“Demons.” This is truly one of the saddest stories in Rock and Roll. On June 3…

Written by on June 3, 2018


This is truly one of the saddest stories in Rock and Roll.

On June 3, 1983, Jim Gordon brutally murdered his mother with a hammer and knife in their home. He was already undergoing psychiatric treatment and suffering from, among other things, voices in his head.

Here is why we are talking about Jim. (We are using info from wikipedia here as it is a fairly involved story).

James Beck “Jim” Gordon is /was a recording artist, musician and songwriter. He is a Grammy Award winner and was one of the most requested session drummers in the late 1960s and 1970s, recording albums with many well-known musicians of the time, and was the drummer in the blues rock supergroup Derek and the Dominos, Little Richard and Delaney & Bonnie. Gordon played drums on George Harrison and John Lennon recordings including Harrison’s 1970 triple album All Things Must Pass and Lennon’s 1971 Imagine album.

He was raised in the San Fernando Valley of Los Angeles and attended Grant High School. He passed up a music scholarship to UCLA in order to begin his professional career in 1963, at age seventeen, backing The Everly Brothers, and went on to become one of the most sought-after recording session drummers in Los Angeles. The protégé of studio drummer Hal Blaine, Gordon performed on many notable recordings in the 1960s, including Pet Sounds by The Beach Boys (1966), Gene Clark with the Gosdin Brothers by Gene Clark (1967), The Notorious Byrd Brothers by The Byrds(1968) and the hit “Classical Gas” by Mason Williams (1968). At the height of his career Gordon was reportedly so busy as a studio musician that he would fly back to Los Angeles from Las Vegas every day to do two or three recording sessions, and then return in time to play the evening show at Caesars Palace.

In 1969 and 1970, Gordon toured as part of the backing band for the group Delaney & Bonnie, which at the time included Eric Clapton. Clapton subsequently took over the group’s rhythm section — Gordon, bassist Carl Radle and keyboardist-singer-songwriter Bobby Whitlock. They formed a new band that was later called Derek and the Dominos. The band’s first studio work was as the house band for George Harrison’s first solo album, the three-disc set All Things Must Pass.

Gordon then played on Derek and the Dominos’ 1970 double album, Layla and Other Assorted Love Songs, contributing, in addition to his drumming, the elegiac piano coda for the title track, “Layla.” It has been said that Jim took that piano melody from his ex-girlfriend Rita Coolidge. In his book, Graham Nash made the same claim for his one-time girlfriend.

Jim is currently serving a 14 year to life sentence for the murder of his mother. Jim was an incredibly talented young man. This is one of those times where you wish somebody had done more for him, but then again, no one really knew what he was going through. Mental health problems are a serious problem and many times it’s too late when the seriousness of them fully come to the attention of others.

It is such a shame. During his career, Jim played with a long list of musicians and record producers, including on a few projects you may be familiar with, including:

Duane Allman Anthology (organ, piano, drums)
Renee Armand The Rain Book (producer, co-writer, drums, guitar)
Hoyt Axton My Griffin Is Gone
Joan Baez From Every Stage; Diamonds and Rust; Gulf Wind
The Beach Boys Good Vibrations; Spirit of America; Pet Sounds
Stephen Bishop On and On: Hits of Stephen Bishop
Bread Bread
Teresa Brewer 16 Most Requested Songs
Jackson Browne Jackson Browne (organ); The Pretender
Jack Bruce Out of The Storm (tracks 1,7 & 8)
The Byrds The Notorious Byrd Brothers
Glen Campbell Wichita Lineman
The Carpenters Horizon; A Kind of Hush; Solitaire
Eric Clapton Eric Clapton; Layla and Other Assorted Love Songs; Derek and the Dominos in Concert; Derek and the Dominos: Live at the Fillmore
Gene Clark Gene Clark with the Gosdin Brothers
Joe Cocker Mad Dogs and Englishmen
Judy Collins Who Knows Where the Time Goes
Alice Cooper Alice Cooper Goes to Hell; Lace and Whiskey
Crosby, Stills, Nash & Young Box Set
Burton Cummings
Delaney & Bonnie On Tour with Eric Clapton and Friends; To Bonnie From Delaney; D&B Together
John Denver
Donovan Life Is a Merry-go-round; Yellow Star; Operating Manual for Spaceship Earth; Lazy Daze
Neil Diamond Beautiful Noise (conga, drums, harmony vocals)
The Everly Brothers Heartaches and Harmonies, Beat and Soul
Art Garfunkel Angel Clare
David Gates First
Lowell George Thanks I’ll Eat It Here
Hall & Oates Bigger Than the Both of Us
Merle Haggard Same Train, Different Time
Albert Hammond It Never Rains in Southern California
George Harrison All Things Must Pass; Extra Texture; Living in the Material World
Jim Henson The Muppet Movie
John Lee Hooker Endless Boogie
Jim Horn Through the Eye
Thelma Houston I’ve Got the Music in Me
Incredible Bongo Band Apache
Dr. John Sun, Moon and Herbs
Carole King
B.B. King In London; The Best of B. B. King
John Lennon Imagine; Sometime in New York City[dubious – discuss]
Gordon Lightfoot Sundown; Gord’s Gold; Cold on the Shoulder; Summertime Dream
Manhattan Transfer Pastiche; Anthology: Down in Birdland
Country Joe McDonald Classics
Dave Mason Alone Together
The Monkees Monkees; More of the Monkees; Instant Replay
Maria Muldaur Maria Muldaur; Waitress in a Donut Shop
Elliott Murphy Elliott Murphy; Lost Generation
Tracy Nelson Time is on My Side
Randy Newman Randy Newman; 12 Songs
Harry Nilsson Nilsson Schmilsson; Aerial Ballet
Van Dyke Parks Discover America
Tom Petty Playback
Emitt Rhodes American Dream
Minnie Riperton Adventures in Paradise
Johnny Rivers Last Boogie in Paris; Blue Suede Shoes; L.A. Reggae
Linda Ronstadt Don’t Cry Now
Leon Russell The Shelter People; Will o’ the Wisp
Seals and Crofts Humming Bird
John Sebastian Tarzana Kid
Carly Simon No Secrets
Phil Spector Back to Mono (1958–1969)
B. W. Stevenson Pass This Way; Calabasas
Barbra Streisand Barbra Joan Streisand
Souther–Hillman–Furay Band
Redeye Redeye
Steely Dan Pretzel Logic
John Stewart Phoenix Concerts
Mel Tormé Mel Tormé Collection
Traffic Welcome to the Canteen; The Low Spark of High Heeled Boys
John Travolta Best of John Travolta
John Valenti Anything You Want, 1976
Andy Williams
Judee Sill Heart Food
Tom Waits The Heart of Saturday Night
Mason Williams Classical Gas; Phonograph Record
Frank Zappa Apostrophe; Läther; “Grand Wazoo” (tour) and “Petit Wazoo” (tour); Imaginary Diseases; Wazoo
Phil Keaggy Love Broke Thru
Peter Foldy
Peter Allen “Taught By Experts”

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