JJ Cale Dies Of A Heart Attack

JJ Cale Dies Of A Heart Attack

According to a recent update on his website and Facebook page, one of the originators of the laid back Tulsa Sound, JJ Cale has recently died of a heart attack at the age of 74, on 8:00pm on Friday the 26th of July in a Californian hospital. Mike Kappus, the president of his management company Rosebud Agency, has confirmed this announcement in an email to CNN. Kappus says, JJ Cale "was loved even more dearly by all those he came in contact with as the most real and down-to-earth person we all knew.”

JJ Cale Dies Of A Heart Attack

He was born John Weldon Cale on the 5th of December 5, 1938, in Oklahoma City, Oklahoma. He changed his name to "JJ" to avoid confusion from John Cale of The Velvet Underground. He moved to Los Angeles in the early 1960s and he released a few singles for the Liberty Record label. One of his B-Sides was a number called 'After Midnight' but he struggled to find any success, so he returned back to Tulsa.

Here is the original rare B-Side recording of 'After Midnight', originally released in 1966.

JJ Cale Dies Of A Heart Attack

Eric Clapton had a major hit with that B-Side, 'After Midnight'. It was the catalyst for Cale's solo career. According to Mojo magazine, when he heard Clapton’s version playing on his radio, “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.” JJ Cale record his first debut album in 1972 on Leon Russell's "Shelter" label. The album titled 'Naturally' featured his first ever real hit with 'Crazy Mama' and a re-recording of 'After Midnight'. Both songs charted on the American Billboard charts and it launched his career.

After Midnight

JJ Cale's most enduringly popular hit in Australia was 'Cocaine', which Eric Clapton also famously covered. In Australia, the 12 inch vinyl extended version was a well sought after collector's item. The original song came from JJ Cale's forth album, 'Troubadour' but the extended edition stretched the original song that was less than three minutes, to six minutes and seventeen seconds.


He also charted overseas with other popular songs such as 'Crazy Mama' and 'Lies'. His songs were covered from a plethora of artists from Captain Beefheart, Tom Petty, Santana, Waylon Jennings, George Thorogood & The Destroyers, The Allman Brothers, Johnny Cash, Maggie Bell, Poco, Jerry Garcia Band, Maria Muldaur, Dr Hook, Puddle Of Mudd, Nazareth, Beck, Spiritualized and Lynyrd Skynyrd. Even UK Post Punk band, Wire did a screaming and barely recognisable version of 'After Midnight'.

JJ Cale Dies Of A Heart Attack

It didn't bother him that fans knew of his music didn’t know his name. "No, it doesn't bother me," Cale said with glee in an interview posted on his website. "What's really nice is when you get a cheque in the mail." JJ Cale was a true visionary and influential artist that has released a total of fourteen studio albums, one live album and three collaborations, including two of them with Eric Clapton. He won a Grammy Award for his 2006 album with Clapton, called 'The Road to Escondido'.

Crazy Mama


His life on the road and his history was highlighted on the documentary, 'To Tulsa and Back - On Tour with JJ Cale'.

Eric Clapton has stated that his hit song "Lay Down Sally" was his homage to JJ Cale. JJ Cale's final recording was on Eric Clapton's latest album, 'Old Sock' with a song called 'Angel'. Eric had this to say about the recording, "We had JJ's voice on it and it was another homage to him, with him on it and I liked the song a lot".

Eric Clapton with JJ Cale - Angel

Follow The Dwarf on Facebook

Comments ()

Use comma to separate email addresses
Or open in