Jerry Jeff Walker

Born Ronald Clyde Crosby on March 16, 1942 in Oneonta, New York, the legendary outlaw country singer/songwriter was better known by his stage name Jerry Jeff Walker. Although his career in the music business lasted more than 50 years, his most popular composition remains “Mr. Bojangles”, a song that has been covered by many artists over the years including the Nitty Gritty Dirt Band and Sammy Davis Jr. Walker’s musical career began in the mid-‘60s when he was part of the burgeoning folk music scene in Greenwich Village. He was briefly a member of the band Circus Maximus, who released two albums, but Walker was back to pursuing a solo career by 1968. He released his debut solo album, Mr. Bojangles, in 1968 and while the album wasn’t an immediate hit, the public and his fellow musicians were mesmerized by the album’s title track. He relocated to Austin, Texas in the early 1970s and became associated with the ‘outlaw country’ movement that included Willie Nelson, Waylon Jennings, Guy Clark, Townes Van Zandt and others. His self-titled 1972 album was the first in a series of critically-successful albums for MCA and Elektra/Asylum Records including the Country Top 40 albums Ridin’ High (1975), It’s a Good Night for Singin’ (1976), A Man Must Carry On (1977), and Contrary to Ordinary (1978). By the ‘80s, his albums would be released by a series of labels including T&TM/Ryko and Warner Bros. As he continued to perform live and release studio releases, his previous labels sporadically released a series of compilations including Great Gonzos (1991). In 2017, Walker was diagnosed with throat cancer. The following year, he released the album It’s About Time. Jerry Jeff Walker died of throat cancer on October 23, 2020.

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