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Lewisham lad Ginger Baker has passed

Legendary rock drummer helped form first Supergroup

The drummer of rock’s first Supergroup died yesterday in a Canterbury, Kent, hospital.

Ginger Baker (real name Peter Edward Baker – pictured centre) was born in Lewisham, south-east London, 80 years ago. 

He played in and led several bands, but people around in the 1960s are most likely to remember his time with Cream, the group he founded with Eric Clapton (left) and Jack Bruce. At the peak of his powers he was regarded as “rock’s first superstar drummer”.

Cream was formed in England’s World Cup winning year (1966) and stayed together for just two years making a big impact – and four albums.

Some attribute the reason for the break-up to the differences between Baker and Bruce.

In 2005, the three group members reunited for a series of concerts at the London’s Royal Albert Hall and Madison Square Gardens in New York. A video of one of their most highly regarded numbers, Sunshine of Your Love, is featured here.

Four years after the concerts Bruce is quoted at saying in a Rolling Stone article: “It’s a knife-edge thing between me and Ginger. Nowadays, we’re happily co-existing in different continents (Bruce, who died in 2014, lived in Britain, while Baker lived in South Africa) … although I was thinking of asking him to move. He’s still a bit too close.” Source: Wikipedia.

Baker was characterised as not being one of the easiest to get along with – one of the original wild men of rock. He was known for a violent temper and is said to have once attacked Bruce with a knife at a Graham Bond Organization concert. He struggled with heroin addiction throughout his adult life.

Me? I just prefer to remember his music. 

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David Buckley

Dave Buckley is a career journalist. “I once went painting girders for a week and discovered I didn’t like heights,” he says. “Apart from that it has always been journalism for me in one form or another.” Past publications worked for include the South-East London Mercury*, Kent Messenger, Daily Express, Today*, News of the World* and Hong Kong Star*. All those marked with an asterisk no longer exist (trend emerging?). He owned and edited a Thailand-based property magazine before returning to England and currently works as a production editor for an East Midlands-based publishing group.

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