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Jerry Jeff Walker, the country singer who wrote the 1968 hit “Mr. Bojangles,” has died, according to a local report in CNY News. He was 78.
No cause of death was released.
Born Ronald Clyde Crosby in 1942 in Oneonta, New York, the singer adopted the stage name Jerry Jeff Walker in the mid ’60s and played in bands including The Tones and Circus Maximus before pursuing a solo career as a folk and country artist.
“Mr. Bojangles,” a song about a tap-dancing drifter, has been covered numerous times by the likes of Neil Diamond, Bob Dylan, Sammy Davis Jr., Whitney Houston and Dolly Parton.
Walker was diagnosed with throat cancer in 2017. His final album was About Time in 2018.
He is survived by his wife and manager Susan Streit and their two children, Django Walker — who is a country singer — and daughter Jessie Jane.
Following Walker’s death, tributes were posted on social media from fans, entertainment industry members and colleagues in the music industry.
Lost my buddy @jerryjeffwalker last night! One of the great Lone Star bad asses – gave me a gig in the 70s when he was the king in my neck of the woods- Adios Amigo – tell @GuyClarkKCA I said hey- RIP-
— Kix Brooks (@KixBrooks) October 24, 2020
I know that 90% of the people reading this never heard of Guy Clark or Jerry Jeff Walker. Go listen to JJW’s version of LA Freeway to get why they matter so much to the other 10%. Then dive deep into their cataloged. Rip JJW.
— Brian Koppelman (@briankoppelman) October 24, 2020
Jerry Jeff Walker passed. Great songwriter, soulful voice, respected by peers & funny. 30 years ago Roseanne wanted to sing Mr Bojangles in an HBO Special They said no that would disrespect Jerry. I called Jerry & he said he’d also written “Pissing in the wind”so why the hell not
— Tom Arnold (@TomArnold) October 24, 2020
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