It was 38 years ago today (June 3rd, 1983) that Derek & The Dominos drummer Jim Gordon brutally murdered his mother. Gordon, who was officially diagnosed with schizophrenia while on trial for bludgeoning his mother with a hammer and stabbing her to death, is still regarded as one of rock's greatest drummers. But Gordon is probably best known for writing the ending piano theme to the Eric Clapton's 1970 Derek & The Dominos masterpiece “Layla.” In recent years Dominos keyboardist Bobby Whitlock revealed that Gordon actually did not write the piano them to “Layla,” insisting that Gordon stole the melody from his then-girlfriend, singer Rita Coolidge.
Gordon was sentenced to 16-years-to life in prison, and has served his sentence at the California Men's Colony in San Luis Obispo, Atascadero State Hospital in Atascadero, and the State Medical Corrections Facility in Vacaville. Gordon was denied parole until at least 2018 when he was denied release for the first time. A California parole board panel deemed the then-67-year-old Gordon “a danger to society if released from prison” and citing “his resistance to court-ordered medication and counseling.” Rolling Stone reported Los Angeles County deputy district attorney Alexis de la Garza told the panel that Gordon is “. . . medically and psychologically non-compliant. This is one of the saddest cases that we have in prison. We have an individual who is seriously psychologically incapacitated, and he is a danger when he is not taking his medication.”
Beginning with a 1963 stint drumming for the Everly Brothers, Gordon's resume literally reads like a who's who of '60s and '70s session work, having played with Barbra Streisand, John Lennon, George Harrison, Taj Mahal, Phil Spector, Jackson Brown, Dr. John, Carole King, the Beach Boys, Delaney & Bonnie, Joe Cocker, Leon Russell, Johnny Rivers, Minnie Ripperton, Harry Nilsson, Gordon Lightfoot, B.B. King, Randy Newman, Carly Simon, the Monkees, the Carpenters, Linda Ronstadt, Steely Dan, Traffic, Frank Zappa, and many more.