Jim Gordon

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Christian Vander
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Zoro











Jim Gordon
Jim Gordon is one of the more renowned rock drummers of the early '70s, and also one of the saddest cases in rock music. Born in California in 1945, Gordon began playing drums as a boy, and by the end of the 1960s was one of the top drummers in Los Angeles, having worked with the Everly Brothers, Joe Cocker, Andy Williams, and Glen Campbell, among others. Over six feet tall and extremely muscular, he created a startling figure on-stage and played with a power and stamina that made him a top choice among the younger generation of percussionists. He was one of the two busiest session drummers in Los Angeles, second only to the legendary Hal Blaine, when he found himself unexpectedly thrust into a regular band situation -- he was recruited into the Delaney & Bonnie band after their regular drummer, Jim Keltner, pulled out ahead of a tour. The Delaney & Bonnie tour paired him off with veteran bassist Carl Radle, with whom Gordon became a musical double act over the next couple of years.

Thanks to Eric Clapton's association with Delaney & Bonnie and his appreciation of their work, Gordon and Radle, along with keyboard player Bobby Whitlock, ended up on Clapton's first solo album and also played with Clapton on George Harrison's All Things Must Pass -- that album, in turn, paired him with Ringo Starr, then the most famous drummer in the world (albeit not for being a drummer so much as being the Beatles' drummer), and elevated him to star status before the public; his drumming became some of the most recognizable in the business, second only to Blaine and perhaps Ringo. It was then a short jump -- growing out of the "Apple Jam" sessions on the Harrison album -- to the formation of Derek and the Dominos, the Eric Clapton band whose short-lived career generated the single "Layla" and the accompanying album, which became two of the biggest selling records of the 1970s. Gordon not only played on the album but also co-authored the title song with Clapton, contributing the extended instrumental finale. Over the next few years, Gordon was fully employed within the music business and highly visible, playing with everyone from Joan Baez to Frank Zappa.

Behind his fame and success, however, was a dark side to Gordon's persona that few listeners and few fellow musicians ever knew about. Gordon had always seemed an improbable match to his profession and era, a wide-eyed, all-American-looking California type who only fit in with the late-'60s rock fast lane by virtue of his talent. In retrospect, that division between his appearance and demeanor, and his career and environment, seemed to reflect something more serious in the way of a split within Gordon himself. Behind that all-American mask was a personality torn by serious psychological demons -- the details are sketchy at best, but involve schizophrenia and other aspects of mental illness. As early as 1969 he would go off for days in spurts of bizarre, self-destructive private behavior. According to some accounts, he often heard a "voice" inside of his head that directed him at various times to act out -- whatever the particulars and the pathology, by 1981, he was unable to continue in music, and finally, in 1983, the voice told Gordon to kill his mother, which he did. He was sentenced in 1984 to a term of 16 years to life, and remains in prison as of 2003.

Ironically, thanks to his composer's credit and the continued sales, radio play, and licensed uses of "Layla" -- including Clapton's Grammy-winning acoustic re-recording -- and some of the other records on which he worked to which he is entitled to royalties, Gordon is probably in the best legitimate financial condition of virtually any non-white-collar/non-drug felon in California. Coupled with the deaths of Duane Allman and Carl Radle, and the self-imposed retirement for years of Bobby Whitlock, Gordon's fate only fits into the unfulfilled promise and the tragic, star-crossed lives of every member of the Dominos -- one of the great superstar groups of the 1970s, despite their short existence -- except for Eric Clapton.



As one of rock's best drummers, James Beck Gordon
kept time with the Sixties, until he could no longer
resist a different kind of madness.












Dressed for the Grammy's February 1978...








Carly Simon - You're So Vain































performed with:

Eric Clapton 
Joe Cocker 
David Ackles 
Duane Allman 
Anders & Poncia 
Angelo  Angelo
Ron Anthony 
Renee Armand 
Hoyt Axton 
Joan Baez 
The Beach Boys 
Wayne Berry 
Bill & Taffy 
Stephen Bishop 
Paul Bogush, Jr.
Terence Boylan 
Bread 
Teresa Brewer 
Jackson Browne 
Jack Bruce 
The Byrds 
The California Earthquake 
Jim Capaldi 
Larry Carlton 
The Carpenters 
Cashman & West 
DavidCassidy 
Cecilio & Kapono
Carole King 
Laurie Kaye Cohen 
Stephan Cohn 
Judy Collins
Chi Coltrane 
Priscilla Coolidge
Gypsy Gueen
Alice Cooper 
Dana Cooper 
Crosby, Stills, Nash & Young
Burton Cummings
Rick Danko 
Mike Deasy 
Delaney & Bonnie
John Denver 
Derek & the Dominos 
Neil Diamond 
The Dillards 
Dr. John 
Ducks 
England Dan & John Ford... 
The Everly Brothers 
Ignis Fatuus 
Jose Feliciano 
Fire & Rain 
Art Garfunkel 
David Gates 
Lowell George 
Barry Greenfield 
James Griffin 
Arlo Guthrie 
Buddy Guy 
Merle Haggard
Hall & Oates 
Albert Hammond 
George Harrison
Sherman Hayes 
Gary Hill
Chris Hillman 
Richard "Groove" Holmes 
John Lee Hooker 
Lightnin' Hopkins 
Jim Horn 
Thelma Houston 
Steve Hunter 
Sammy Johns 
Mike Kennedy 
Bobby Keys 
B.B. King 
Carole King
Dennis Lambert
James Last 
John Lennon 
Gordon Lightfoot
Nils Lofgren
Longbranch Pennywhistle 
Mama Cass 
Manhattan Transfer 
Barry Manilow 
Steve March 
Mark-Almond 
Dave Mason 
Letta Mbulu 
Country Joe McDonald 
Roger McGuinn 
Melanie 
Zoot Money 
The Monkees
Hugo Montenegro
Maria Muldaur 
Elliott Murphy 
Ted Neeley 
Oliver Nelson
Tracy Nelson 
Randy Newman  Harry Nilsson 
The Nitty Gritty Dirt Band 
Danny O'Keefe 
Yoko Ono 
Van Dyke Parks 
Paxton Brothers  Herb Pedersen 
Micheal Polnareff 
Mike Post 
Pratt & McClain 
Kenny Rankin 
Bob Ray   
Emitt Rhodes 
Digby Richards 
Jerry Riopelle 
Minnie Riperton 
Johnny Rivers 
Linda Ronstadt 
Leon Russell 
Carole Bayer Sager 
Salvation Seals & Crofts 
Carly Simon 
John Simon 
Nancy Sinatra 
Tom Snow 
Southern Hillman Furay Band 
Phil Spector 
Spider  Mark Spoelstra 
James Lee Stanley 
Steely Dan 
B.W. Stevenson 
John Stewart 
Stone Poneys 
Barbra Streisand 
Jim Sullins 
Mel Tormé 
Traffic 
Low Spark of High Heeled Boy
John Travolta 
Tufano & Giammarese Band 
Valdy 
Lon & Derrek
VanEaton 
Gene Vincent 
Michael Viner 
David Wagner 
Sammy Walker 
T-Bone Walker 
Jennifer Warnes 
Jimmy Webb 
Tim Weisberg 
Mason Williams 
Steve Winwood 
Gary Wright
Frank Zappa

...and many more





























Jim Gordon, Carl Radle, Bobby Whitlock, Eric Clapton and Jeep.




















LAYLA