Original Song: J.J. Cale "Cocaine" (1976)


J.J. Cale, who wrote “Cocaine,” recorded it in 1976; Eric Clapton covered it on Slowhand in 1977. But they were both sniffing on Tulsa time. An environment where their subject matter made more sense at the end of the '70s is highlighted by this eight-minute “medley”'s midsection—titled “Discocaine” on the album—which aerates the music's nasal passages in ways those sleepy blues-rock cowpokes never could. Sounds more dangerous, too—just like the picture of Chi Chi herself, zonked out and tied up with her microphone cord in one disco's swank restroom (powder room?) on the LP's back cover, or whoever that is with a plastic bag over his head on the front. All of which matches “Cocaine”'s lyric, which (like the Memphis Jug Band's “Cocaine Habit Blues” or Grandmaster Flash's “White Lines”) are as much warning as endorsement: “Don't forget this fact, you can't get it back.” Anyway, this cut gave a Grace Jones–worthy center to one of the all-time weird disco-meets-rock LPs—even weirder given that its other songs were all co-written by a pre–New-Wave Lene Lovich.