Sunday, March 06, 2005

Remembering Jim Gordon.

No, he's not dead, yet.

I was driving to church this morning, and "Layla" by Derek and the Dominoes came on the radio. The song was co-written by Eric Clapton and Jim Gordon. Actually, I believe Clapton wrote the first past and Gordon composed the instrumental theme at the end.

I get choked up everytime I hear that song, not because of Clapton writing it his love, and then-wife of his friend George Harrison, but because of what happened to Gordon years later.

Gordon was a top session drummer in the late '60s and early '70s. He played with the best of that era, Clapton, Harrison, John Lennon, Joe Cocker, Frank Zappa, Harry Nilsson, and Jackson Browne.

Here he is at a rehearsal. Posted by Hello

Of course, he took copious amount of drugs, as did most of the top musicians of the day. But that wasn't his real problem. His real problem was with schizophrenia.

He had been hearing voices for years, especially that of his mother's. In 1983, the voices got to him and he murdered his mother. He pleaded not guilty by reason of insanity, but he was convicted and sentenced to 16 years to life in the California prison system. He actually spends most of his time in Atascadero State Hospital.

It's sad to think of such a musical talent being brought down by mental illness and the things he did for lack of treatment. That's why I get choked up when I hear "Layla" and that hauntingly beautiful theme at the end.

Excepts from a July 3, 1994, article on Gordon.

1 comment:

hastang said...

you've got good taste in music :)..