Grammy Award winning singer-songwriter JJ Cale dies, aged 74
Grammy Award-winning singer-songwriter JJ Cale, one of the most versatile musicians of his era who played guitar and spanned music genres from rock 'n' roll to blues and jazz, has died after suffering a heart attack at the age of 74.
Cale passed away on Friday at a hospital in La Jolla, California, according to a statement on his website.
"Donations are not needed but he was a great lover of animals so, if you like, you can remember him with a donation to your favourite local animal shelter," the statement said.
Cale won a Grammy in 2008 for The Road to Escondido, which he recorded with singer-songwriter Eric Clapton.
While he never attained Clapton's level of stardom, he had a wide-ranging influence, particularly his style of playing the guitar and the songs he wrote for music legends.
In a Vanity Fair interview several years ago, Clapton said Cale was the living person he admired most.
Singer-songwriter Neil Young once said "of all the players I ever heard, it's got to be Hendrix and JJ Cale who are the best electric guitar players."
Born in Oklahoma City as John Weldon Cale, he spent the early part of his career in Nashville before moving to Los Angeles in the 1960s, where he flourished.
Known for his easy, laid-back style, he spent more than 50 years making music for Clapton, Lynyrd Skynyrd, Johnny Cash and others.
Cale was one of the originators of the Tulsa sound, a type of music that drew from rock, blues, country and jazz.
"I consider myself a songwriter. ... I guess the business end is my songs and the fun part is playing the guitar," Cale said in a 2004 video that showcased his performance with Clapton at the Crossroads Guitar Festival.
"He didn't seem to follow the pack or chase styles," said Kenny Vaughan, Nashville-based guitar player for the Fabulous Superlatives group.
"He never seemed to be a guy who put a lot of effort into being trendy or commercially viable."
Dave Pomeroy, a bassist and head of the musicians' union in Nashville, said Cale had a huge influence on what is now referred to as "Americana" - a blend of country and folk music that is popular with some younger fans.
Music a lifelong vocation for Cale
Music was a lifelong vocation for the guitarist, producer, engineer, singer and songwriter.
In the 1970s he wrote Clapton's hit songs After Midnight and Cocaine.
Cale also wrote Call Me the Breeze, which was covered by southern hard-rock band Lynyrd Skynyrd in 1974, as well as by Johnny Cash.
Other artists and groups that have recorded Cale's work include Santana, The Allman Brothers, and The Band.
His last studio album, Roll On, was released in 2009.
At the time of its release Cale said he remembered when he made his first album.
"I was 32 or 33-years-old and I thought I was way too old then," he said.
"When I see myself doing this at 70, I go, 'what am I doing, I should be laying down in a hammock'."
More recently Cale wrote the song Angel on Eric Clapton's latest album, released last March.
He performed guest guitar and vocals on the track.