LOS ANGELES – Jim Gordon, the legendary session player who backed Eric Clapton and The Beach Boys before he was diagnosed with schizophrenia and went to prison for killing his mother, has death He was 77 years old.
Gordon died Monday at the California Medical Facility in Vacaville, the Department of Corrections and Rehabilitation confirmed Thursday. It is believed that he died of natural causes, but the official cause will be determined by the Solano County coroner.
Gordon was the drummer in the blues-rock supergroup Derek and the Dominos, led by Clapton. He played on their second 1970 album “Layla and Other Love Songs” and toured with them.
Gordon was credited with the elegiac piano coda for “Layla.” The group’s pianist Bobby Whitlock later claimed that Gordon took the piano part from his girlfriend, singer Rita Coolidge, and did not give her credit.
Coolidge wrote in his 2016 memoir “Delta Lady” that the song was called “Time” when he and Gordon wrote it. They played for Clapton when they went to England to record with him.
“I was angry,” Coolidge wrote. “What they obviously did was take the song that Jim and I wrote, take out the lyrics, and paste it at the end of Eric’s song. The format was almost the same.”
Coolidge said he was comforted by the fact that the cost of Gordon’s songs went to his daughter, Amy.
Gordon can be heard on George Harrison’s first post-Beatles album “All Things Must Pass,” The Beach Boys’ “Pet Sounds” album, and Steely Dan’s 1974 single “Rikki Don’t Lose That Number.”
He has also worked with Joan Baez, Jackson Browne, The Byrds, Judy Collins, Alice Cooper, Crosby Stills & Nash, Delaney & Bonnie, Neil Diamond, Art Garfunkel, Merle Haggard, Hall & Oates, Carole King, Harry Nilsson, Tom Petty and the Heartbreakers and Barbra Streisand, among others.
Gordon’s mental health eventually declined.
In 1970, Gordon was part of Joe Cocker’s famous “Mad Dogs & Englishmen” tour, along with Coolidge, then became a radio vocalist while did not go on to a successful solo career.
She wrote in her memoirs that one night in the hallway of the hotel, Gordon punched her in the eye so hard that “I was lifted off the floor and thrown.” eat the wall on the other side of the street.” He was knocked unconscious for a while.
It wasn’t until he was arrested for second degree murder that Gordon was diagnosed with schizophrenia.
Gordon was sentenced to 16 years to life in prison with the possibility of parole. However, he was denied parole several times after failing to attend one of the trials and remained in prison until his death.
Born James Beck Gordon on July 14, 1945, in the Sherman Oaks area of Los Angeles, he began his professional career at the age of 17, supporting the Everly Brothers.
Gordon was a member of The Wrecking Crew, a popular group of Los Angeles musicians who played hundreds of concerts in the 1960s and ’70s.
He was the guardian of Hal Blaine’s legacy.
“When I didn’t have time, I recommended Jim,” Blaine told Rolling Stone in 1985. “He’s one hell of a drummer. I thought he was one of the real comers.”