Eric Clapton: “Cocaine” (1977)

Clapton turns another J.J. Cale song into gold, although in most of the world this was a B side.

Kronomyth 7.15: Blowhand.

It’s one of the more interesting discographical facts that Eric Clapton’s “Cocaine” was never released as the A side of a single, save in Japan. In most of the world, this single was flipped to give “Lay Down Sally” the honor. Both are great songs, of course, but maybe RSO was trying to conserve plastic. Even without the single promotion, radio stations played the snot out of this song (sorry), and today it would make a short list of “world’s greatest drug songs,” which, for the sake of discussion, would include:

  • The Beatles: “Lucy in the Sky with Diamonds”
  • Black Sabbath: “Sweet Leaf”
  • Neil Young: “The Needle and the Damage Done”
  • The Velvet Underground: “Heroin”
  • The Rolling Stones: “Sister Morphine”
  • Talking Heads: “Drugs”

For some reason, the Japanese single doesn’t list George Terry on the writing credits of “Lay Down Sally.” Although Clapton didn’t write “Cocaine” (it was another J.J. Cale song), he brought his own life experience to the song as a cocaine user, which I guess would have made all that cocaine tax-deductible as job-related research.

Original 7-inch single version

A1. Cocaine (J.J. Cale) (3:38)
B1. Lay Down Sally (Marcy Levy/Eric Clapton) (3:52)

The Plastic

Released on 7-inch single in 1977 in Japan (RSO, DWQ6048) with picture sleeve.

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