JJ Cale, Songwriter of ‘Cocaine,’ Dead at 74

JJ Cale Cocaine

Grammy-winning musician wrote for Santana, the Allman Brothers

JJ Cale, the musician who wrote “Cocaine” and “After Midnight” for Eric Clapton and songs for numerous other artists, died Friday of a heart attack in La Jolla, Calif. He was 74.

His agent confirmed the news to CNN.

Among the other artists who performed his laid-back songs were Santana, the Allman Brothers, Johnny Cash, Tom Petty, The Band, Captain Beefheart and Lynyrd Skynyrd, who performed Cale’s “Call Me the Breeze.”

His biggest song as a solo artist was “Crazy Mama,” from his album “Naturally,” which peaked at #22 in 1972.

He continued to work long after the early 1970s heyday of the bluesy, country-tinged rock and rollers had passed, winning a Grammy in 2006 for his album with Clapton, “The Road to Escondido.”

Born and raised in Oklahoma where he started playing music as Johnny Cale, he moved to Los Angeles in the mid-60s, where he was encouraged by Whiskey A Go Go owner Elmer Valentine to start using the initials JJ to avoid confusion with the Velvet Underground’s John Cale.

Filed Under:

Want to read more articles like this one? SUBSCRIBE TO VARIETY TODAY.
Post A Comment 4

Marketplace

    Leave a Reply

    4 Comments

    Comments are moderated. They may be edited for clarity and reprinting in whole or in part in Variety publications.

    Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

    WordPress.com Logo

    You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

    Twitter picture

    You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

    Facebook photo

    You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

    Google+ photo

    You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

    Connecting to %s

    More Music News from Variety

    Loading