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Dave White

JJ Cale: 1938-2013

By July 29, 2013

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After knocking around the music business for 10 years or so, recording six unsuccessful singles and making a living as a studio engineer, JJ Cale had just about decided to call it quits and leave the music business.

That all changed one day in 1970 when Cale turned on the radio and heard Eric Clapton performing a song called, "After Midnight" -- a song that Cale had written and which had been one of those six singles he recorded.

"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," Cale said in an interview with his official biographer Aaron Kayce.

On July 26, Cale died of a heart attack at age 73, leaving behind a lasting legacy that includes both guitar playing and songwriting, as well as singing, and making use of those skills he learned as a studio engineer.

Profile: JJ Cale

Photo (JJ Cale at his home near San Diego in 1989) by Michael Putland/Getty Images

Comments

August 9, 2013 at 9:29 am
(1) Bob D says:

What a great song writer and guitarist. He will be missed.
Thanks for the music JJ!

August 13, 2013 at 10:04 pm
(2) Nanooser says:

Was introduced to JJ’s music at 18 by a co op teacher from England who inturn, was introduced to JJ by a US sailor.
JJ’smusic, and the album 5 in particular played the themesong to alot of my best experiences in those years including a few romances and breakups.
Just loved that vibe he got out of his guitar and could listen to him pick on endlessly.

A big regret is not seeing him play live.
His music will live on, thank you JJ for all you left us with, you wont be forgotten.

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