Published Nov 30, 2012Mickey Baker, whose guitar playing was influential in the development of rock'n'roll, passed away on Tuesday (November 27) at his home in Montastruc-la-Conseillère, France. The reported cause of death was heart and kidney failure. He was 87.
Baker was a key figure in '50s rock'n'roll, as he was an in-demand session guitarist for labels like Atlantic, RCA Savoy, Decca and King. He played on recordings by the likes of Ike & Tina Turner, the Drifters, Big Joe Turner and many more.
Baker also made up one half of the duo Mickey & Sylvia, with whom he released the hit single "Love Is Strange." He also put out albums under his own name, in addition to writing instructional guitar books and teaching guitar students.
The New York Times noted that little is known about Baker's early life in Louisville, KY, but he believed that his father was a travelling white piano player while his black mother gave birth to him at just 12 years of age. He spent time in an orphanage before moving to New York as a teenager and has been living in France since the '60s.
Baker was married six times, and at the time of his death was married to Marie France-Drai. He is survived by his son McHouston Jr. and daughter Bonita Lee.