The sudden and unexpected passing of Poco singer, guitarist and songwriter this past Sunday is especially tragic in light of the fact that it follows by only a few months the sudden death of another Poco stalwart, Rusty Young.

Cotton, who left his first band, Illinois Speed Press, to join the band in 1970 as a replacement for original member Jim Messina, wrote several of the group’s most memorable songs  — “Bad Weather,” “Indian Summer,” and two of their later hits, “Heart of the Night” and “Under the Gun.”  He stayed with the band until 1987, appearing on 14 of the group’s albums, sharing a predominant role in the group alongside Young after the departure of founding member Richie Furay. He then rejoined the group in 1991 and stayed with them for nearly a decade, releasing five albums of his own as well. He eventually moved to Key West Florida where he led a leisurely life along with playing occasional local gigs.

A Final Farewell to Poco Legend Paul Cotton