Jim Gordon, a session drummer for Eric Clapton and George Harrison in the ’70s, has died at the age of 77.
The drummer’s death was confirmed by publicist Bob Merlis, per a Los Angeles Times report. Merlis said in a statement that Gordon died of natural causes at California Medical Facility, a prison medical facility, in the city of Vacaville on Monday (March 13) “after a long incarceration and lifelong battle with mental illness”.
Gordon was convicted for murdering his mother Osa Marie Gordon in June 1983 before being diagnosed with schizophrenia. Per a 1994 Washington Post profile of Gordon, Gordon bludgeoned the 72-year-old Osa Marie with a hammer and then stabbed her to death with a butcher knife. He had been incarcerated since 1984, when he was convicted of murder and sentenced 16 years to life in prison, with multiple appeals for parole denied.
Before his conviction and imprisonment, Gordon was also known for co-writing ‘Layla’ with Eric Clapton. Released by Derek and the Dominos, the short-lived supergroup of which Gordon and Clapton were both members, the song famously chronicled Clapton’s infatuation with George Harrison’s then-wife Pattie Boyd. Gordon would go on to track majority of the drums on Harrison’s 1970 album ‘All Things Must Pass’.
Gordon had battled mental illness throughout the course of his career. His former girlfriend Rita Coolidge revealed in a Leon Russell biography, per Variety, that while on tour with Joe Cocker in 1970, Gordon once hit her so hard that she “lifted off the floor and slammed against the wall on the other side of the hallway”.
Elsewhere in his career, Gordon – born James Beck Gordon – recorded with John Lennon, Alice Cooper, Steely Dan, Johnny Rivers, the Everly Brothers, Frank Zappa, Leon Russell, Traffic, Gordon Lightfoot, Seals & Crofts, Jackson Browne and more.
Gordon is reportedly survived by his daughter Amy.