Songs with Earlier Histories Than the Hit Version

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Tagged: J.J. Cale

Cocaine

Written and first recorded by J.J. Cale (1976).
Hit versions by Eric Clapton (NZ #1/SUI #2/AUT #3 1977), Eric Clapton (B-side live US #30 1980).

From the wiki: “‘Cocaine’ was written and first recorded in 1976 by singer-songwriter J. J. Cale. The song was popularized by Eric Clapton after his cover version was released on the 1977 album Slowhand. A live version of ‘Cocaine’, from the album Just One Night, charted on the Billboard Hot 100 as the B-side of ‘Tulsa Time’, which was a #30 hit in 1980. Clapton described ‘Cocaine’ as an anti-drug song, calling it ‘quite cleverly anti-cocaine.'”

After Midnight

Written and first recorded by J.J. Cale (1966).
Hit versions by Eric Clapton (US #18 1970), J.J. Cale (re-recording US #42 1972), Eric Clapton (re-recording Rock #4/UK #99 1988).
Also recorded by The Pioneers (1971), Chet Atkins (1972), Sergio Mendes (1972), Maggie Bell (1974), Pretty Lights (2009).

From the wiki: “J.J. Cale wrote ‘After Midnight’ in 1966 and first released it as single (on Liberty Records) the same year with no apparent chart success. But, the song would become the catalyst for his future solo recording career success. When Eric Clapton was working with Delaney & Bonnie Bramlett, Delaney Bramlett introduced Eric to Cale’s music. ‘After Midnight’ was the first of several Cale cover songs released by Clapton and it first appeared on his 1970 self-titled debut album. Clapton’s single peaked at #18 in late 1970.

“Cale was unaware of Clapton’s 1970 recording of the song until it became a radio hit. He recalled to Mojo magazine that when he heard Clapton’s version playing on his radio, ‘I was dirt poor, not making enough to eat and I wasn’t a young man. I was in my thirties, so I was very happy. It was nice to make some money.’ Cale’s friend and producer Audie Ashworth then encouraged him to capitalize on the song’s success by recording a full album, Naturally, released in 1972. A re-recording of ‘After Midnight’ was released from the album as a single in 1972. Cale’s recording reached #42 on the Billboard Hot 100 in 1972.

Call Me the Breeze

Written and first recorded by J.J. Cale (1972).
Also recorded by Mason Proffit (1972).
Hit album version by Lynyrd Skynyrd (1974).

From the wiki: “‘Call Me the Breeze’ was written by J.J. Cale and first appeared on his 1972 debut album, Naturally, as the opening track. Like many Cale songs, it has been covered numerous times by an assortment of musicians. Ironically, many of the more contemporary cover versions of ‘Call Me the Breeze’ available have been performed as tributes to Lynyrd Skynyrd,” the Southern Rock band from Florida that scored an Album Oriented Radio hit with the song in 1974.”

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