This was written and originally recorded by the Oklahoma blues guitarist J.J. Cale. Clapton gave Cale a huge boost he recorded Cale's song "After Midnight
" in 1970 and released it as his first solo single. This helped earn Cale a record deal and enough money to make music on his terms, which he did.
Cale recorded "Cocaine" on his fourth album, Troubadour
, released in 1976, and issued the song as the B-side of his single "Hey Baby," which was his last charting song as an artist, making #96 in the US.
When Clapton was looking for songs for his Slowhand
album, he once again looked to Cale, and chose "Cocaine," which became the first song on the set. Clapton would later cover Cale's song "Travelin' Light," and in 2006, the pair teamed up to record an album together called The Road To Escondido