|Song by JJ Cale from the album Troubadour|
|Troubadour track listing|
|Single by Eric Clapton|
|from the album Slowhand|
|B-side||"Lay Down Sally"|
"Cocaine" is a song written and recorded in 1976 by JJ Cale, who was until then a little known country blues singer with a particular relaxed style. Both Cale and the song became famous when a hugely successful cover version was recorded by Eric Clapton. Allmusic calls the latter "among [Clapton's] most enduringly popular hits" and notes that "even for an artist like Clapton with a huge body of high-quality work, 'Cocaine' ranks among his best."
Glyn Johns, who had previously worked with The Who, Led Zeppelin and The Rolling Stones, produced the Clapton recording, which was released on the 1977 album Slowhand and as a single in 1980. The live version of "Cocaine", from the Just One Night album recorded in Tokyo, charted on the Billboard Hot 100 as the B-side of "Tulsa Time", which was a No. 30 hit in 1980. "Cocaine" was one of several of Cale's songs recorded by Clapton, including "After Midnight" and "Travelin' Light".
JJ Cale version
|Austria (Ö3 Austria Top 40)||5|
|Germany (Media Control AG)||22|
|New Zealand (Recorded Music NZ)||1|
|Switzerland (Schweizer Hitparade)||2|
Eric Clapton version
|Canada Top Singles (RPM)||3|
|US Billboard Hot 100||30|
Eric Clapton describes "Cocaine" as an anti-drug song. He has called the song "quite cleverly anti-cocaine", noting:
It's no good to write a deliberate anti-drug song and hope that it will catch. Because the general thing is that people will be upset by that. It would disturb them to have someone else shoving something down their throat. So the best thing to do is offer something that seems ambiguous—that on study or on reflection actually can be seen to be "anti"—which the song "Cocaine" is actually an anti-cocaine song. If you study it or look at it with a little bit of thought ... from a distance ... or as it goes by ... it just sounds like a song about cocaine. But actually, it is quite cleverly anti-cocaine.—Eric Clapton
Because of its ambiguous message, Clapton did not perform the song in many of his concerts; over the years, Clapton has added the lyrics 'that dirty cocaine' in live shows to underline the anti-drug message of the song.
Other cover versions
In 2008, country singer Gretchen Wilson quoted the melody from the tag end of the chorus ("she don't lie, she don't lie, she don't lie") for her song "Work Hard, Play Harder" (which also borrowed from The Black Crowes). The hard rock band Black Robot covered the song on their 2010 self-titled album. Post-Grunge band Puddle of Mudd included a cover as a bonus track for their 2011 covers-album Re:(Disc)overed.
Also, the band Old Lady Drivers has a cover of this song on his 1988´s debut album. The Dallas based rap rock band Pimpadelic covers it as an easter egg on their 2002 album Reb Deville.
In popular culture
- Song Review of Clapton's cover of "Cocaine" by Allmusic
- Kent, David (1993). Australian Chart Book 1970–1992. Australian Chart Book. ISBN 0-646-11917-6.
- "J.J. Cale – Cocaine – Austriancharts.at" (in German). Ö3 Austria Top 40.
- "Die ganze Musik im Internet: Charts, News, Neuerscheinungen, Tickets, Genres, Genresuche, Genrelexikon, Künstler-Suche, Musik-Suche, Track-Suche, Ticket-Suche – musicline.de" (in German). Media Control Charts. PhonoNet GmbH.
- "Indice per Interprete: C". HitParadeItalia (it). Retrieved 4 June 2013.
- "Charts.org.nz – J.J. Cale – Cocaine". Top 40 Singles.
- "Swedishcharts.com – J.J. Cale – Cocaine". Singles Top 60.
- "J.J. Cale – Cocaine – swisscharts.com". Swiss Singles Chart.
- "RPM 100 Singles" (PHP). RPM 33 (24): 9. September 6, 1980. Retrieved March 28, 2011.
- "Eric Clapton: Chart & Awards – Billboard Singles". Allmusic. United States: Rovi Corporation. Retrieved March 28, 2011.
- The Best of Everything Show, with Dan Neer
- "Eric Clapton Rethinks Playing'Cocaine'". Fox News Channel. October 3, 2006. Retrieved July 9, 2010.
- "Eric Clapton rethinks playing 'Cocaine'". Historyofalcoholanddrugs.typepad.com. October 5, 2006. Retrieved July 9, 2010.