Jim Gordon was an esteemed drummer during the 1960s and 70s who contributed hits by Beach Boys, Steely Dan, Eric Clapton and Derek and the Dominos albums like Layla and Other Assorted Love Songs in 1970.
He has been imprisoned since 1983 for murdering his mother and has an extensive history of mental health issues.
Early Life and Education
Gordon first made his mark as a session drummer in Los Angeles, playing alongside many popular artists like John Lennon and George Harrison. Additionally, he became part of The Wrecking Crew – an informal collective of studio musicians known for playing on iconic recordings during the 60s and 70s.
Famed for his elegant piano coda on Derek and the Dominos’ 1971 hit Layla, he gained recognition as a skilled musician. However, tragedy struck when he fatally assaulted his mother by hitting her repeatedly with a baseball bat claiming that voices in his head told him to do so.
Since then, Gordon has expanded his talents by venturing into acting and producing. His success on Gavin and Stacey helped him amass an enormous fortune.
Jim Gordon has made himself a household name not only with his music career but also through acting and hosting skills on hit shows such as Gavin & Stacey that have added to his portfolio and increased net worth.
Jim Gordon launched his professional life at 17 by joining the Everly Brothers’ backing band as a drummer, then moving onto join Hal Blaine’s Wrecking Crew where he refined his session musician abilities under Hal’s tutelage.
He performed as a backup singer for Delaney & Bonnie and Dave Mason, as well as playing on Harry Nilsson’s albums All Things Must Pass and Traffic.
Under that wide-eyed California facade lay a person wracked by serious psychological demons — exact details remain sketchy but include schizophrenia and related conditions.
Achievement and Honors
Gordon boasts an impressive list of achievements and honors, such as playing for the Beach Boys for four years. Additionally, he was an immensely popular session musician who regularly performed at Wrecking Crew sessions; performing on many hit records by many popular artists.
Gordon made one of his greatest contributions through writing the haunting piano coda to Derek and the Dominos’ hit “Layla.” Unfortunately, Gordon struggled with schizophrenia for much of his life; an episode caused by this disorder led to him killing his mother and eventually landing him behind bars.
Gordon passed away Monday at California Medical Facility in Vacaville at age 77, leaving behind his wife and four children. An avid runner and golfer himself, as well as enjoying platform tennis and hiking the Colorado mountains was just among his passions.
Jim Gordon was an esteemed session drummer in the 1960s and ’70s who contributed his skills on hundreds of hits, such as Glen Campbell’s “Gentle on My Mind”, Mason Williams’s “Classical Gas”, and Beach Boys’ influential “Pet Sounds”. As part of the Wrecking Crew he could often be heard performing.
He co-wrote and recorded Eric Clapton’s hit song Layla, as well as working with Delaney & Bonnie, garnering more fame. However, his personal life began to disintegrate quickly as well as exhibit disturbing behavior that worsened over time.
In June 1983, he attacked his mother with a hammer and fatally stabbed her, alleging that voices in his head instructed him to do it. Subsequently diagnosed with schizophrenia, he has been serving his time behind bars ever since.
Gordon’s tragic death will always serve as a reminder of the complicated relationship between talent and personal demons, his work as a drummer on some of rock history’s finest albums, and personal demons. His legacy lives on today through musicians inspired by him.
His musical achievements extend well beyond drumming on iconic albums such as Layla and Other Assorted Love Songs; he even composed some original tunes and collaborated with legendary artists, such as Eric Clapton. His drumming on Layla and Other Assorted Love Songs stands as one of its finest examples of its kind.
Jim Gordon has served on various public and private company boards, both public and private. Currently he sits on Edgewater portfolio companies as well as The Whitney Museum of American Art’s Board of Trustees and Investment Committee as well as Joffrey Ballet/Northwestern Memorial Foundation’s Board of Trustees/Executive Committee.