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Longtime Eric Clapton Keyboard Player Dick Sims Dies

Published // 10.Dec.11

Dick Sims, who was the keyboard player in Eric Clapton's band from 1974 to 1979, has died. Clapton, who is on tour in Japan with Steve Winwood, dedicated their 10 December performance in Tokyo to Sims. 

Born and rasied in Tulsa, Oklahoma, Sims was playing in clubs by age 12. From 1968 through 1972, he toured with Phil Driscol and Yurmama, appearing with Yurmama on The Ed Sullivan Show in 1971. In 1972, he and Jamie Oldaker (a fellow member of Yurmama) worked with Bob Seger and recorded Back in ‘72 which contained the Seger classic “Turn the Page.” Sims and Oldaker then returned to Tulsa and formed the Tulsa County Band, along with fellow Tulsa musician (and fellow member of Yurmama, Jamie Oldaker. In 1974, he was recruited to Clapton's band by fellow Tulsan, Carl Radle. Oldaker was also a member of the EC Band.

During the mid-70s, Sims (keyboards), Radle (bass) and Oldaker (drums) were pioneers of the "Tulsa Sound". Sims' playing can be heard on all of Clapton's releases from those years, including 461 Ocean Boulevard and Slowhand. During his lengthy career, he also toured and recorded with Joan Armatrading, Peter Tosh, Stephen Stills, Pure Prairie League, Etta James, Carlos Santana, Perry Farrell and others. Sims' only solo album, Within Arm's Reach, was released in 2008.

Sims was residing in Tulsa at the time of his death.

Here are some EC videos from the Old Grey Whistle Test television show in 1977 that feature some of Dick Sims' outstanding keyboard work. 

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