Rock & Roll Songwriter JJ Cale Dies, Left His Mark On Music History

James Johnson - Author

Jul. 29 2013, Updated 7:26 a.m. ET

Rock & Roll songwriter JJ Cale passed away this weekend. While you may not know his name, the songwriter’s songs include some of rock’s most recognizable hits.

In the 1970s, Cale helped pen such hits as After Midnight, Cocaine, and Call Me the Breeze. The first two hits became huge songs for singer/songwriter Eric Clapton, while the former was performed by Lynyrd Skynyrd.

JJ Cale passed away after suffering a heart attack; he was 74-years-old. The songwriter died at Scripps Hospital in La Jolia, California on Friday night.

While most people don’t know him by name, his anonymity never bothered Cale, who once proclaimed on his own website:

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“… it doesn’t bother me. That’s really nice is when you get a check in the mail.”

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Those checks continued through his death thanks to hits written for the likes of Clapton, Neil Young, Tom Petty, Johnny Cash, Mark Knopfler, The Allman Brothers, Carlos Santana, Captain Beefheart, and many others.

And while he didn’t step out into the spotlight, Neil Young in his memoir Waging Heavy Peace called JJ Cale one of the best guitar players to ever pick up the instrument. Young went so far as to compare Cale’s guitar playing to that of Jimi Hendrix.

Other hits written for Eric Clapton included Travelin’ Light and I’ll Make Love To You Anytime. Clapton and JJ Cale also worked together on the Grammy’s best contemporary blues album The Road To Escondido in 2008. Throughout the years, Clapton and Cale shared praise for one another and their relationship that lasted for more than 40 years.

With his combination of blues, country, and rock, JJ Cale created a sound that was uniquely his own but which also worked for so many rockers over the last 40+ years.

Are you a fan of JJ Cale and his various penned songs? What is your favorite JJ Cale created masterpiece?


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