Published Jul 27, 2013JJ Cale, the oft-covered American songwriter who penned classics like "Cocaine" and "After Midnight," died Friday (July 26) after a heart attack. He was 74.
Although Cale was a solo artist in his own right, his songs achieved the most fame when covered by others. His breakthrough came when Eric Clapton covered his tune "After Midnight" in 1970. Another iconic Clapton tune, "Cocaine," followed, along with songs covered by the likes of Tom Petty, Carlos Santana, Lynyrd Skynyrd, Captain Beefheart, Kansas, Widespread Panic and Waylon Jennings.
Cale hailed from Oklahoma, and he helped to pioneer the so-called "Tulsa Sound," a melting pot that drew together rockabilly, country, blues and jazz. Cale was also known for incorporating drum machines and synthesizers into his music.
He released a string of singles and solo albums, most recently dropping Roll On in 2009. He appeared on Eric Clapton's album Old Sock earlier this year.
Cale's biggest hit under his own name was "Crazy Mama," which charted in the early '70s. In 2006, he released a collaborative album with Clapton called The Road to Escondido, which won a Grammy Award for Best Contemporary Blues Album.
Cale's website now features a simple obituary explaining that he died at 8 p.m. on Friday at Scripps Memorial Hospital in La Jolla, CA. There are immediate no plans for a service.
The message adds, "Donations are not needed but he was a great lover of animals so, if you like, you can remember him with a donation to your favourite local animal shelter."