Rock royalty has paid tribute to legendary drummer Ginger Baker, who had a “heart of gold” beneath his abrasive exterior.
Peter “Ginger” Baker forged a fearsome reputation for his innovations and virtuosity behind the kit, and his confrontational personality off stage.
Following his death, the music world has paid tribute to his talent, and his gentler side.
His daughter confirmed he died peacefully today at the age of 80 after being hospitalised for a critical illness last month.
Former bandmate in the short-lived supergroup Blind Faith Steve Winwood has released a statement on his death.
It reads: “A very sad loss, and my condolences to his family and friends.
“A loss also for his contribution to music. He was well-grounded in jazz from very early on, and later managed to combine this with African and rock music to create his own inimitable style of playing.
“I was lucky to play with him in Ginger Baker’s Air Force, and to meet and work with such luminaries as Phil Seamen, Harold McNair and Graham Bond. And also in Blind Faith with Eric Clapton and Rick Grech. Although his appointment was very unorthodox (he showed up on the doorstep and said, ‘Here I am’) – he made a great contribution to the Blind Faith album which has withstood the test of time.
“Beneath his somewhat abrasive exterior, there was a very sensitive human being with a heart of gold. He’ll be missed.”
Rolling Stones frontman Sir Mick Jagger has paid tribute to the dead drummer, who rose to fame after co-founding the rock band Cream with Eric Clapton.
He acknowledged his fiery temper and groundbreaking talent.
Sir Mick wrote on Twitter: “Sad news hearing that Ginger Baker has died, I remember playing with him very early on in Alexis Korner’s Blues Incorporated. He was a fiery but extremely talented and innovative drummer.”
The Beatles drummer Sir Ringo Starr has also acknowledged his fellow drummer’s contribution to the development of rock music, saying: “God bless Ginger Baker incredible musician wild And inventive. drummer Peace and love to his family.”
He was joined in paying tribute to the Cream and Blind Faith star by Queen guitarist Brian May.
May wrote that his own band was complete thanks to and advert that sought the skill-level of Baker.
He wrote on Instagram: “RIP Ginger Baker – who thrilled us all with his massively innovative drumming in CREAM.
“When I advertised on my (Imperial) College notice board for a drummer to form a group with, I put “‘Wanted : a drummer who can play like Keith Moon, Mitch Mitchell and GINGER BAKER …. “
“Guess who replied ?? A certain Mr Taylor. And he could ! So you could say Ginger Baker is inextricably woven into our history, as well conquering the world with CREAM, and his other projects. RIP”
The Beach Boys frontman Brian Wilson also added his condolences, saying: “I’m sorry to hear that Ginger Baker passed. He was a great drummer and we all were fans of Cream back then. “Sunshine Of Your Love” was a great one. Love & Mercy, Brian”
The revered percussionist founded influential band Cream with Clapton in 1966, forging global sales success and a lasting musical legacy in the band’s brief lifespan.
The family had announced on September 25 that the London-born drummer was critically ill in hospital, adding that he was “holding his own”.
Nettie Baker said her father died peacefully and without pain.