J.J. Cale, a quietly influential singer-songwriter who stayed in the background while better-known musicians had hits with his songs, including “After Midnight,” “Cocaine” and “Call Me the Breeze,” passed away July 26th at a hospital in La Jolla, California. He was 74.
Cale suffered a heart attack, according to his manager, Mike Kappus.
Cale won a Grammy Award for best contemporary blues album for “The Road to Escondido,” a recording he made in 2006 with Eric Clapton, but for years he was content to live in obscurity and let his understated songs speak for themselves.
“In my humble opinion,” Clapton wrote about Mr. Cale in his 2007 autobiography, “he is one of the most important artists in the history of rock, quietly representing the greatest asset his country has ever had.”
"We've lost a great artist and a great person," Clapton wrote on his Facebook page.
Other musicians who covered Cale's work include The Band, Chet Atkins, Freddie King, Maria Muldaur and Captain Beefheart, according to his biography, which also notes he was asked whether it bothered him that fellow musicians considered him a legend while many fans did not even know his name.
"No, it doesn't bother me," Cale said. "What's really nice is when you get a check in the mail."
Did you have a favorite by J.J. Cale? And btw, what's playing at your place tonight?