The name J. J. Cale may be unfamiliar to some, but the reclusive Grammy award winning singer/songer writer has had some of his songs covered by some big named stars such as Johnny Cash, Eric clapton, and Lynyrd Skynyrd. The veteran musician recently passed away at the age of 74 after suffering from a heart attack.
Born in Oklahoma City, but raised in Tulsa Oklahoma, Cale picked up the guitar at the age of 10. He remained a guitar player throughout his life, but originally moved to Los Angeles in the 1960’s working as a studio engineer.
After a successful run with Delaney and Bonnie Bramlett and the release of a few solo singles he recorded including “After Midnight”, Cale returned to Tulsa expecting to get a day job and continue his passion by doing shows on the weekends in local venues.
It was one day in 1970 while Cale was driving around Tulsa that he heard a cover of “After Midnight” by Johnny Cash on the radio.
Things snowballed for Cale after that, as his blues, country and jazz influenced music became widely admired by a number of popular artist at the time. This led him to write the song “Call Me The Breeze” for Lynyrd Skynyrd. He continued to work with Eric Clapton writing “Cocaine” in 1976 up to 2013 where he put his guitar and vocal skills on “Angel”, off of Clapton’s latest album ‘Old Sock’.
The self-described “semi-retired” Cale leaves behind a legacy of 16 albums, chart topping songs that all have a signature, laid back style, and the unique Tulsa Sound that was a staple of the 1970’s.
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