Ginger Baker, Cream Drummer, Has died at 80

Carla Harmon
October 7, 2019

Steve Winwood paid tribute to his late former bandmate Ginger Baker, who died on October 6 at 80.

One of the greatest drummers in the history of rock music, Ginger Baker, has died at the age of 80. His death was confirmed in a note shared on his social media feeds.

Baker, who was born August 19, 1939 in southeast London, earned the admiration of his colleagues; Cream collaborator Eric Clapton described him as a "fully formed musician".

But every beat seemed to mirror an offstage eruption - whether his violent dislike of Cream bandmate Jack Bruce or his on-camera assault of a documentary maker, Jay Bulger, whom he smashed in the nose with his walking stick. The group released two albums and underwent a number of lineup changes between late-1969 and 1970.

Baker and Clapton followed the breakup of Cream by forming Blind Faith with bassist Ric Grech and multi-instrumentalist Steve Winwood. Here's his photo of Ginger Baker, on the Staples stage.

The family had announced last month that the London-born drummer was critically ill in hospital, adding that he was "holding his own". "Dad passed away peacefully", Ginger's daughter Nettie Baker told CNN in a statement.

"Great drummer, wild and lovely guy", Mr McCartney wrote on Twitter on Sunday. "Thank you to everyone for your kind words over the past weeks", his family tweeted.

Baker famously founded blues rock band Cream with Eric Clapton and Back Bruce back in the 1960s. Their 1966 debut album Fresh Cream included a lengthy drum solo from Baker on the song "Toad", which helped establish the band as versatile, with each member taking turns singing lead vocals.

Baker went on to work with Nigerian Afrobeat pioneer Fela Kuti and joined English rock band Hawkwind for a period in the 1980s.

See more tributes to Baker and his legacy below. Twelve years later, they played their first full reunion shows at New York's Madison Square Garden and the London's Royal Albert Hall.

His demise leaves Eric Clapton because the one real surviving member of the band, Jack Bruce having handed away in 2014. "One of the musicians turned round and said, 'Bloody hell, we've got a drummer", and I thought, 'Bloody hell, I'm a drummer'".

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