British rock and roll pioneer Ginger Baker is dead. A post on the drummer’s Facebook page says he “passed away peacefully” this morning. The South Londoner born in 1939 started playing the drums and working in jazz and blues style bands in the 1950s. He was a founding member in 1966 with Eric Clapton of Cream in the early days of psychedelic rock and roll. He later worked with Clapton and Steve Winwood in Blind Faith and would form Ginger Baker’s Air Force with Winwood.
He was as well known for his explosive temperament as he was for his percussive vision and expertise. He lived in several countries throughout his career including the United States and in Nigeria where he recorded with Nigerian artist Fela Kuti. Baker was also an accomplished polo sportsman. He struggled off and on throughout the years with heroin addiction. Ginger Baker died at age 80.