Although Jim Gordon does not have the name-recognition of a top rock star, from the early ’60s through the dawn of the ’80s, he was there. He’d had beautiful women and jet-setted between London and Los Angeles, he partied like a rock star. Through hundreds of recording sessions that spawned dozens of Top 10 hits, his work as one of the most in-demand session drummers of the era spills through a stunning array of albums.
He began his career in 1963, at the age of seventeen, backing the hit making Everly Brothers, and went on to become one of the most sought-after recording session drummers in Los Angeles.
John Lennon, George Harrison, The Everly Brothers, Frank Zappa, Leon Russell, Traffic, Gordon Lightfoot, Seals & Crofts, Jackson Browne, Joan Baez, Bread – Gordon laid down the beat for all of them, playing in myriad styles.
When out on the road, Gordon became something of a liability, the exposure to vast quantities of drink and drugs brought out an extremely troubling side to his personality: at best ambitious and manipulative, at worst violent.
Gordon’s personality disorder was a major factor in the demise of Derek and the Dominos. More seriously, in 1983, it led to Gordon’s conviction for murder. On June 3, 1983, Gordon drove to the Hollywood home of his 72-year-old mother, Osa, attacked her with a hammer and then fatally stabbed her. He has been in prison ever since.
A diagnosed schizophrenic, it was not until his trial in 1984 that he was properly diagnosed. Due to the fact that his attorney was unable to use the insanity defense after a change in California law. Gordon was sentenced to sixteen years-to-life in prison in 1984.
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