Born 19 August 1939
Birth name : Peter Edward Baker
Lewisham, London, England
Died 6 October 2019 (aged 80)
Genres : Rock, blues, jazz, Afrobeat
Occupation(s) Musician, songwriter
Instruments Drums, percussion, vocals
Years active 1954–2019
Labels PolydorWarner Bros.Island
Blues Incorporated, the Graham Bond, Organisation Cream, Ginger Baker’s Air Force, Blind Faith, Ginger Baker and Friends, Baker Gurvitz Army, Fela Kuti, Hawkwind, Public Image Ltd.Atomic Rooster, Masters of Reality,BBM, Ginger Baker Trio
Website : www.gingerbaker.com
Who is Ginger Baker?
Ginger Baker also known by his real name, Peter Edward was born on the 19th August, 1939 – 6 October 2019) was a British born drummer and a co-founder of the rock band Cream.
His work in the 1960s earned him the reputation of “rock’s first superstar drummer”, while his individual style melded a jazz background with African rhythms. He is credited as having been a pioneer of drumming in such genres as jazz fusion and world music.
Baker began playing drums at age 15, and later took lessons from English jazz drummer Phil Seamen. In the 1960s he joined Blues Incorporated, where he met bassist Jack Bruce. The two clashed often, but would be rhythm section partners again in the Graham Bond Organisation and Cream, the latter of which Baker co-founded with Eric Clapton in 1966.
Cream achieved worldwide success but lasted only until 1968, in part due to Baker’s and Bruce’s volatile relationship. After briefly working with Clapton in Blind Faith and leading Ginger Baker’s Air Force, Baker spent several years in the 1970s living and recording in Africa, often with Fela Kuti, in pursuit of his long-time interest in African music.
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Among Baker’s other collaborations are his work with Gary Moore, Masters of Reality, Public Image Ltd, Hawkwind, Atomic Rooster, Bill Laswell, jazz bassist Charlie Haden, jazz guitarist Bill Frisell and Ginger Baker’s Energy.
Baker’s drumming is regarded for its style, showmanship, and use of two bass drums instead of the conventional one. In his early days, he performed lengthy drum solos, most notably in the Cream song “Toad”, one of the earliest recorded examples in rock music.
Baker was an inductee of the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame as a member of Cream, of the Modern Drummer Hall of Fame in 2008, and of the Classic Drummer Hall of Fame in 2016. Baker was noted for his eccentric, often self-destructive lifestyle, and he struggled with heroin addiction for many years. He was married four times and has fathered three children.
Ginger Baker Early Life and Career
Ginger Baker was born in Lewisham, South London; he was nicknamed “Ginger” for his shock of flaming red hair. His mother worked in a tobacco shop; his father, Frederick Louvain Formidable Baker, was a bricklayer employed by his own father, who owned a building business, and a lance corporal in the Royal Corps of Signals in the Second World War; he died in the 1943 Dodecanese Campaign.
While at school he joined Squadron 56 of the Air Training Corps, based at Woolwich and stayed with them for two or three years.
Baker began playing drums at about 15 years old. In the early 1960s he took lessons from Phil Seamen, one of the leading British jazz drummers of the post-war era. He gained early fame as a member of the Graham Bond Organisation with future Cream bandmate Jack Bruce. The Graham Bond Organisation was an R&B/blues group with strong jazz leanings.
Ginger Baker with his mum at her home in London, 1970 pic.twitter.com/xXoKBGePXG
— ~T~ (@trin_mw) October 7, 2019
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Main article: Cream (band)
Baker founded the rock band Cream in 1966 with bassist Jack Bruce and guitarist Eric Clapton. A fusion of blues, psychedelic rock and hard rock, the band released four albums in a little over two years before breaking up in 1968.
Main article: Blind Faith
Baker then joined the short-lived “supergroup” Blind Faith, composed of Eric Clapton, bassist Ric Grech from Family, and Steve Winwood from Traffic on keyboards and vocals. They released only one album, Blind Faith, before breaking up.
