Earlier: When I was at Crawdaddy for nearly all of the 1970s, where we favored little-known rootsy writers and musicians, usually to our commercial detriment (and ultimately, doom) he was kind of our ideal. J.J. Cale's 1972 debut album Naturally was virtually our album of that year, every relaxed but biting cut, with his guitar, a near-classic, and not just "Call Me the Breeze" and "After Midnight," a hit for Eric Clapton (see them play live at bottom). He went to record other great music for decades, but now has died of a heart attack in L.A. at age 74. More here.
Eric Clapton is one of many musicians who have noted J.J’s influence on their music. They include Mark Knopfler, Neil Young, Bryan Ferry, and “jam bands” like Widespread Panic. Clapton, when asked by Vanity Fair several years ago "What living person do you most admire?" replied simply "JJ Cale." Neil Young has said, "Of all the players I ever heard, it's gotta be Hendrix and JJ Cale who are the best electric guitar players."