This is the landing page for posts, commentary, and analysis that doesn’t fit any of our usual subjects of Sports, Entertainment, Music, or the Home Improvement show. That doesn’t mean this is a pile of junk. Until we have more content for pre-defined subjects, this will be the catch-all page.
On June 3, 1983, Jim Gordon, the drummer for Derek and the Dominos, and co-writer of the song “Layla” murdered his mother with a hammer and a butcher knife.
First about Jim. He was a Grammy Award winner and one of the most requested session drummers in the late 1960s and 1970s, recording albums with many well-known musicians of the time, and was the drummer Little Richard, and Delaney & Bonnie.
Gordon began his career in 1963, at age seventeen, backing The Everly Brothers, and went on to become one of the most sought-after recording session drummers in Los Angeles. The protégé of legendary studio drummer Hal Blaine, Gordon performed on many notable recordings in the 1960s, including Pet Sounds by The Beach Boys, Gene Clark with the Gosdin Brothers by Gene Clark, The Notorious Byrd Brothers by The Byrds and the hit “Classical Gas” by Mason Williams.
At the height of his career Gordon was reportedly so busy as a studio musician that he would fly back to Los Angeles from Las Vegas every day to do two or three recording sessions, and then return in time to play the evening show at Caesars Palace.
In 1969 and 1970, Gordon toured as part of the backing band for the group Delaney & Bonnie, which at the time included Eric Clapton. Clapton subsequently took over the group’s rhythm section — Gordon, bassist Carl Radle and keyboardist-singer-songwriter Bobby Whitlock. They formed a new band that was later called Derek and the Dominos. The band’s first studio work was as the house band for George Harrison’s first solo album, the three-disc set All Things Must Pass. Gordon then played on Derek and the Dominos’ 1970 double album, Layla and Other Assorted Love Songs, contributing, in addition to his drumming, he played the piano for the title track, “Layla,” which he received writing credit for. (He was in the studio playing the piano part for a different song he was writing and Eric Clapton and Duane Allman started jamming to it. They made it part of “Layla”. He also played with the band on subsequent U.S. and UK tours. The group split in spring 1971 before they finished recording their second album.
In 1970, Gordon was part of Joe Cocker’s Mad Dogs and Englishmen tour and played on Dave Mason’s album Alone Together. In 1971, he toured with Traffic and appeared on two of their albums, including The Low Spark of High Heeled Boys. That same year he played on Harry Nilsson’s Nilsson Schmilsson album, contributing the drum solo to the track “Jump into the Fire”. In 1972, Gordon was part of Frank Zappa’s 20-piece “Grand Wazoo” big band tour, and the subsequent 10-piece “Petit Wazoo” band. Perhaps his best-known recording with Zappa is the title track of the 1974 album Apostrophe (‘), a jam with Zappa and Tony Duran on guitar and Jack Bruce on bass guitar, for which both Bruce and Gordon received a writing credit. Also in 1974, Gordon played on the majority of tracks on Steely Dan’s album Pretzel Logic, including the single “Rikki Don’t Lose That Number”. He again worked with Chris Hillman of the Byrds as the drummer in the Souther–Hillman–Furay Band from 1973 to 1975. He also played drums on three tracks on Alice Cooper’s 1976 album, Alice Cooper Goes to Hell. Gordon was the drummer on the Incredible Bongo Band’s Bongo Rock album, released in 1972, and his drum break on the LP’s version of “Apache” has been frequently sampled by rap music artists.
Gordon developed schizophrenia and began to hear voices, including those of his mother, which forced him to starve himself and prevented him from sleeping, relaxing or playing drums. In 1983 he attacked his mother with a hammer before fatally stabbing her.
Though at trial the court accepted that Gordon had acute schizophrenia he was not allowed to use an insanity defense because of changes to California law due to the Insanity Defense Reform Act. On 10 July 1984 Gordon was sentenced to 16 years to life in prison. According to the California Department of Corrections and Rehabilitation’s website , as of March 2013, James Beck Gordon, prisoner #C89262, age 67, admission date 13 July 1984, is still serving his sentence at the California Medical Facility, a specialist medical and psychiatric prison in Vacaville, California.
