After days of being “critically ill” in the hospital, the iconic drummer Ginger Baker died today. Baker—best known for his work with Cream, Fela Kuti, and Blind Faith—was widely considered one of the best percussionists in the world. Musicians who worked with Baker and the leagues of people inspired by him took a moment this morning to pay tribute to the late rock icon.
The family of the late Jack Bruce, Baker’s bandmate in Cream, wrote a tribute to Baker. “Surviving a love hate relationship, Ginger was like an older brother to Jack, their chemistry was truly spectacular,” the Bruce family wrote. Paul McCartney share a note in honor of his late Band on the Run collaborator, calling him a “wild and lovely guy.” Find those memorials, plus tributes from Mick Jagger, Brian Wilson, Steve Winwood, Queen’s Brian May, Ringo Starr, Flea, Questlove, Edgar Wright, and more.
Baker’s son, Kofi, shared a statement on the website for the tribute band the Music of Cream, in which the younger Baker plays drums. “The other day I had a beautiful visit with my dad…we talked about memories and music and he’s happy that I’m keeping his legacy alive,” he wrote. “Our relationship was mended and he was in a peaceful place. Thank you all for the kind messages and thoughts. I love my dad and will miss him always.”
Baker was also a renowned for his occasionally volatile personality, which was captured in the Jay Bulger-directed documentary Beware Mr. Baker. Bulger penned a memorial to Baker for Rolling Stone. “Ginger drove sports cars off cliffs in Algeria,” he wrote. “The night Jimi Hendrix died, Ginger Baker was with him. He chain-smoked for 50 years. He took heroin for decades. Four wives. Three children. He was a living testament to the stiff upper lip that gained Britain its empire. So long, Ginge. Don’t worry, like you always said: ‘The devil takes care of its own.’”