J. J. Cale, a musician and songwriter whose blues-inflected rock influenced some of the genre’s biggest names and whose songs were recorded by Eric Clapton and Johnny Cash, among others, died on Friday in the La Jolla neighborhood of San Diego. He was 74.
The cause was a heart attack, a statement posted on his Web site said.
He is best known as the writer of “Cocaine” and “After Midnight,” songs made famous when they were recorded by his collaborator Eric Clapton.
A multi-instrumentalist, Mr. Cale often played all of the parts on his albums, also recording and mixing them himself. He is also credited as one of the architects of the 1970s Tulsa sound, a blend of rockabilly, blues, country and rock that came to influence the likes of Neil Young and Bryan Ferry. He won a Grammy Award in 2007 for an album with Mr. Clapton, “The Road to Escondido.”
“Basically, I’m just a guitar player that figured out I wasn’t ever gonna be able to buy dinner with my guitar playing,” Mr. Cale told an interviewer for his official biography. “So I got into songwriting, which is a little more profitable business.”
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