After Midnight (JJ Cale song)

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This article is about the JJ Cale song. For other songs, see After Midnight.
"After Midnight"
Single by Eric Clapton
from the album Eric Clapton
B-side "Easy Now"
Released October 1970
Format 7" 45 RPM
Recorded January 1970
Genre Blues rock
Length 2:51
Label Polydor
Writer(s) JJ Cale
Producer(s) Delaney Bramlett

"After Midnight" is a rock song written by JJ Cale, which was later successfully covered by Eric Clapton. The laid back boogie feel of "After Midnight" is a prime example of Cale's signature style. Cale had written the song and released a demo version in 1966.

"After Midnight" was also in many ways the catalyst for Cale's own solo recording career. Cale was unaware of Clapton's recording of the song until it became a radio hit in 1970. 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.” [1] 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. The single by Cale reached #42 on the Billboard Hot 100 in 1972.[2]

Cale released a live version on the album Live in 2001.

Eric Clapton solo versions[edit]

When Eric Clapton was working with Delaney & Bonnie Bramlett, Delaney Bramlett introduced Clapton to the music of J.J. Cale.[3] "After Midnight" was the first of several Cale cover songs released by Clapton and appeared on his self-titled debut album. It peaked at #18 in late 1970.[4] The performers on this version were Clapton on vocals and guitar, Bobby Whitlock on organ and vocals, Jim Gordon on drums, Delaney Bramlett on rhythm guitar, Carl Radle on bass, Leon Russell on piano, Jim Price on trumpet, and Bobby Keys on saxophone.[5]

In 1988, Clapton re-recorded the song for use in a successful Michelob beer commercial, reaching #4 in the Billboard Mainstream Rock airplay chart.[4] Another live version was released on Live from Madison Square Garden with Steve Winwood on organ.

Album title[edit]

There was also a DVD accompanied by two audio CDs (released in 2006) from a concert (featuring former Dire Straits frontman Mark Knopfler) filmed at the Shoreline Amphitheatre in Mountain View, California, in 21 September 1988, which contains 14 tracks that span Clapton's entire career including classic hits from his stint with Cream, Blind Faith, Derek & The Dominos and his successful solo work.

Other cover versions[edit]

In addition to Clapton, the song has been recorded by Chet Atkins, Jerry Garcia Band, Pretty Lights, Phish, Sérgio Mendes (who performed the song with an unusual 7/8 meter), Maggie Bell, Marc Cohn and composer Danny Elfman. It was also recorded by the reggae band the Pioneers under the title "Let It All Hang Out" on the album Yeah, from 1971, released by Trojan Records. Both, Furthur and Yonder Mountain String Band, performed the song live at All Good Music Festival in 2010.

The John Mayer Trio performed a version of the song on Late Night with Seth Meyers on February 27, 2014.

See also[edit]

  • "Cocaine", another Cale song made famous by Clapton.


  1. ^ "After Midnight by Eric Clapton Songfacts". Retrieved 2013-09-04. 
  2. ^ Stephen Thomas Erlewine. "J.J. Cale | Awards". AllMusic. Retrieved 2013-09-04. 
  3. ^ Clapton: The Autobiography by Eric Clapton
  4. ^ a b William Ruhlmann. "Eric Clapton | Awards". AllMusic. Retrieved 2013-09-04. 
  5. ^ Timepieces - The Best of Eric Clapton (Media notes). Eric Clapton.