Cocaine (song)

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JJ Cale - Cocaine.jpg
German picture sleeve
Single by J. J. Cale
from the album Troubadour
A-side"Hey Baby"
GenreBlues rock
Songwriter(s)J. J. Cale
Producer(s)Audie Ashworth

"Cocaine" is a song written and recorded in 1976 by singer-songwriter J. J. Cale. The song was popularized by Eric Clapton after his cover version was released on the 1977 album Slowhand.


Chart (1977–1979) Peak
Australia (Kent Music Report)[1] 45
Austria (Ö3 Austria Top 40)[2] 5
Germany (Official German Charts)[3] 22
New Zealand (Recorded Music NZ)[4] 1
Sweden (Sverigetopplistan)[5] 10
Switzerland (Schweizer Hitparade)[6] 2

Eric Clapton version[edit]

Cocaine cover.jpg
Dutch picture sleeve
Single by Eric Clapton
from the album Slowhand
A-side"Lay Down Sally"
ReleasedNovember 1977
RecordedMay 1977
GenreBlues rock
Songwriter(s)J. J. Cale
Producer(s)Glyn Johns
Eric Clapton singles chronology
"Wonderful Tonight"

Glyn Johns produced the Clapton recording, which was released on the 1977 album Slowhand. A live version of "Cocaine" from the album Just One Night 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". AllMusic critic Richard Gilliam called it "among [Clapton's] most enduringly popular hits" and noted that "even for an artist like Clapton with a huge body of high-quality work, 'Cocaine' ranks among his best."[7]

Clapton described "Cocaine" as an anti-drug song. He called the song "quite cleverly anti-cocaine", noting:[8]

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.

Because of its ambiguous message, Clapton did not perform the song in many of his concerts; over the years, he has added the lyrics 'that dirty cocaine' in live shows to underline the anti-drug message of the song.[9][10]


Chart (1980) Peak
Canada Top Singles (RPM)[11] 3
Netherlands (Dutch Tip 40)[12] 14
US Billboard Hot 100[13] 30


Region Certification Certified units/sales
Canada (Music Canada)[14] Gold 75,000^
Italy (FIMI)[15] Gold 25,000double-dagger
Netherlands (NVPI)[16] Platinum 150,000^

^shipments figures based on certification alone
double-daggersales+streaming figures based on certification alone

See also[edit]


  1. ^ Kent, David (1993). Australian Chart Book 1970–1992. St Ives, N.S.W.: Australian Chart Book. ISBN 0-646-11917-6.
  2. ^ " – J.J. Cale – Cocaine" (in German). Ö3 Austria Top 40. Retrieved June 12, 2014.
  3. ^ " – J.J. Cale – Cocaine". GfK Entertainment Charts. Retrieved June 12, 2014.
  4. ^ " – J.J. Cale – Cocaine". Top 40 Singles. Retrieved June 12, 2014.
  5. ^ " – J.J. Cale – Cocaine". Singles Top 100. Retrieved June 12, 2014.
  6. ^ " – J.J. Cale – Cocaine". Swiss Singles Chart. Retrieved June 12, 2014.
  7. ^ Gilliam, Richard. "Eric Clapton – Cocaine – Song Review". AllMusic. All Media Network. Retrieved June 12, 2014.
  8. ^ The Best of Everything Show, with Dan Neer
  9. ^ "Eric Clapton Rethinks Playing'Cocaine'". Fox News Channel. Associated Press. December 31, 1969. Retrieved July 9, 2010.
  10. ^ "Eric Clapton rethinks playing 'Cocaine'". Alcohol and Drugs History Society. October 5, 2006. Retrieved July 9, 2010.
  11. ^ "Top RPM Singles: Issue 0234a." RPM. Library and Archives Canada. Retrieved June 12, 2014.
  12. ^ "Tipparade-lijst van week 51, 1977". Dutch Top 40. Retrieved August 8, 2015.
  13. ^ "Eric Clapton – Artist Biography". AllMusic. All Media Network. Retrieved June 12, 2014.
  14. ^ "Canadian single certifications – Eric Clapton – Cocaine". Music Canada.
  15. ^ "Italian single certifications – Eric Clapton – Cocaine" (in Italian). Federazione Industria Musicale Italiana. Select "2017" in the "Anno" drop-down menu. Select "Cocaine" in the "Filtra" field. Select "Singoli online" under "Sezione".
  16. ^ Härtel, Alexander (1997). Platin Songs (in German). Berlin: Kupijai & Prochnow. pp. 12–17. ISBN 3-932051-46-7.

External links[edit]