JJ Cale, Musician and 'After Midnight' Writer, Dies at 74
Keith Bernstein, Redferns

JJ Cale, the musician best known for writing the Eric Clapton hits "After Midnight" and "Cocaine," died Friday (July 26) at the age of 74. The singer-songwriter's official website confirms that Cale passed away at Scripps Hospital in La Jolla, Calif. on Friday night after suffering a heart attack.

Raised in Tulsa after being born in Oklahoma City in 1938, Cale played local clubs with Leon Russell before the two musicians, along with Carl Radle, moved to Los Angeles in 1964. One year later, Cale began a solo career and recorded his first version of "After Midnight."

After Cale signed to Shelter Records in 1969, Clapton recorded "After Midnight" and made it a smash hit. Cale's debut album, "Naturally," came in 1971, and featured the song "Call Me the Breeze," later covered and popularized by Lynyrd Skynyrd.

Throughout the 70s and 80s, Cale consistently released albums as a cult artist and hopped around labels like Shelter, MCA and Mercury while scoring minor hits like "Crazy Mama" and "Lies." Last January, "In Session at Paradise Studio," which featured at 1979 session at Los Angeles' Paradise Studios with Cale and Russell, was released as a deluxe CD/DVD.

According to Cale's official website, there are no immediate plans for funeral services.