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Bob Babbitt: 1937 - 2012
Bass guitarist Bob Babbitt (born Robert Kreinar), who has died of brain cancer aged 74, was one of the last surviving members of the Funk Brothers.
The Funk Brothers were made-up of a dozen or so session musicians who created hundreds of tracks for Tamla Motown in the 1960s and early 70s. His playing can be heard on more than 200 American Top 40 hit recordings by Stevie Wonder, Marvin Gaye, the Temptations, Diana Ross and many others.
In 1967 he played his first Motown sessions, for Stevie Wonder. The increased volume of work at Motown led to Babbitt becoming one of the first white instrumentalists to join the Funk Brothers.
The Funk Brothers era came to an abrupt end in 1972 when Motown's founder, Berry Gordy, decided to move the company's base to Los Angeles. Few of the musicians opted to follow Gordy and Babbitt moved on to find session work in New York with Gladys Knight, Frank Sinatra and Bette Midler, and in Philadelphia, where he worked with the producer Thom Bell on hits by the Spinners. In 1986 he settled in Nashville, from where he toured with Brenda Lee, Robert Palmer and Joan Baez.
In 2004 Babbitt was given a Grammy lifetime achievement award. Funk Brothers continued to be in demand for recording sessions, with Babbitt playing on albums by Elton John and Phil Collins, among others.
He is survived by his wife, Ann, two daughters and a son.
Bob Babbitt (Robert Kreinar), guitarist, born 26 November 1937; died 16 July 2012.
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