Austin country music legend Jerry Jeff Walker dead at 78

Talk 1370 Newsroom
October 24, 2020 - 10:39 am
Jerry Jeff Walker

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AUSTIN (Talk1370.com) -- One of the musicians who helped make Austin the Live Music Capital of the World, Jerry Jeff Walker, has died.

Walker, best known for the song "Mr. Bojangles", died Friday at the age of 78. He reportedly suffered from throat cancer and complications from pneumonia for the last few years, though no official cause of death has been released.

He was born Ronald Clyde Crosby in Oneonta, New York, and was part of the 1960s Greenwich Village folk music scene before adopting his new name in 1966 and writing "Mr. Bojangles" in 1968. While Walker's original release of the song never saw great success, its biggest hit came with the Nitty Gritty Dirt Band in 1970, and dozens of other artists either recorded or performed the song, including Sammy Davis Jr., Dolly Parton, and Bob Dylan.

Walker moved to Austin in the early 1970s and "reinvented himself as a Lone Star country-rocker," according to his own biography. He, along with Willie Nelson and Asleep at the Wheel, helped shape what became known as "outlaw country" and the much-heralded Austin live music scene.

Walker recorded a string of records for MCA and Elektra before forming his own independent label, Tried & True Music, in 1986. His final album, It's About Time, was released in 2018.

Walker is survived by his wife and manager Susan, daughter Jessie Jane and son Django Walker.

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