By far the best version of “Mr. Bojangles” is by Sammy Davis Jr.
If you disagree, fight me.
Unless you’re thinking of the original by Jerry Jeff Walker, which I’ll also accept. It’s a very different song with a very different feel, which is why it works. Everyone else – including Neil Diamond and Nina Simone, it pains me to admit – just come off as second-rate Sammies, cause the man’s fucking incomparable.
There’s a great story behind the song, which Wikipedia does an adequate job synopsizing.