Both Mick Jagger and Paul McCartney posted tributes in honor of #GingerBaker. https://t.co/ixYVokXhUO
— Entertainment Tonight (@etnow) October 6, 2019
Ginger Baker’s Air Force
Main article: Ginger Baker’s Air Force
In 1970 Baker formed, toured and recorded with fusion rock group Ginger Baker’s Air Force.
Ginger Baker Personal life
Baker was infamous for his violent temper and for confrontations with musicians and fans. Rolling Stone reporter David Fricke wrote in 2012 that even in old age, “you get close to Baker at your peril.” His relationship with Jack Bruce was so volatile that during a Graham Bond Organization concert he once attacked him with a knife.
Baker was married four times and fathered three children, Nettie, Leda, and Kofi. Baker and his first wife, Liz Finch, had their first child, Ginette Karen, on 20 December 1960. Baker’s second daughter, Leda, was born 20 February 1968. Baker’s son, Kofi Streatfield Baker, was born in March 1969 and named after a friend of Baker’s, Ghanaian drummer Kofi Ghanaba.
Baker struggled with heroin addiction throughout his life, having begun using the drug in the 1960s while a jazz drummer in London clubs. Each time he traveled to Africa, he would get sober temporarily only to relapse. He estimated that he stopped using the drug around 29 times during his life, but was only able to quit permanently after moving to a small Italian village in 1981 where he took up olive farming.
In February 2013, Baker said he had chronic obstructive pulmonary disease from years of heavy smoking, and chronic back pain from degenerative osteoarthritis.
In June 2016, it was reported he was recovering from open heart surgery, but had also suffered a bad fall which caused swollen legs and feet. In September 2019, his family announced he was critically ill and asked fans to keep him in their prayers. While it was announced Baker was holding his own three days later; he eventually died on 6 October 2019 at the age of 80, at a hospital in Canterbury.
Ginger Baker Legacy
Ginger Baker in 1997
Baker’s style influenced many drummers, including John Bonham, Peter Criss,Neil Peart, Stewart Copeland,vIan Paice,Terry Bozzio, Dave Lombardo, Tommy Aldridge, Bill Bruford, Alex Van Halen, Danny Seraphine and Nick Mason.
Modern Drummer magazine described him as “one of classic rock’s first influential drumming superstars of the 1960s” and “one of classic rock’s true drum gods”.
AllMusic described him as “the most influential percussionist of the 1960s” and stated that “virtually every drummer of every heavy metal band that has followed since that time has sought to emulate some aspect of Baker’s playing”. Although he is widely considered a pioneer of heavy metal drumming, Baker expressed his repugnance for the genre.
Sadly, Ginger Baker, one of rock’s most gifted drummers who helped form the supergroup Cream with Eric Clapton and Jack Bruce, dies at 80. #TDIM
— Jorge RM ✖️✖️ (@cafekafka_) October 7, 2019
Drum! magazine listed Baker among the “50 Most Important Drummers of All Time” and has defined him as “one of the most imitated ’60s drummers”, stating also that “he forever changed the face of rock music”. He was voted the third greatest drummer of all time in a Rolling Stone reader poll and has been considered the “drummer who practically invented the rock drum solo”.
In 2016, he was ranked 3rd on Rolling Stone’s “100 Greatest Drummers of All Time”. According to author and columnist Ken Micallef in his book Classic Rock Drummers: “the pantheon of contemporary drummers from metal, fusion, and rock owe their very existence to Baker’s trailblazing work with Cream”.
Neil Peart has said: “His playing was revolutionary – extrovert, primal and inventive. He set the bar for what rock drumming could be. […] Every rock drummer since has been influenced in some way by Ginger – even if they don’t know it”.
Ginger Baker NetWorth
The drummer is estimated to have left behind a net worth of1,621,600.00 ($2 million).
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