Dick Sims, Longtime Eric Clapton Keyboard Player, Dies

Keyboard player Dick Sims, a driving force in Eric Clapton’s band for more than 10 years, has passed away.

Dick played on Bob Seger’s landmark album ‘Back in ‘72’ before joining the Eric Clapton band in 1974. He played the keyboards for Clapton’s comeback classic ‘461 Ocean Boulevard’ on songs like ‘I Shot The Sherriff’ and ‘Willie and the Hand Jive’ and continued with Clapton on the tracks ‘Lay Down Sally’, ‘Wonderful Tonight’ and ‘Cocaine’.

During his career he also recorded with J.J. Cale, Peter Tosh, Joan Armatrading, Yvonne Elliman and Vince Gill.

Ultimate Classic Rock.com

Keyboardist Dick Sims backed up two of the greatest classic rockers of all times, and a dozen others that were pretty dang good in his 60 years. The keyboardist died on Thursday, after a battle with cancer, prompting Eric Clapton to dedicate his Saturday show to his one time bandmate.

Before working for Clapton, Sims worked with Bob Seger. He’s heard on Seger’s ‘Back in ’72′ album, which includes the timeless hit ‘Turn the Page.’ Along with Jamie Oldaker and Carl Radle, Sims help develop what would become known as the ‘Tulsa Sound.’

“Dick was the best keyboardist I ever played with,” Oldaker tells TulsaWorld.com. “There aren’t any stylists like him anymore. He had a sound that nobody else had. He was a dear friend and a great guy.”

What was supposed to be a single tour turned into an almost 10 year run with Clapton. His style helped shape Clapton’s sound on albums like ’461 Ocean Boulevard’ and ‘Slowhand.’ One can hear his work on songs like ‘I Shot the Sheriff’ and ‘Wonderful Tonight.’

“Songs would come out of Dickie that would surprise you because he was good with so many instruments and styles,” says Scott Hutchinson, who co-owned the label Sims released his album ‘Within Arm’s Reach’ on in 2002.

Tulsa World reports that Sims was diagnosed with cancer in November, but wrote three more songs in the three following weeks. He is survived by his son Jesse P. Sims and two brothers Larry and Jerry Sims. Family and friends plan to hold a private celebration of his life.

Dick Sims – Within Arm’s Reach
Explosive Records


  1. slowhander says:

    I was so saddened to read this…. Rest in peace, Dickie.