Jim was recently up for a parole hearing. He did not show up for it. He has said he is “institutionalized” and has no real desire to get out.
It was supposed to be the day before my birthday, but April 29th, 1999 will forever be one of the saddest days of my life. Instead of enjoying the festivities of my special day, it was spent helping coordinate between various family members, while my wife, a travel agent, made their travel arrangements to attend my father’s funeral.
I was not expecting to be summoned to the hospital that Thursday afternoon. Yes, my father was in the hospital once again. True, he had been having heart issues, complications from the coronary bypass he’d had many years ago. Certainly, he was taking better care of his health, exercising and eating right, but apparently, the damage had been done.
I visited Mr. Marty, as we liked to call him on a Monday. He was in good spirits, joking as usual. He even made disparaging comments about the food, which to me signaled he was on the mend. So I thought nothing of it, and went about my business as usual. This was not his first hospitalization, and those previous admissions had been mostly precautionary and of short duration.
Three days later, I got a call from his wife, “You better get down here right away,” she said with an urgency I had never heard before. “Your father is going back into surgery.” His second wife was not my favorite person, and rarely called us, so this was indeed a call we took very seriously. I picked up my wife at her office, and we went to Northwestern Memorial post haste.
Dad was already in surgery by the time we arrived at the hospital. It was an agonizing several hours, pacing back and forth, trying to get a handle on how things took a turn for the worse. Finally, the surgeon emerged with the news we dreaded the most. His sixty-nine year old heart was simply not strong enough to handle the stress of the latest surgery, and he died on the operating table.
I insisted on seeing him. My wife joined me, and in a state of numbness, We were escorted to some curtained off area, where there he was, pale, lifeless, yet lying peacefully on a metal gurney, draped by a solitary white sheet. I don’t know why, but after a few moments of reflection, I removed a dollar bill from my wallet, folded it up, and tucked it under his armpit. Why? Well, my brother, father and I used to share a private joke. It sprung from a Richard Pryor bit, and took on a life of its own when my brother would call or ask my dad for a buck. “Gimme a dollar,” one of us would exclaim. When all three of us were together, which wasn’t very often, it would result in raucous laughter. So if nothing else, I suppose Mr. Marty could have the last laugh when some bewildered employee at the funeral parlor would try to figure out what the bill was doing there.
Mr. Marty loved technology, and I always regret that he never lived to see the millennium. He bought a VCR when they first came out. He had a mobile telephone in his car, and a cell phone when they first became widely available. I remember when he developed an interest in photography, we converted our laundry room into a darkroom. We took pictures, developed the film ourselves, and made black and white prints, some of which I still have.
Speaking of the ubiquitous VCR, in the days before everything and anything could be saved for future viewing, one of our family pastimes was watching Dallas Cowboys football on Sundays. My brother David reminded me that Dad took this day of rest quite literally, and would nod off frequently, leading to another favorite family quip, “What’s the score, Mr. Marty?”
My Dad was one of those “early adopters.” In fact, he was the first person to show me the Internet. I remember stopping by to visit him, when he dragged me over to his neighbor in the converted warehouse that served as his office, and housed a number of other small businesses. They were a computer company, and he wanted to show me something called “the world wide web.” I guess this was around 1992 or 1993. On one of those large, old CRT monitors was the original “home page” for CBS television. I was mesmerized, as the computer guy clicked on images for Letterman and 60 Minutes. Each click led to another “page.” It was even in color.
It’s unfortunate that Mr. Marty never made it to see the Internet in its present state. I have no doubt, he would have loved all the social media that exists today. Since his grandchildren live all over the country, he would have lived on Facebook, following every milestone, sporting event, and accomplishment. Similarly, he would have been telling me how to use Twitter, Instagram, and the other social tools for my business.
