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THE ROADClassic Hits And More

Jim Gordon, famous session drummer dies

Jim Gordon, the drummer for Derek and the Dominos and a prolific session musician has died at the age of 77.

Gordon’s passing was confirmed via press release, which noted he died of “natural causes” following “a long incarceration and lifelong battle with mental illness.”

Gordon was born and raised in Los Angeles. At 17, he was offered a scholarship to UCLA’s music program, but turned it down to instead join up with the Everly Brothers. So began a career that saw Gordon behind the drum kit for some of rock’s most celebrated releases.

As a member of the Wrecking Crew group of session musicians, Gordon played on such classic LPs as the Beach Boys’ Pet Sounds and The Notorious Byrd Brothers by the Byrds.

In 1969 Gordon met Eric Clapton, as both musicians played in the backing band for Delaney & Bonnie. Clapton would later take Gordon for his new group, Derek and the Dominos. They first served as the backing band for George Harrison’s All Things Must Pass before recording their own, seminal album.

The group’s 1970 double LP, Layla and Other Assorted Love Songs, would become a landmark release, regularly ranked among the greatest rock albums of all time. Gordon played drums on all of the tracks, and even contributed piano on the album’s iconic single, "Layla,” which he co-wrote with Clapton.

Derek and the Dominos broke up in 1971 and never finished recording their second album. Gordon remained an in-demand drummer for many years, working with Joe Cocker’s Mad Dogs and Englishmen, Traffic, Harry Nilsson and Frank Zappa. Gordon played Art Garfunkel’s 1973 album Angel Clare, Steely Dan's Pretzel Logic (1974) and contributed to three tracks on Alice Cooper's 1976 LP, Alice Cooper Goes to Hell. His further career credits included work with Crosby, Stills & Nash, Jackson Browne, Neil Diamond, Hall & Oates, Randy Newman, Tom Petty and the Heartbreakers and John Lennon (that’s Gordon playing on “Power to the People”).


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