Sadly, the news has broken that legendary Cream drummer Ginger Baker has passed away at the age of 80. According to his daughter Nettie her father “passed away peacefully” at a hospital in the United Kingdom.
Baker had an amazing approach to playing his instrument, as his drumming techniques were incredibly sophisticated. He is best known for his work with Cream, a band formed with Eric Clapton and Jack Bruce in 1966. Baker earned the honor of being the first drummer to ever be featured as a soloist during a concert performance was incredibly respected by his peers such as Led Zeppelin drummer John Bonham and Rush drummer Neil Peart to only name a few.
According to CNN.com, Baker grew up in Lewisham, south London, son of a bricklayer. His father was killed in World War II when Baker was only four years old. Bullied at school, he began playing drums at the age of 16, and, and was earning a living as a professional musician a year later, becoming a fixture of London’s 1950s Soho jazz scene. After just two years Cream split, due largely to the tension between Bruce and Baker, having trail-blazed musical techniques that led many to call it the first-ever heavy metal band. Baker and Clapton continued with the group Blind Faith but only for a year.
Cream was inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame in 1993. In 2006 the band received a Grammy Award for lifetime achievement. Baker was also nominated for a Grammy in 1968 as Best New Artist.
Ginger Baker’s son Kofi Baker and the pedigree of hallowed ’60s trio Cream collectively known as The Music Of Cream – Jack Bruce’s son Malcolm Bruce and Eric Clapton’s nephew Will Johns – have issued the following words on today’s passing of legendary drummer, Ginger Baker.
From Kofi Baker (drums):
“The other day I had a beautiful visit with my dad…we talked about memories and music and he’s happy that I’m keeping his legacy alive. Our relationship was mended and he was in a peaceful place. Thank you all for the kind messages and thoughts. I love my dad and will miss him always.”
From Will Johns (guitar, vocals):
“I have really fond memories of Ginger. When I was a kid, he would play games with me and was always a lot of fun when I would see him at Eric’s house. I can remember always asking Pattie, ‘where’s Ginger, where’s Ginger??’ He was cool and I loved him.”
From Malcolm Bruce (bass, vocals):
“Much love and peace to Ginger’s family and respect to him. He leaves an incredible and innovative legacy. He always explored across the boundaries of creativity, collaborating with musicians from other cultures before the term ‘world music’ was adopted by others, and had a truly musical ability and a natural sense of what was true and beautiful. Rest in peace. It has been an honour to know you!”
The members of The Music Of Cream look forward to continuing their celebration of the extraordinary music and legacy that Ginger and all of their family members created with Cream by sharing personal stories and footage of their fathers and mentors and performing songs such as “Sunshine of Your Love,” “Crossroads,” “Spoonful” and “White Room” throughout their extensive live show.