Bass player Bob Babbitt, best known for his tenure with The Funk Brothers and later MFSB, died yesterday of brain cancer. He was 74.
If you like 1960s rock then chances are he probably played on your favorite songs especially Motown where The Funk Brothers were the Detroit based record label’s house band. Babbitt can be heard on bass on songs like Stevie Wonder’s “Signed, Sealed & Delivered”, “Tears of a Clown” by Smokey Robinson & The Miracles and The Temptations’ “Just My Imagination”.
After leaving Motown in the early 1970s, Babbitt continued to be in demand as a session musician playing on such classic rock staples as “I Got a Name” by Jim Croce, “Midnight Train to Georgia” by Gladys Knight & The Pips and The Spinners’ “Rubberband Man”.
Babbitt’s bass playing was the standard by which other bass players were judged. Fellow bass player Ralphe Armstrong (no slouch himself) said that if a bass player wanted to get a gig in Detroit then he had to be able to play Babbitt’s part in Dennis Coffey’s “Scorpio”. A high standard indeed.