Jim Gordon, who was known for his work as a session drummer with Eric Clapton and The Beach Boys, passed away on March 13, 2023. His life, unfortunately, was marked by tragedy and mental illness
As per Variety, he killed his 72-year-old mother in 1983.
Despite being diagnosed with schizophrenia after attacking Rita Coolidge while on tour with Joe Cocker in 1970, Gordon continued to play with bands and showed few symptoms of his illness.
Gordon was diagnosed with schizophrenia after attacking vocalist Rita Coolidge while on tour with Joe Cocker in 1970.
Despite receiving outpatient treatment, he showed few symptoms of his illness and continued to play with bands.
However, in 1983, Gordon’s mental state deteriorated, and he murdered his 72-year-old mother, claiming that he heard voices instructing him to do so.
He was subsequently diagnosed with schizophrenia and sentenced to 16 years to life in prison. Throughout his time in prison, Gordon was repeatedly denied parole and passed away in the California Medical Facility in Vacaville.
Although it is believed that he died of natural causes, the Solano County coroner will determine the exact cause of death. Despite the tragic events surrounding his life, Gordon’s legacy as a musician remains.
He played drums for Clapton’s blues-rock ensemble, Derek and the Dominos, and contributed the piano coda to their hit song “Layla.”
However, controversy surrounded the composition of the song, with keyboardist Bobby Whitlock claiming that Gordon stole the tune from his then-girlfriend Rita Coolidge without giving her credit.
In any case, Jim Gordon’s life and career will be remembered as both a tale of tragedy and a testament to his musical talent.
According to Rita Coolidge, Jim Gordon’s former girlfriend, the fact that Gordon’s mother, Amy Gordon, received the music royalties from his work after the Jim Gordon murder case was a source of comfort for her.
Despite this, Jim Gordon’s life was plagued by mental illness, which ultimately led to tragic consequences. Jim Gordon’s musical career began at a young age, as he started backing The Everly Brothers at only 17 years old.
Born on July 14, 1945, in the Sherman Oaks neighborhood of Los Angeles, Gordon was a prominent member of The Wrecking Crew, a group of highly sought-after session musicians from Los Angeles that contributed to countless hits during the 1960s and 1970s.
He was known as Hal Blaine’s protege and was a legendary drummer in his own right.
Gordon’s impressive body of work includes his contributions to Steely Dan’s 1974 hit song “Rikki Don’t Lose That Number,” the Beach Boys’ iconic “Pet Sounds” album, and George Harrison‘s first post-Beatles album, “All Things Must Pass.”
He collaborated with a diverse range of artists, including Carole King, Harry Nilsson, Tom Petty and the Heartbreakers, Judy Collins, The Byrds, Art Garfunkel, Merle Haggard, Delaney & Bonnie, Joan Baez, Jackson Browne, Crosby Stills & Nash, Neil Diamond, and Barbra Streisand.
Unfortunately, Gordon’s mental health began to deteriorate over time. As previously mentioned, he was diagnosed with schizophrenia after attacking Rita Coolidge in 1970.
Despite receiving outpatient treatment for his illness, he showed few symptoms and continued to play with various bands. However, in 1983, his mental state took a tragic turn when he murdered his 72-year-old mother.
He was subsequently diagnosed with schizophrenia and sentenced to 16 years to life in prison. Despite being denied parole on multiple occasions, Gordon’s legacy as a talented musician will continue to live on.