Peter Edward "Ginger" Baker (19 August 1939 – 6 October 2019) was an English drummer. His work in the 1960s and 1970s earned him the reputation of "rock's first superstar drummer", for a style that melded jazz and African rhythms and pioneered both jazz fusion and world music.
Baker gained early fame as a member of Blues Incorporated and the Graham Bond Organisation, both times alongside bassist Jack Bruce, with whom Baker would often clash. In 1966, Baker and Bruce joined guitarist Eric Clapton to form Cream, which achieved worldwide success but lasted only until 1968, in part due to Baker's and Bruce's volatile relationship. After working with Clapton in the short-lived band 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. 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 single one, after the manner of the jazz drummer Louie Bellson. 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 in 1993, 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 decades. He was married four times and fathered three children.
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Ginger Baker: 'I’m not an easy person to get on with' – a classic interview from the vaultsDisc and Music Echo (1970)