Guitarist and singer/songwriter J.J. Cale died of a heart attack on Friday. He was 74.
Cale was a musician’s musician. While not a household name, his songs were recorded by the likes of Johnny Cash, Chet Atkins, Captain Beefheart, Waylon Jennings, Lynyrd Skynyrd, Herbie Mann, and most notably Eric Clapton. Cale told the AP back in 2006, “I’d probably be selling shoes today if it wasn’t for Eric.”
Cale had been a struggling musician for well over a decade when Clapton recorded “After Midnight” in 1970. It resulted in a recording contract for Cale and lots of royalty checks. The only single Cale recorded that reached the Billboard charts was in 1972 with “Crazy Mama”. Clapton later recorded another Cale composition simply titled “Cocaine”. In 2006, Cale and Clapton would collaborate on an album titled The Road to Escondido which earned them a Grammy for Best Contemporary Blues Album. Here are Cale and Clapton discussing the making of this album.
I would have written this earlier, but thought it would be most appropriate to wait until after midnight.