Is it true that Jim Gordon, drummer on practically every ’70s album, is in prison for killing his mother?
Gordon was a top session drummer from 1963 to 1973, keeping time for John Lennon, George Harrison, Frank Zappa, Traffic, Steely Dan, and Derek and the Dominoes. (He also wrote the elegant piano part that became the second half of “Layla.”) But tragically, he spent the ’70s wrestling with schizophrenia. “The voices were chasing me around,” Gordon said in 1985. “Making me drive to different places. Starving me. I was only allowed one bite of food a meal. And if I disobeyed, the voices would fill me with a rage, like the Hulk gets.” He checked himself into psychiatric hospitals at least fourteen times in six years. On June 1st, 1983, he checked himself out; two days later, he killed his mother with a hammer and a butcher’s knife. Gordon was convicted of second-degree murder (California law made it extremely difficult to prove insanity), and remains in prison today.
(Excerpted from the 2006 book Is Tiny Dancer Really Elton’s Little John?: Music’s Most Enduring Mysteries, Myths, and Rumors Revealed, published by Three Rivers Press, written by Gavin Edwards.)