Death is never a fun subject to write about. I stay away as much as is possible. But sometimes…sometimes, it is unavoidable. JJ Cale’s passing is unavoidable.
I first came to know of JJ Cale because of his last name. I am a massive fan of Velvet Underground and quickly associated both Cales, understandably. Once I listened to JJ Cale, I fell in love not only with his music, but also his lyrical style.
JJ Cale is not one as well known as most performers. But it’s difficult to not have run across his songs as performed by others. His “After Midnight”, and “Cocaine” songs are prime examples. Those songs were popularized by Eric Clapton. But there were others.
Kansas’ “Bringing It Back” (from their 1974 debut) is a JJ Cale tune. “I Got The Same Old Blues” was covered by Lynyrd Skynyrd on their 1976 album, Gimme Back My Bullets, and “Call Me The Breeze” was on Second Helping (1974).
There were others. More than enough to prove that JJ Cale had the chops for this business. He recorded albums on his own. His brilliant 1972 Shelter label debut contained his “After Midnight” song. Honestly, JJ Cale, while not for every one, had a diversity that covered a lot of ground.
This is why we will miss JJ Cale. He was one of us, one of you. His passing leaves a gaping hole in the massive quilt we call Rock and Roll. I’m thankful, however, that he has left a pretty healthy legacy behind.
JJ Cale died of a heart attack at the age of 74 on Friday, July 26.
J. J. Cale