'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
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.

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Jul 29, 2013 7:41 AM CDT
I have enjoyed a lot of your music. You will be missed. Rest in Peace.
Jul 28, 2013 9:06 AM CDT
J.J. humble as ever: "Hell, I can’t tell one of my albums from the next. I try not to make ‘em sound like anything else, but everything I do sounds like me. It is what it is.” “Am I laid back? I guess. I call my music ‘humming mud’, and my singing, if you can call it singing, is craggy and baggy. My range is kinda limited. One and a half notes — on a good day.” Counterbalanced by Neil Young:"JJ's guitar playing is a huge influence on me. His touch is unspeakable." "Most of the songs and the riffs - the way he plays the fucking guitar is so.. great. And he doesn't play very loud, either - I really like that about him. He's so sensitive. Of all the players I ever heard, it's gotta be Hendrix and JJ Cale who are the best electric guitar players."
Jul 27, 2013 10:02 PM CDT
Not everyday you see Beefheart mentioned in the news.