16, 2012
Rest in Peace Bob, Our condolences to the Babbitt family, our prayers are with you
Jimmie & Stephanie Williams
July 16, 2012
Alice Guckian Queen
July 16, 2012
Words cannot express how much you will be missed. Rest In Peace and be assured that your fellow Funk Brothers who are left will miss you and the others that went ahead of you, will be so happy to greet you
Vonnie Eli
July 16, 2012
Rest in Peace, Bob.
Condolences to the Babbitt family.
God Bless,
Jimmy & Jeanie Scott
July 16, 2012
Thanks for u'r contribution to the Funk Bros. music.
Melva Collins
July 16, 2012
Man, Rest in Peace? Heaven just got another bass player to fill in for the "Duck" will be missed...There is one hell of a band somewhere up on.
ken prichard
July 16, 2012
So long compassionate and caring and deeply talented musician man! You always greeted us with a smile and kind words; a warm hug and a tender heart. Thank you for being so down to earth and real. Your music was like love dancing on the strings. We'll never forget you.
Jonathan Kasper
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