Mr. Bojangles – The Nitty Gritty Dirt Band

THIS DAY IN MUSIC………………………….on January 2nd of 1970 a cover version of Jerry Jeff Walker’s “Mr. Bojangles” by The Nitty Gritty Dirt Band enters the Billboard Top 40 on its way to number nine. The record would stay in the Hot 100 for an amazing thirty-six weeks. “Mr. Bojangles” was the nickname used by Bill Robinson, a black tap dancer who appeared in many movies in the 1930s, including with Shirley Temple in Rebecca of Sunnybrook Farm. After Robinson’s success, many black street dancers became known as “Bojangles.” This was written and originally released by the singer/songwriter Jerry Jeff Walker, who wrote the song in the mid-’60s and recorded it in 1968. Walker left his home in upstate New York and traveled the country playing music. He spent some time in New Orleans, where one day he was a bit tipsy and made a public display trying to convince a young lady that love at first sight was real. This landed him in jail, where his cell mate was an older black man who made a living as a street dancer and told Walker all about his life.