JJ Cale, the infamous songwriter and musician responsible for Eric Clapton’s After Midnight and Cocaine, died yesterday (Friday, July 26) at the old age of 74, Reuters reports. Cale, who had a respectable performing career himself, was best known for the songs he wrote for other people. Most notably, he worked with giants like Kansas, Lynyrd Skynyrd, Waylon Jennings, Randy Crawford, among others.

Born in Tulsa, Oklahoma in 1938, Cale moved out to Los Angeles to start a career in the music industry in 1964. Early on in his career, in the 1950s and 60s Cale aimed at solo stardom – first as Johnny Cale and later on as JJ Cale. He never managed to achieve mainstream success however, remaining something of a cult favorite throughout his career. For Cale, success came in a rather different form, when Eric Clapton performed his song After Midnight in 1969.

Eric Clapton, Hard Rock Live
Cale's most frequent collaborator, on and off stage, was Eric Clapton.

While Cale did release a couple of singles in the late 1958s, it wasn’t until 1972 that he unleashed his first studio album on the world. The record was called Naturally and released to Shelter – the same label that Clapton was signed to. Cale then spent the better part of the 70s and 80s performing and recording with a number of different labels. As a solo artist, he has fourteen studio albums to his name.

JJ Cale died at Scripps Hospital in La Jolla, Calif. on Friday night after suffering a heart attack. No immediate funeral plans have been announced.

On the day of the sad announcement, JJ Cale's music deserves the spotlight.