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J.J. Cale, Songwriter on Eric Clapton’s ‘Cocaine,’ Dead at 74

Singer-songwriter collaborated with Johnny Cash, Tom Petty and Santana, and won a Grammy in 2008

J.J. Cale, the songwriter behind the Eric Clapton classics "Cocaine" and "After Midnight," died  Friday at the age of 74.

Born John Weldon Cale in 1938 in Oklahoma City, Okla., the Grammy winner was an originator of the "Tulsa Sound," a loose genre drawing on blues, rockabilly, country and jazz influences.

His career saw him release 14 albums and his songs have been covered by acts including Johnny Cash, Santana, Tom Petty, Waylon Jennings and Captain Beefheart. His biggest U.S. hit single, "Crazy Mama," peaked at No. 22 on the U.S. Billboard Hot 100 chart in 1972.

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He won a Grammy for his 2006 album with Clapton, called "The Road to Escondido."

A statement on his website said: "We've lost a great artist and a great person.

"JJ Cale passed away at 8:00 pm on Friday July 26 at Scripps Hospital in La Jolla, CA. He had suffered a heart attack.

"There are no immediate plans for services. Donations are not needed but he was a great lover of animals so, if you like, you can remember him with donations to your favorite local animal shelter."

In his bio, was asked if he was bothered that that contemporaries and critics list him among  legends, and fans might love his songs yet not even know his name?

"No, it doesn't bother me," he laughs. "What's really nice is when you get a check in the mail."



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