Singer-songwriter J.J. Cale dead at 74


J.J. Cale, the songwriter behind Eric Clapton classics such as “Cocaine” and “After Midnight,” died Friday at the age of 74.

The singer-songwriter’s official website confirmed Cale passed away at Scripps Hospital in La Jolla after suffering a heart attack Friday night.

Born John Weldon Cale in Oklahoma City, he’s revered for pioneering the “Tulsa Sound,” a blend of rockabilly, country, jazz and blues.


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Cale, who scored minor solo hits like “Crazy Mama” and “Lies,” is better known for tunes like “After Midnight” and “Cocaine” which Clapton covered and turned into smashes.

In a career that spanned more than five decades Cale issued 14 albums and his songs have been covered by a slew of iconic musicians including Johnny Cash, Tom Petty, Waylon Jennings and Captain Beefheart.

Though his first single, “Shock Hop/Sneaky” came out in 1958, Cale didn’t release a proper debut until 1971. “Naturally” featured songs like “Call Me the Breeze” (later popularized by Lynyrd Skynyrd), “Clyde” (a 1980 hit for Jennings) and “After Midnight.”

Clyde eventually collaborated with Clapton. The pair released “The Road to Escondido” in 2006. The project won the Grammy for contemporary blues album in 2008.

Complete obituary: J.J. Cale dies at 74; songwriter wrote ‘Cocaine’ and ‘After Midnight’