'After Midnight' Songwriter Dead at 74 JJ Cale penned tunes made famous by Eric Clapton, pioneered Tulsa Sound By Ruth Brown, Newser Staff Posted Jul 27, 2013 2:46 PM CDT 45 comments Comments Singer-songwriter JJ Cale plays during the Eric Clapton Crossroads Guitar Festival. (AP Photo/Tony Gutierrez, File) (Newser) – JJ Cale, the singer-songwriter who first penned Eric Clapton's hits "After Midnight" and "Cocaine" passed away yesterday due to a heart attack, reports the LA Times. He was 74. Born John Weldon Cale (he changed his name to avoid confusion with the Velvet Underground's John Cale, notes the BBC), Cale was a performer in his own right, releasing 14 albums in his five-decade career, and pioneering the "Tulsa Sound"—a mix of blues, country, and rockabilly. His 2006 collaboration with Clapton, The Road to Escondido, won a Grammy for Best Contemporary Blues Album. But Cale may be best remembered for songs that were made famous by others—in addition to Clapton, his tunes were covered by Johnny Cash, Tom Petty, Waylon Jennings, and Captain Beefheart.