Why Ginger Baker hated The Beatles

Ginger Baker

You can’t go wrong with Ginger Baker if you want an honest response. Baker, widely regarded as one of the most miserly, cantankerous, and angry musicians of the classic rock era, has never shied away from saying the truth, even if it meant knocking a bestselling pop act down a notch or two. That’s true; even The Beatles couldn’t keep Ginger Baker from waving her finger.

First and foremost: Ginger Baker despised being labeled as a rock drummer. He began his career as a jazzman in Lewisham, London, refining his skill with many ensembles. Later, he established Cream with Eric Clapton and Jack Bruce in the 1960s. The group’s blend of jazz, blues, and rock ‘n’ roll allowed Baker to showcase his extraordinary technical prowess alongside some of England’s most gifted rock musicians. They sold over 15 million records and received widespread critical praise. Baker was also instrumental in establishing the drum kit as a main instrument in its own right.

Baker’s appreciation for musical literacy was one of the things that set him apart from many of his contemporaries. The majority of the British artists who became famous in the 1960s – The Beatles, The Rolling Stones, The Kinks, and The Who – all began in skiffle bands, the purpose of which was to allow unskilled amateur musicians to express themselves musically. Mastering jazz, Baker knew, attached a deep understanding of musical notation.

Baker told Forbes that the ability to read and write music is what distinguishes a competent musician. “Even Paul McCartney also needs someone to write it down for him,” he said with a sigh. “And he also believes that’s a good thing. According to one report, if he learned to read music, he might not be able to write as well. In 1963, we used to say of the Beatles, ‘They don’t know a hatchet from a crotchet.’ We call a crotchet a quarter note.” Perhaps it was Baker’s belief in traditional modes of musical communication that drove him to tell Classic Rock that “George Martin was The Beatles.” They’d be nowhere without him.” With his classical training, Martin played a key role in orchestrating most of The Beatles’ music.

Despite having doubts about the Beatles, Baker went on to collaborate with George Harrison on the recordings for Billy Preston’s ‘That’s The Way God Planned It,’ which Harrison had been contracted to produce. Again, Baker and Harrison clashed over musical knowledge: “He [Harrison] was like Jagger, didn’t know what the fuck he was talking about.” He also explained his notion by waving his arms around. ‘Y’know, Ginger, play it like this,’ he’d say, waving his arms. What the fk are you on about? Make a note of it so I can understand what you mean. He couldn’t do it.” So I’m not a fan.

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