Eric Clapton‘s hall of fame solo career started in 1970 and reached it’s decade high peak in 1977 with the album Slowhand. The album was based on Clapton’s actual nickname and featured some of his most popular hits, including “Lay Down Sally” and “Wonderful Tonight”, both of which were top 20 hits. Slowhand eventually sold over 3 million copies.

The album also featured a song written and originally performed by J.J. Cale, “Cocaine“. The song was actually anti-drug, though some coke fans in the late 1970s probably felt it was some sort of anthem written directly for them. The meaning has become clearer in recent years when Clapton adds “that dirty cocaine” when performing the song. Clapton’s version featured a harder guitar riff than Cale’s original, and better production values thanks to producer Glyns Johns (The Who, Led Zeppelin, The Rolling Stones), as well as one of Clapton’s signature solos. The song was a top 30 hit and continues to be one of Clapton’s most popular solo songs.

Eric Clapton’s “Cocaine”

J.J. Cale’s “Cocaine”