BREAKING: Legendary musician J.J. Cale has died

Photo: J.J. Cale/Wikimedia

LOS ANGELES, July 27, 2013 — Legendary songwriter, J.J. Cale, has died at the age of 74. According his his management, Cale suffered a heart attack and died in a hospital in La Jolla, California yesterday.

J.J. Cale wrote legendary songs that were made famous by other musicians. Most notable among his many songs were, “After Midnight,” “Cocaine” and “Call Me the Breeze.”

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In fact, Cale had accepted that a career in music was not going to work out for him when Eric Clapton decided to cover “After Midnight,” a song Cale had written and recorded in 1966. He had no idea that Clapton had done so until he heard the song on the radio in 1970.

In an interview with Mojo, he said, “I was dirt poor, not making enough to eat and I wasn’t a young man. I was in my thirties, so I was very happy. It was nice to make some money.” From that point, J.J. Cale’s musical life took flight.

He recorded his first album, Naturally, the following year and it was released in 1972. In all, J.J. Cale released eight singles, the first of which was released in 1958, and 14 solo albums.

In addition to Clapton’s versions, his songs have been covered by many musicians such as Tom Petty, Carlos Santana, Lynyrd Skynyrd, Waylon Jennings, Kansas, and Widespread Panic.


Most musicians and diehard fans know of J.J. Cale, but many fans have no idea that Eric Clapton did not write “After Midnight” or “Cocaine.” This fact was not lost on Cale, however, in a response to whether it bothered him, Cale replied, “No, it doesn’t bother me. What’s really nice is when you get a check in the mail.”

In 2006, J.J. Cale finally recorded an album with Clapton called, “The Road To Escondido.” The album won the 2008 Grammy Award for Best Contemporary Blues Album.

No plans have been announced for memorial services. J.J. Cale will be missed.

Kevin J. Wells writes about Major League Baseball and punk rock music for The Washington Times Communities. Follow him on Twitter @WellsOnBaseball


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Kevin J Wells

Kevin J. Wells was born and raised in the Los Angeles area in a town called Montrose.  He currently plays guitar for and is a founding member of the Los Angeles punk rock band Emmer Effer.  He has worked in a number of different career fields including Behavioral Therapy, Commodities, Insurance, and most recently a food cart in Portland, OR. Kevin has been both a sports and entertainment columnist and editor for The Washington Times Communities since January 2013.

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