JJ Cale (also J.J. Cale), born John Weldon Cale on December 5, 1938, in Oklahoma City, Oklahoma, is a Grammy Award-winning American singer-songwriter and musician. Cale is one of the originators of the Tulsa Sound, a loose genre drawing on blues, rockabilly, country, and jazz influences. Cale's personal style has often been described as "laid back".
His songs have been performed by a number of other musicians including "After Midnight" and "Cocaine" by Eric Clapton,"Cajun Moon" by Randy Crawford, "Clyde" and "Louisiana Women" by Waylon Jennings, "Magnolia" by Jai, "Bringing It Back" by Kansas, "Call Me the Breeze" and "I Got the Same Old Blues" by Lynyrd Skynyrd, "I'd Like to Love You, Baby" by Tom Petty, "Travelin' Light" and "Ride Me High" by Widespread Panic, "Tijuana" by Harry Manx, "Sensitive Kind" by Carlos Santana, "Cajun Moon" by Herbie Mann with Cissy Houston, and "Same Old Blues" by Captain Beefheart.
Cale was born on December 5, 1938, in Oklahoma City, Oklahoma. He was raised in Tulsa and graduated from Tulsa Central High School in 1956. Along with a number of other young Tulsa musicians, Cale moved to Los Angeles in the early 1960s, where he first worked as a studio engineer. Finding little success as a recording artist, he later returned to Tulsa and was considering giving up the music business until Clapton recorded "After Midnight" in 1970. His first album, Naturally, established his style, described by Los Angeles Times writer Richard Cromelin as a "unique hybrid of blues, folk and jazz, marked by relaxed grooves and Cale's fluid guitar and laconic vocals. His early use of drum machines and his unconventional mixes lend a distinctive and timeless quality to his work and set him apart from the pack of Americana roots-music purists."
Some sources incorrectly give his real name as "Jean-Jacques Cale". In the 2006 documentary, To Tulsa and Back: On Tour with J.J. Cale, Cale talks about Elmer Valentine, co-owner of the Sunset Strip nightclub Whisky à GoGo, who employed him in the mid-1960s, being the one that came up with the "JJ" moniker to avoid confusion with the Velvet Underground's John Cale. Rocky Frisco tells the same version of the story mentioning the other John Cale but without further detail.
His biggest U.S. hit single, Crazy Mama, peaked at #22 on the U.S. Billboard Hot 100 chart in 1972. During the 2006 documentary film To Tulsa and Back Cale recounts the story of being offered the opportunity to appear on Dick Clark's American Bandstand to promote the song, which would have moved the song higher on the charts. Cale declined when told he could not bring his band to the taping and would be required to lip-sync the words to the song.
- 1958 "Shock Hop/Sneaky" [45 - as Johnny Cale]
- 1960 "Troubles, Troubles/Purple Onion" [45 - as Johnny Cale Quintet]
- 1961 "Ain't That Lovin You Baby/She's My Desire" [45 - as Johnny Cale Quintet]
- 1971 "Crazy Mama" [45 as J.J. Cale], from the album Naturally, peaked at #22 on the US single charts on April 8, 1972.
- 1972 Naturally
- 1973 Really
- 1974 Okie
- 1976 Troubadour
- 1979 5
- 1981 Shades
- 1982 Grasshopper
- 1983 #8
- 1990 Travel Log
- 1992 Number 10
- 1994 Closer to You
- 1996 Guitar Man
- 2004 To Tulsa and Back
- 2009 Roll On
- 2001 Live
- 1966 A Trip Down The Sunset Strip (as part of the Leathercoated Minds)
- 2006 The Road to Escondido (with Eric Clapton)
- 2013 Old Sock - Eric Clapton - Cale plays guitar and sings on his song, 'Angel'.
- 1984 Special Edition (a compilation of hits from previous albums)
- 1997 Anyway the Wind Blows: The Anthology
- 1998 The Very Best of J.J. Cale
- 2000 Universal Masters Collection
- 2003 After Midnight (German release)
- 2006 The Definitive Collection
- 2006 Collected (with bonus tracks) (Dutch release only)
- 2007 Rewind: The Unreleased Recordings
- 2011 The Silvertone Years (A collection chronicling JJ Cale's music released by Silvertone Records between 1989-1992)
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Image from Discogs