In 1969 and 1970, he 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 which was eventually called Derek & The Dominos. The band's first studio work was as the house band for George Harrison's 3 disc set All Things Must Pass. Gordon then played on the Derek & The Dominos' 1970 double album Layla and Other Assorted Love Songs, Gordon contributing the elegiac piano coda for the title track, "Layla", co written by Gordon and Clapton. He also toured with the band on subsequent U.S. and UK tours, but the group split in spring 1971 before having completed the recording of their second album.
In 1970, Gordon was part of Joe Cocker's Mad Dogs and Englishmen tour. In 1971, he toured with Traffic, appearing on two albums with them, including The Low Spark of High Heeled Boys. Later in 1972, Gordon was part of Frank Zappa's 20-piece "Grand Wazoo" big band tour, and the subsesequent 10-piece "Petit Wazoo" band. Perhaps his most well-known recording with Zappa was 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. He worked with Chris Hillman again when he was the drummer in the Souther-Hillman-Furay Band from 1973 to 1975. Some of his best work was with Dave Mason on his 1970 album Alone Together, where Gordon set new standards for rock drumming.
In June 1983, he murdered his mother with a hammer. It was not until his trial in 1984 that he was properly diagnosed. Due to the fact that his attorney was unable to use the insanity defense, he was sentenced to 16 years to life in prison with a possibility of parole. He 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. As of 2008, he remains incarcerated. Currently, there is a petition on line to assist him in either being released from prison or placed in a facility where he is able to receive more sophisticated treatment.