“Late last night about a quarter past four
Somebody come knockin’ down my hotel room door
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Where’s the cocaine...
I said it’s runnin’ all ‘round my brain”
When Jackson Browne performed at the Mississippi River Festival at Southern Illinois University Edwardsville, he stayed in Room 124 at the nearby Holiday Inn. In that room on Aug. 17-18, 1977, he recorded “Cocaine” and “Shaky Town.” He even mentioned that he’d recorded the songs there in the “Running on Empty” album liner notes.
Well, the hotel atop the bluff on Illinois 157 near Interstate 270 became dated, became a Knights Inn and then became history on Nov. 15, 1993. They saved the lobby, but Room 124 and the rest of the rooms were razed to build a Comfort Inn.
The 1977 gig was Browne’s third trip to the MRF, but his first as the lead act. He was in the backup band for both Yes and America during the previous appearances.
BND photographer Walter Grogan was a master of lyrics and music trivia, so it was appropriate that he was there to capture the death of a little rock ‘n’ roll history.