"Bob Babbitt, a bass player for Motown's studio band the Funk Brothers, died Monday morning in a Nashville hospice, according to his son, Joe Kreinar. Babbitt was 74.
The veteran musician, born Robert Kreinar in Pittsburgh, had been battling brain cancer for some time.
"He was a tough man — strong," said his son, Joe. "He could take pain. Right now I miss him deeply, and it's only been a few hours."
Although Babbitt's musicianship was always known to other players, his fame spread to a broader audience after the release of the 2002 film about the Funk Brothers, "Standing in the Shadows of Motown."
Babbitt's bass solo on "Scorpio," the 1971 international smash by Dennis Coffey and the Detroit Guitar Band, propels the song along so memorably, that, as Detroit bass player Ralphe Armstrong once said, every bass player in Detroit had to be able to play it or they couldn't get a gig.
"His bass solo on 'Scorpio' has not been equaled, when you get right down to it," Coffey said. "That set the bar pretty high for bass players."
It was Babbitt's bass providing the funky bottom on Stevie Wonder's "Signed, Sealed, Delivered," the Temptations' "Ball of Confusion," "Inner City Blues" by Marvin Gaye, among many others.