LOS ANGELES — Famous session drummer Jim Gordon, who backed Eric Clapton and the Beach Boys, has died before being diagnosed with schizophrenia and going to prison for murdering his mother. he was 77 years old.
Gordon died Monday at a California medical facility in Vacaville, the State Department of Corrections and Rehabilitation confirmed Thursday. will be
Gordon was the drummer in Clapton’s blues-rock supergroup Derek and the Dominos. He performed on the 1970 double album Layla and Other Assorted Love Songs and toured with them.
Gordon is best known for his contribution to the elegiac piano coda of “Layla.” Her group’s keyboardist, Bobby Whitlock, later claimed that Gordon stole the piano melody from her then-girlfriend, singer Rita Coolidge, and she did not take credit for it.
Coolidge wrote in her 2016 memoir Delta Lady that the song was called “Time” when she and Gordon wrote it. They played it for Clapton when he went to England to record with him.
“I was furious,” Coolidge wrote. “What they revealed was they took the song that Jim and I had written, ditched the lyrics, and added it to the end of Eric’s song. It was pretty much the same arrangement.”
Coolidge said he took comfort in the fact that royalties for Gordon’s songs were paid to his daughter, Amy.
Gordon was heard on George Harrison’s first post-Beatles album, All Things Must Pass, the Beach Boys’ album, Pet Sounds, and Steely Dan’s 1974 song, Rikki Don’t Lose That Number. I can.
Joan Baez, Jackson Browne, The Byrds, Judy Collins, Alice Cooper, Crosby Stills & Nash, Delaney & Bonnie, Neil Diamond, Art Garfunkel, Merle Haggard, Hall & Oates, Carol King, Harry Nilsson, Tom Petty, Heartbreakers and Barbra Streisand, among others.
Gordon’s mental health eventually declined.
In 1970, Gordon went on to Joe Cocker’s famous Mad Dogs & Englishmen tour with Coolidge, followed by a successful solo career as a backup singer.
She wrote in her memoir that Gordon punched her in the eye one night in a hotel hallway. She temporarily lost her consciousness.
It was after being arrested on second-degree murder charges that Gordon was diagnosed with schizophrenia.
Gordon was sentenced to life in prison with the possibility of parole. However, he was denied his parole several times for failing to attend hearings and remained in prison until his death.
Gordon was a member of the famous Los Angeles-based group of session musicians, The Wrecking Crew, who performed hundreds of hits in the 1960s and 70s.
He was a protégé of drumming legend Hal Blaine.
“I recommended Jim when I didn’t have time,” Blaine told Rolling Stone magazine in 1985. I thought he was one of the real guests.