Mr. Cale suffered a heart attack and died at Scripps Memorial Hospital around 8 p.m. on Friday evening a statement posted on his Web site said.
He is best known as the writer of Cocaine and After Midnight songs made famous when they were recorded by his collaborator Eric Clapton.
A multi instrumentalist Mr. Cale often played all of the parts on his albums also recording and mixing them himself. He is also credited as one of the architects of the 1970s Tulsa sound a blend of rockabilly blues country and rock that came to influence Neil Young and Bryan Ferry among others. He won a Grammy Award in 2007 for an album with Mr. Clapton.
Basically I m just a guitar player that figured out I wasn t ever gonna be able to buy dinner with my guitar playing Mr. Cale told an interviewer for his official biography. So I got into songwriting which is a little more profitable business.
John Weldon Cale was born in Oklahoma in 1938. He recorded After Midnight in the mid 1960s according to the biography but had retreated to his native Tulsa and given up on the business part of the record business by the time Mr. Clapton covered it in 1970. He heard it on the radio that year he told NPR and I went Oh boy I m a songwriter now. I m not an engineer or an elevator operator.'
Mr. Cale released an album Naturally in 1972 to capitalize on that success and continued to tour and release new music until 2009. But he declined to put his image on any of his covers and kept his vocals low amid the instruments on his recordings. He developed a reputation as a private figure and a musician s musician while his songs were covered by Lynyrd Skynyrd The Band Deep Purple and Tom Petty among others.
I d like to have the fortune he said in his biography but I don t care too much about the fame.
This article has been revised to reflect the following correction
Correction July 27 2013
An earlier version of this article misspelled the first name of one of the musicians who was influenced by the Tulsa sound. He is Bryan Ferry not Brian.