As despondent as I was over the tragedy of his loss, I actually had to go back to work that night. We had a thriving business at the time supplying newspaper websites with postgame audio from sporting events. This was in RealAudio. Our reporters would feed the interviews over the telephone, and I would record it on cassette machines. Then I would play them back an record it on the computers. Mp3 technology was still a few years in the future. We even had to deliver the files via 56k dialup. It was brand new, cutting edge stuff, and no one else could easily perform it, or process the incoming audio as fast.
Therefore, I had to try and overlook the days events. I dropped my wife off to retrieve her car at work, and headed back to the office. It was early in the NBA and NHL playoffs, and our clients had games on both coasts, as well as here in the Midwest. A typical night involved five or six events, so as I finished up one game in New York, another “stringer” might call in from Detroit or St. Louis. The last of the reporters usually phoned in just after midnight. Somehow I was able to keep my composure, and stay focused on the task at hand.
Finally, at quarter to one in the morning, mentally exhausted, and physically spent, I was able to close up shop and make the short drive home. I know there’s a higher power up there, with a good sense of humor, and a definite grasp of true irony. I turned on the car radio to try to decompress and what song comes on – “Carry On My Wayward Son” by Kansas. The day went from sublime to surreal….
…and that’s when I lost it.
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“It’s not true I had nothing on, I had the radio on.”
~ Marilyn Monroe
On this feature of The Award Winning 3D RadioActivity, along with Seanimal, the on-the-Airedale, we are going back to Part II of a very early show and calling for the coolest canine cuts, terrier tunes, tracks, and music about and by man’s best friend.All the doggone good music listed here has been featured either on The 3D RadioActivity Facebook Site this month or in this special show. Sean and I sure hope you will tune in and like it! B)
We are coming up on our 200th program, which will be all requests, so make sure that I get them. If you can send it to me in an audio format, you will get to be on this special show! Tell me if you have any ideas for our Bicentennial or any other of our future programs. Please be sure to let me know… It’s easy to reply or just send an email by clicking on my name below or message me on Facebook, where you will find links to all the previous podcasts along with the graphics in the “Photo” section.
Check us out on Groovy Radio, TuneIn.com, and InternetFM too. There have been another record number of hits again this week on the Facebook page, thanks for stopping by and taking a few moments to Like the program. Please, tell your friends about us too.
“It’s not true I had nothing on, I had the radio on.”
The Wrecking Crew is a film about the best musicians in Los Angeles before, during and after the 1960’s. That was the nickname coined by drummer Hal Blaine for a group of studio and session entertainers that played anonymously on many records in Los Angeles, during that decade. According to Blaine, the name was derived from the impression that he and the younger studio artists made on the business’s older generation, who felt that they were going to wreck the music industry. They backed dozens of popular singers, and were one of the most successful groups in history. You can learn more about this documentary and where to see it by visiting the website http://wreckingcrewfilm.com/
The members were versatile and typically had formal backgrounds in jazz or classical music. The talents of this group of “first call” players were used on almost every style of recording including television theme songs, film scores, advertising jingles and almost every genre of American popular music. Notable artists employing their talents included Elvis along with other favorites like Frank and Nancy Sinatra, Bobby Vee, The Partridge Family, The Mamas & the Papas, The Carpenters, The Monkees, Bing Crosby, The 5th Dimension, Simon & Garfunkel, John Denver, The Beach Boys, and Nat King Cole. They were among the inaugural “Sidemen” inductees to the Musicians Hall of Fame and Museum in 2000.
Next week we will be wrapping up the month of Dog-ust with a big bow as we play terrier tunes and other choice canine cuts! If you have any ideas please be sure to let me know. It’s easy to send an email by clicking on my name below or message me on Facebook, where you will find links to Like the previous podcasts along with the graphics in the “Photo” section.
“It’s not true I had nothing on, I had the radio on.”