The artists he influenced is astounding. From SFGate when he died in 2013:
If musicians were measured not by the number of records they sold but by the number of peers they influenced, JJ Cale would have been a towering figure in 1970s rock 'n' roll.
His best songs, like "After Midnight," "Cocaine" and "Call Me the Breeze," were towering hits - for other artists. Eric Clapton took "After Midnight" and "Cocaine" and turned them into hard-party anthems that defined rock for a long period of time. And Lynyrd Skynyrd took the easy-shuffling "Breeze" and supercharged it with a three-guitar attack that made it a hit.
Mr. Cale, the singer-songwriter and producer known as the main architect of the Tulsa Sound, died Friday at Scripps Hospital in La Jolla (San Diego County) from a heart attack, said his manager, Mike Kappus. He was 74.
While his best known songs remain in heavy rotation on the radio nearly 40 years later, most people wouldn't be able to name Mr. Cale as the composer. That was a role he had no problem with. "No, it doesn't bother me," Mr. Cale said in an interview posted on his website. "What's really nice is when you get a check in the mail."
He was born John Weldon Cale in Oklahoma City, and the list of artists who later covered his music or cite him as a direct influence reads like a who's who of the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame - Clapton, Neil Young, Tom Petty, Johnny Cash, Mark Knopfler, the Allman Brothers, Carlos Santana, Captain Beefheart and Bryan Ferry, among many others. Clapton once told Vanity Fair that Mr. Cale was the living person he most admired, and Mr. Cale weighed the impact Clapton had on his life in a 2006 interview: "I'd probably be selling shoes today if it wasn't for Eric."