Tuesday 15 October 2019

Paul McCartney and Mick Jagger lead tributes to ‘wild’ drummer Ginger Baker

He died at the age of 80.

Sir Mick Jagger and Sir Paul McCartney have paid tribute to Ginger Baker (PA)
Sir Mick Jagger and Sir Paul McCartney have paid tribute to Ginger Baker (PA)

By Craig Simpson, PA

Sir Paul McCartney and Sir Mick Jagger have paid tribute to “wild, lovely” and “extremely talented” drummer Ginger Baker.

The drummer rose to fame after co-founding the rock band Cream with Eric Clapton.

Sir Paul wrote on Twitter: “Ginger Baker, great drummer, wild and lovely guy. We worked together on the Band On The Run album in his ARC Studio, Lagos, Nigeria. Sad to hear that he died but the memories never will. X Paul”.

Peter “Ginger” Baker forged a fearsome reputation for his innovations and virtuosity behind the kit, and his confrontational personality off stage.

Rolling Stones frontman 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.”

Baker’s daughter confirmed he died peacefully at the age of 80 after being admitted to hospital last month for a critical illness.

Former bandmate in the short-lived supergroup Blind Faith Steve Winwood said in a statement: “A very sad loss, and my condolences to his family and friends.

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Steve Winwood has paid tribute to his former bandmate (Yui Mok/PA)

“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 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.”

The Beatles drummer Sir Ringo Starr has also acknowledged his fellow drummer’s contribution to the development of rock music, tweeting: “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 an 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.

PA Media

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