Grammy-winning singer-songwriter JJ Cale dies, aged 74

Cale was one of the originators of the 'Tulsa Sound' and became known for his association with Eric Clapton

US singer-songwriter JJ Cale has died at the age of 74.

The Grammy winner passed away at 8pm local time on Friday (July 26) at a hospital in La Jolla, California, an announcement on his website confirmed. He had suffered a heart attack.

Cale is credited as one of the originators of the “Tulsa Sound”, a loose fusion of blues, rockabilly, country and jazz that developed on the music scene in Tulsa, Oklahoma during the late ’50s and early ’60s.

He went on to release 14 studio albums between 1972 and 2009 but his songs tended to enjoy their greatest popularity when covered by other artists. Tom Petty, Johnny Cash and Lynyrd Skynyrd were among those who benefited from his songwriting skills over the years, but Cale was probably best known for his longtime association with Eric Clapton (pictured right).

In the ’70s, Clapton recorded Cale’s songs ‘After Midnight’ and ‘Cocaine’ and the pair teamed up for a joint 2006 album called ‘The Road To Escondido’, which went on to win a Grammy for Best Contemporary Blues Album. In an interview from the time, Cale admitted: “I’d probably be selling shoes today if it wasn’t for Eric.”

With similar modesty, Cale said in the biography on his website: “Basically, I’m just a guitar player that figured out I wasn’t ever gonna be able to buy dinner with my guitar playing so I got into songwriting, which is a little more profitable business.” Press ‘play’ at the top of this article to watch Cale performing ‘Call Me The Breeze’ on Later… With Jools Holland in 1994.