Born John Weldon Cale, in Oklahoma, he adopted the name JJ Cale to avoid being confused with the Velvet Underground’s John Cale.
JJ is credited with developing the Tulsa Sound—a style of music that combines blues, country and rockabilly.
It’s often said that JJ’s fame arose from Eric Clapton recording his song After Midnight in 1977. In reality, JJ had already released four very good albums by this time. There is little doubt, however, JJ will be recalled for some of the fine tunes he penned for other people, including: After Midnight, Call Me the Breeze (Lynyrd Skynyrd), and Cocaine (also Eric Clapton).
JJ himself once said he considered himself a songwriter more than a recording artist.
JJ’s biggest hit single, Crazy Mama, peaked at #22 on the US charts in 1972. JJ later recounted the story of being offered an appearance on American Bandstand; he turned it down when producers told him he couldn’t perform with his band and would be required to lip-sync the words.
JJ Cale – Crazy Mama 1972
JJ Cale – Cocaine
JJ Cale – After Midnight and Call Me The Breeze – featuring Eric Clapton