Wrecking Crew drummer James Beck Gordon dies

Gordon died in California

Musician Jim Gordon, one of rock’s all-time greatest drummers, died Monday (Mar 13th) from natural causes at California Medical Facility in Vacaville, CA, after a long incarceration and lifelong battle with mental illness. He was 77 years old.

As one of the elite Hollywood studio musicians known as the Wrecking Crew and member of landmark rock bands such as Derek and the Dominos, Joe Cocker’s Mad Dogs and Englishmen, and Delaney and Bonnie and Friends, Gordon was known as one of the most gifted drummers in rock history.

He brought uncommon percussive brilliance to some of the best-known records of his lifetime with the Beach Boys, George Harrison, Eric Clapton and countless others. As a session musician, he played on number one hits by Gordon Lightfoot, Steely Dan, Carly Simon and Harry Nilsson, among the thousands of recording sessions he packed into his illustrious 15 year career. He played an important part in the music of artists across the spectrum of pop music — from Merle Haggard to Frank Zappa, Joan Baez to Tom Petty.

The San Fernando Valley native began his professional career the day after he graduated high school in 1963 with Rock and Roll Hall of Fame charter members the Everly Brothers. He cut his teeth as a session musician on hit records by Beach Boys, Sonny and Cher, Nancy Sinatra, Glen Campbell, among many others, before joining the royal court of British rock as a member of Derek and the Dominoes. Gordon is co-author of the band’s classic rock masterpiece “Layla.”

He leaves behind one of the most extraordinary bodies of recorded work by any drummer of his generation.

Buddy Iahn
Buddy Iahn

Buddy Iahn founded The Music Universe when he decided to juxtapose his love of web design and music. As a lifelong drummer, he decided to take a hiatus from playing music to report it. The website began as a fun project in 2013 to one of the top independent news sites. Email: info@themusicuniverse.com