Rock drummer Ginger Baker dies at 80

Ginger Baker death

Renowned rock drummer Ginger Baker has died at the age of 80.

The revered percussionist founded influential band Cream with Eric Clapton, forging global sales success and a lasting musical legacy.

His daughter confirmed on Sunday that the veteran rocker had died.

45 PHOTOS
Ginger Baker
See Gallery
Ginger Baker
UNITED KINGDOM - JULY 31: WINDSOR FESTIVAL Photo of CREAM and Ginger BAKER, with Cream, performing live onstage, Cream's first live appearance, playing drums (Photo by David Redfern/Redferns)
NEW YORK - NOVEMBER 1968: Rock band "Cream" pose for a portrait in a row boat in Central Park in November 1968 in New York City, New York. L-R: Eric Clapton, Ginger Baker, Jack Bruce. (Photo by Michael Ochs Archives/Getty Images)
Jack Bruce, Eric Clapton and Ginger Baker of Cream (Photo by KMazur/WireImage)
File photo dated 25/05/13 of Peter "Ginger" Baker performing at the Field Day Festival in Victoria Park, east London, as his daughter has confirmed the rock drummer and co-founder of Cream has passed away peacefully at the age of 80.
NORTH HOLLYWOOD, CA - NOVEMBER 06: Musician Ginger Baker of Cream performs at the Rock 'N' Roll Fantasy Camp at AMP Rehearsal Studios on November 6, 2015 in North Hollywood, California. (Photo by Kevin Winter/Getty Images)
Ginger Baker (right) arrives for the funeral of Jack Bruce at Golders Green Crematorium, north west London.
Ginger Baker performing at the Field Day Festival in Victoria Park, east London.
Eric Clapton is joined by Ginger Baker and Jack Bruce as Cream, at the Royal Albert Hall in London, 36 years after the group split. Tickets were changing hands for more than £500 on ebay and up to £1700. Doug Peters/allactiondigital.com
Drummer Ginger Baker of Cream during a performance, circa 1967
Ginger Baker, drummer for the band Cream at a Rolling Stones concert.
Drummer Ginger Baker performs as part of a Cream reunion concert at Madison Square Garden in New York October 24, 2005.
Eric Clapton, Ginger Baker and Jack Bruce after being inducted in the Rock and roll hall of Fame during ceremonies January 12 in Los Angeles
CREAM 1967 Eric Clapton, Ginger Baker, Jack Bruce (Photo by Chris Walter/WireImage)
CREAM 1967 Ginger Baker, Jack Bruce, Eric Clapton (Photo by Chris Walter/WireImage)
Cream 1967 Eric Clapton Jack Bruce and Ginger Baker (Photo by Chris Walter/WireImage)
CREAM 1960s Eric Clapton, Jack Bruce, Ginger Baker (Photo by Chris Walter/WireImage)
FILE - In this Aug. 20, 1967 file photo, members of the rock group Cream, from left, Jack Bruce, unidentified woman, drummer Ginger Baker, and Eric Clapton. depart from Heathrow Airport in London. Bruce, best known as the bassist from Cream, has died. He was 71. A statement released by his family announced the death Saturday, Oct. 25, 2014. Publicist Claire Singers said Bruce died at his home in Suffolk, England. (AP Photo/Peter Kemp)
Drummer Ginger Baker relaxing in front of a large bay window, June 1973. (Photo by Clive Barda/Radio Times via Getty Images)
Drummer Ginger Baker relaxing in front of a large bay window, June 1973. (Photo by Clive Barda/Radio Times via Getty Images)
Drummer Ginger Baker relaxing, June 1973. (Photo by Clive Barda/Radio Times via Getty Images)
Drummer Ginger Baker wearing traditional African robes while sitting on a gate post, pictured during the promotion of the 'Sunday Omnibus' showing of his documentary 'Ginger Baker in Africa', June 1973. (Photo by Clive Barda/Radio Times via Getty Images)
NEW YORK, NY - JUNE 18: Ginger Baker and Pee Wee Ellis Performs Jazz Confusion Featuring Pee Wee Ellis, Alec Dankworth & Abass Dodoo at BB King on June 18, 2015 in New York, New York. (Photo by Bobby Bank/WireImage)
NEW YORK, NY - JUNE 18: Ginger Baker Performs Jazz Confusion Featuring Pee Wee Ellis, Alec Dankworth & Abass Dodoo at BB King on June 18, 2015 in New York, New York. (Photo by Bobby Bank/WireImage)
NEW YORK, NY - JUNE 18: Ginger Baker Performs Jazz Confusion Featuring Pee Wee Ellis, Alec Dankworth & Abass Dodoo at BB King on June 18, 2015 in New York, New York. (Photo by Bobby Bank/WireImage)
NEW YORK, NY - JUNE 18: Atmosphere marquee for Ginger Baker, Abass Dodoo, Pee Wee Ellis and Alec Dankworth Jazz Confusion Show at BB King on June 18, 2015 in New York, New York. (Photo by Bobby Bank/WireImage)
NEW YORK, NY - JUNE 18: Ginger Baker Performs Jazz Confusion Featuring Pee Wee Ellis, Alec Dankworth & Abass Dodoo at BB King on June 18, 2015 in New York, New York. (Photo by Bobby Bank/WireImage)
Ginger Baker, Love Supreme Jazz Festival, Glynde Place, East Sussex, 2015. Artist: Brian O'Connor. (Photo by Jazz Services/Heritage Images/Getty Images)
UNITED KINGDOM - MAY 05: ROYAL ALBERT HALL Photo of Ginger BAKER and CREAM, Ginger Baker performing live onstage at reunion concert (Photo by Graham Wiltshire/Redferns)
UNITED KINGDOM - JANUARY 01: Photo of Ginger BAKER and BBM; performing live onstage with BBM (Photo by Mick Hutson/Redferns)
Ginger Baker during Ginger Baker at Wetlands - 1990 at Wetlands in New York City, New York, United States. (Photo by Steve Eichner/WireImage)
(MANDATORY CREDIT Ebet Roberts/Redferns) Ginger Baker performing with Jack Bruce at the Bottom Line in New York City on December 7, 1989. (Photo by Ebet Roberts/Redferns)
Drummer Ginger Baker performing with his band Energy at the Forum Theatre, Hatfield, Hertfordshire, 18 January 1980. Artist: Denis Williams. (Photo by National Jazz Archive/Heritage Images/Getty Images)
UNITED STATES - JUNE 01: Drummer Ginger Baker of the Baker Gurvitz Army performs on stage in June 1975. (Photo by Gai Terrell/Redferns)
UNITED KINGDOM - JANUARY 01: Ginger Baker and Adrian Gurvitz of the Baker Gurvitz Army perform on stage in 1975. (Photo by Colin Fuller/Redferns)
UNITED KINGDOM - JANUARY 01: Drummer Ginger Baker of the Baker Gurvitz Army performs on stage in 1975. (Photo by David Redfern/Redferns)
British drummer Ginger Baker, a member of Blind Faith, Cream and Hawkwind amongst others, circa 1975. (Photo by Anwar Hussein/Hulton Archive/Getty Images)
COPENHAGEN, DENMARK: Ginger Baker performs on stage with Ginger Baker's Air Force on April 4th 1970 in Copenhagen, Denmark. (Photo by Jorgen Angel/Redferns)
British musician Ginger Baker plays the drums during a performance by his band Blind Faith at the Los Angeles Forum, Los Angeles, California, August 1969. (Photo by John Olson/The LIFE Picture Collection via Getty Images)
Ginger Baker performs on stage with Blind Faith in Hyde Park, London, 7th June 1969. (Photo by Michael Putland/Getty Images)
Ginger Baker and Eric Clapton of the rock band "Cream" performing in circa 1968 in Los Angeles, California. (Photo by Sulfiati Magnuson/Getty Images)
UNITED KINGDOM - AUGUST 13: WINDSOR FESTIVAL Photo of Ginger BAKER and CREAM, Ginger Baker performing live onstage (Photo by Ivan Keeman/Redferns)
UNITED KINGDOM - AUGUST 13: WINDSOR FESTIVAL Photo of CREAM and Ginger BAKER, with Cream, performing live onstage, playing drums (Photo by David Redfern/Redferns)
UNITED KINGDOM - DECEMBER 01: TOP OF THE POPS Photo of CREAM and Ginger BAKER and Eric CLAPTON and Jack BRUCE, L-R: Jack Bruce, Ginger Baker (playing Ludwig drums, drum kit), Eric Clapton, performing, wearing prison uniforms (Photo by Ron Howard/Redferns)
Drummer Ginger Baker and guitarist Eric Clapton of British band Cream perform on stage at the Starlight Ballroom in Greenford, London in 1967. (Photo by Michael Putland/Getty Images)
LONDON - 25th JANUARY: British rock group Cream perform the song 'I Feel Free' on BBCTV show 'Top Of The Pops' in London on 25th January 1967. Left to right: bassist Jack Bruce, drummer Ginger Baker and guitarist Eric Clapton. (Photo by Mark and Colleen Hayward/Redferns)
HIDE CAPTION
SHOW CAPTION
of
SEE ALL
BACK TO SLIDE

