JJ Cale, the country blues musician responsible for two of Eric Clapton‘s biggest hits, died of a heart attack July 26 in La Jolla, CA, according to his official website. He was 74.
Based in Tulsa, Oklahoma, Cale played local clubs with Leon Russell before he launched his solo career and recorded the original “After Midnight” in 1965. Cale remained a cult figure, even as his songs got high-profile makeovers: Clapton’s “After Midnight” cover, released in 1970, became an unexpected Billboard hit. Lynyrd Skynyrd revamped “Call Me on the Breeze,” and “Cocaine” became Clapton’s third single off his fifth album, 1977′s Slowhand.
Throughout his 48-year career, Cale continued to stay in touch with Mr. Slowhand himself. The two of them released a joint album, 2006′s Road to Escondido, before Clapton appeared on Cale’s last-ever album, 2009′s Roll On. They even performed “After Midnight” together just two years ago — watch it after the jump.
JJ Cale, “After Midnight” (ft. Eric Clapton)