Famous as a frontman, guitarist, and songwriter for the California-based country rock group Poco, he penned the band's 1979 hit single "Heart of the Night."
Before becoming a member of Poco, he helped found a rock band called Illinois Speed Press.
His solo recordings include "Sunset Kidd," "When the Coast is Clear," and "100% PAUL COTTON."
He spent his youth in Fort Rucker, Alabama.
He joined Poco as a replacement for Jim Messina.