Rock’n’Roll Babylon

Today I came across a copy of this album from 1973, “Souther, Hillman, Furay” in a free-box. They were sort of a failed attempt at a Crosby, Stills & Nash supergroup. And on the back cover was a photo of the drummer Jim Gordon.

Jim Gordon is one of the weirder stories in the history of Rock’n’Roll Babylon. And, as a guy who had “issues” with my mother when I was a young man myself, it always struck a weird chord with me. . . At one point Jim Gordon was one of the most sought-after drummers in all of rock. And he played with the Everly Brothers, the Beach Boys, George Harrison, Zappa, Alice Cooper, Steely Dan, to name a few. So he had his shit together. For awhile. He didn’t start to disintegrate, mentally, until he went on Joe Cocker’s “Mad Dogs & Englishmen” tour — a tour legendary for its drug debauchment. This was followed by another legendarily drugged-out project — Eric Clapton’s “Derek & the Dominoes” album, where everyone in the band was strung out on hard drugs. Jim Gordon wrote the haunting piano piece that’s the coda of “Layla.”

After that Gordon began to lose his mind. He kept hearing voices in his head that tormented him. Mostly the voice of his mother. And the voices kept telling him to kill his mother. So finally, just to shut up the voices in his head, he stabbed his mother to death with a butcher knife.

When he was interviewed in prison later, he said the good news was that he had stopped hearing his mother’s voice in his head since she died.

The bad news was that he was now hearing his sister’s voice.

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