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.

The musician was noted for his groundbreaking drumming technique, and his showmanship.

Pioneering rock music in the 1960s, he maintained a jazz style and sound, helping build the unique profile of his band Cream, founded with Clapton in 1966.

The group, which also included Jack Bruce, drove a change in rock music which would heavily influence the likes of Led Zeppelin and later artists.

Baker also experimented with percussion from across the globe, and held a long-time interest in African music.

The drummer is an inductee in the Rock And Roll Hall Of Fame for his work with Cream, a band which derived its name from the "cream of the crop" status of Baker and Clapton, who were known for their virtuosity.

This skill would be on display in rampant solos performed by Baker, who raised the profile of drummers in rock music.

The band earned a devoted following, and released classic rock tracks like Sunshine Of Your Love, Strange Brew, and the Blues-influenced Crossroads.

In his self-assessment, Hellraiser: The Autobiography Of The World's Greatest Drummer, Baker chronicled his long-lasting drug habits, which included heroin and cocaine.

After Cream came the short-lived Blind Faith, working again with Clapton, along with Steve Winwood.

Unconventionally, the drummer then moved to Lagos to pursue an interest in African music, working with jazz powerhouse Fela Kuti.

He was known to be confrontational, a personality trait captured in the documentary Beware Of Mr Baker, which showed him fighting with the film's director.

Cream reunion concert - Royal Albert Hall
Jack Bruce, Ginger Baker and Eric Clapton during a reunion in 2005 (Yui Mok/PA)

His manner did not prevent him reuniting with old friend Clapton in 2005, although further reunions were ruled out due to disagreement between Bruce and Baker after the drummer became "Mr Hyde", according to his former bandmate. Bruce died in 2014.

Baker suffered heart complaints in later life, writing on his personal blog in 2016: "Just seen doctor... big shock... no more gigs for this old drummer... everything is off... of all things I never thought it would be my heart."

Read Full Story

FROM OUR PARTNERS