Jim Gordon, Eric Clapton drummer convicted of murdering mother, dead – Rolling Stone

Jim Gordon, a drummer who played on Derek and the Dominos’ Layla and other various love songs and the Beach Boys’ Pet sounds, died Monday at age 77. The musician, who was diagnosed with schizophrenia and served a prison sentence for killing his mother in 1983, died at a state-run medical facility in Vacaville, California. A publicist, Bob Merlis, told Los Angeles Times that Gordon died of natural causes.

Gordon is best known for sharing a songwriting credit on “Layla” with Eric Clapton, as he was responsible for the song’s famous piano coda. (Organist Bobby Whitlock has claimed that Gordon plagiarized the part from something Gordon’s ex-girlfriend, Rita Coolidge, had written. Coolidge also accused Gordon of physical abuse.)

Before Layla album, Gordon – who was born James Beck Gordon on July 14, 1945 and grew up in Sherman Oaks, California – was known as a member of the group of session players called the Wrecking Crew. His drumming features on recordings by John Lennon, Cher, the Byrds, Jackson Browne, Joan Baez, Alice Cooper, Tom Waits, Neil Diamond, George Harrison, Yoko Ono, Tom Petty and the Heartbreakers, Mel Torme and many others. He can be heard on Carly Simon’s “You’re So Vain,” Mason Williams’ “Classical Gas,” and Glen Campbell’s “Gentle on My Mind,” according to Times.

In the mid-seventies, Gordon began to have problems with addiction. “I guess I was an alcoholic,” he told me Rolling stones in 1985. “I used to drink every night, but I didn’t get up in the morning to have a drink; I wanted to stick a needle in my arm. When I stopped taking the heroin, I started drinking all day.” He started hearing voices in his head, and in the late seventies, his mother urged him to get help. He checked into a psychiatric hospital, where he told doctors that his mother was “the only friend” he had.

“He used to talk to me about hearing voices, but I told him it was his consciousness talking to him,” Whitlock said Rolling stones in 2013. “He said it was someone else. Apparently, he never stopped or even eased up on his drug and alcohol use. The end result was the destruction of his family.”

On June 3, 1983, Gordon murdered his mother, Osa Marie Gordon, using a hammer and a butcher knife. The following year, he was sentenced to 16 years to life in prison. “I had no interest in killing (my mother),” Gordon said Rolling stones in 1985. “I wanted to stay away from her. I had no choice. It was as matter-of-fact as if I was being guided like a zombie. She wanted me to kill her, and good luck to her.”


“I had no idea he had a psychotic history of visions and hearing voices from an early age,” Clapton said Rolling stones in 1991. “It was never clear when we worked together. It just seemed like bad vibes, the worst kind of bad vibes. I would never have said he was going crazy. For me it was just the drugs.”

This story is in development

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