Jim Gordon, Eric Clapton Drummer Who Murdered His Mother, Dead At 77

Jim Gordon, Eric Clapton Drummer Who Murdered His Mother, Dead At 77

Jim Gordon, a drummer who was part of Eric Clapton’s band Derek And The Dominos and who played on hundreds of important records, was convicted of stabbing his mother to death in 1983, and he spent the rest of his life in prison. Variety reports that Gordon died on Monday of natural causes at Vacaville’s California Medical Facility. He was 77.

Jim Gordon grew up in the San Fernando Valley, and he joined the Everly Brothers as a touring drummer in 1963, when he was 17. Working with the legendary session drummer Hal Blaine, Gordon became a member of the Wrecking Crew, the loose team of Los Angeles session professionals. In the ’60s, Gordon played on classics like the Beach Boys’ Pet Sounds and the Byrds’ The Notorious Byrd Brothers. He was one of the main drummers on George Harrison’s 1970 triple album All Things Must Pass.

In 1969, Jim Gordon toured as a member of Delaney & Bonnie’s backing band, which also included Eric Clapton. From there, Gordon joined Clapton’s supergroup Derek And The Dominos. Other than his murder conviction, Gordon is most famous for his work on Derek And The Dominos’ 1970 classic “Layla.” Gordon is credited for writing that song’s extended coda, though Rita Coolidge, his girlfriend at the time, claims that she was denied a writing credit for collaborating with Gordon on that song. Gordon also assaulted Coolidge when they were together. (The “Layla” coda started off as Coolidge’s song “Time,” which wasn’t released until 1973.)

In the early ’70s, Jim Gordon toured as part of Joe Cocker’s Mad Dogs & Englishmen band and also as part of Frank Zappa’s massive ensemble. He played on the Incredible Bongo Band’s 1972 album Bongo Rock, and the drum break from that band’s version of “Apache” is one of the most sampled breakbeats in rap history. Gordon also played on hits from Carly Simon, Steely Dan, Harry Nilsson, John Lennon, Gordon Lightfoot, Jackson Brown, and the Stone Poneys’ among many others. In that time, Gordon was often mentally unstable and violent, abusing drugs and alcohol and attacking the women in his life.

In 1983, Jim Gordon attacked his 72-year-old mother with a hammer and then stabbed her with a butcher knife, killing her. After being officially diagnosed with schizophrenia, Gordon was sentenced to 16 years to life in prison. Over the years, he was denied parole multiple times.

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