Eric Clapton’s Drummer Jamie Oldaker Passes Away At 68
Jamie Oldaker - The Church Studio / Youtube
Jamie Oldaker, who has drummed for names like Eric Clapton and Peter Frampton, has passed away at the age of 68. He was reported to have died in his home in Tulsa, Oklahoma, surrounded by his family in his last moments. The drummer reportedly dealt with cancer in the past years.
Oldaker was born and raised in Tulsa and took up the craft at an early age, citing the Beatles as one of his musical inspirations when they performed on the Ed Sullivan Show. He was able to go on the same stage years later while performing with Phil Driscoll.
He played on Clapton’s 461 Ocean Boulevard in 1974, which was the guitarist’s first LP release after a three-year battle with heroin addiction. Clapton claimed he heard a demo of Oldaker playing with keyboardist Dick Sims that helped him on his way back to the studio. The album was a great success, primarily with the cut “I Shot The Sherriff”, just the first on a list of eleven albums that would feature Oldaker, including Slowhand (1977), Backless (1978), and Behind The Sun (1985).
In an interview with Tulsa World, Clapton said, “He has the best snare sound I’ve ever heard. He has the best restrained fills I’ve ever heard, and his bass drum is as solid as rock. He is unique, and the pocket is always perfect. The kind of man he is matches his drums.”
Peter Frampton heard about Oldaker’s stint with Clapton and decided to get him for his own band. “Jamie Oldaker has been my dear friend and brother for over 40 years. He was a very warm, caring, true friend with a gentle heart. He cared about us all almost more than he did himself. Most will know him as the drummer on Eric Clapton’s albums. His playing was unique; a laid-back style of drumming with an incredible feel. We traveled the world, played many wonderful shows and great recordings together. He was a much-loved person and I will miss him for the rest of my time here. Love you, Jamie,” Frampton said in a message relayed by Oldaker’s family to Tulsa World.
Jamie Oldaker is survived by his wife, Mary, and their children, Andrew and Olivia.