Jerry Jeff Walker, a country singer-songwriter known for penning the hit “Mr. Bojangles,” has died at the age of 78 after a long battle with throat cancer.
It was Jerry Jeff who first drove Jimmy Buffett to Key West from Coconut Grove, Florida in a Packard. Walker and Buffett also co-wrote the song “Railroad Lady” while riding the last run of the Panama Limited.
In 1971, Walker moved to Austin, Texas, where he was riveted by the “rapidly-evolving music scene” thanks to its mix of country, rock, folk and blues, otherwise known as “progressive country” or “cosmic cowboy” music.
Walker had some trouble with alcohol and drugs, which his obituary notes led to his reputation of “rowdy performances and offstage excess.”
His recording career spanned 51 years and he released 36 albums, including compilations. He became known as a mentor to musicians such as Garth Brooks, Jimmy Buffett, Guy Clark, Todd Snider and Lucinda Williams.