John Cale was the most unconventional member in one of the world’s most unconventional rock bands, Velvet Underground. While Lou Reed was the leader and Nico (at least initially) the beacon, Cale’s droning, dissonant violin/keyboards and classical training gave their music an artistic credibility that elevated it above nearly anything else being made at the time. One had the sense that Cale was a deliberately placed wrench, an intellectual counterpoint that gave Reed’s visceral songs about strung-out antiheroes an air of madness. Yet VU never seemed like the proper outlet for Cale’s peculiar genius, a point his solo career has since confirmed.
The musical career of John Cale is a story of surprises. His first album, Vintage Violence, was a relatively normal collection of pop songs that showed Cale had both a serviceable voice and a sense of humor. It was a calculated departure from the music of VU, however, that likely bewildered listeners with its low-key charm. Bewilderment turned to chaos on the Terry Riley collaboration, Church of Anthrax, which featured groundbreaking proto-ambient jazz/rock. While challenging, Anthrax was at least more in line with the avant-garde music that fans expected from Cale, and has since been accepted as a minor classic in the musical canon.
On The Academy In Peril, Cale showcased his classical side with the help of the Royal Philharmonic Orchestra, while still sneaking his subversive sense of humor into the mix. Together, Anthrax and Academy confirmed the long-held suspicion that Cale was a musical iconoclast of the highest order. Subsequent albums have alternated between the genteel pop of Violence (e.g., Paris 1919), rock (Fear) and classical, the latter often in the form of film scores.
Although Cale has never enjoyed the commercial success of Lou Reed, his career has had an impact on artists as varied as Brian Eno, Penguin Café Orchestra and Camper Van Beethoven. Cale has also produced notable acts including Patti Smith, Nico, Squeeze and The Stooges. At some point in the (hopefully) not too distant future, a John Cale renaissance would be welcome and warranted.
VINTAGE VIOLENCE (1970)
Hello, There / Gideon’s Bible / Adelaide / Big White Cloud / Cleo / Please // Charlemagne / Bring It On Up / Amsterdam / Ghost Story / Fairweather Friend. Released on elpee on March 25, 1970 in the US (Columbia, CS 1037) and in 1971 in the UK and the Netherlands (CBS, S 64256). Re-issued on elpee in the US (Columbia, PC 1037). Re-issued on elpee and CD in 1987 in the UK (Edsel, ED230). Re-released on expanded, remastered CD on February 13, 2001 in the US (Columbia/Legacy, CK 65935), in 2001 in Germany and the Netherlands (Columbia, 4999945) and in 2001 in Japan (Columbia, SICP-8008) with two bonus tracks.
Fairweather Friend (1970)
b/w Cleo. Released on 7-inch in 1970 in the US (Columbia, 45124).
Big White Cloud (1970)
Released as promotional 7-inch in 1970 in the US (Columbia, 45266) with A mono on flip.
CHURCH OF ANTRAX (1971)
Church of Anthrax / The Hall of Mirrors in the Palace at Versailles // The Soul of Patrick Lee / Ides of March / The Protégé. Co-credited to Terry Riley and released on elpee on October 2, 1971 in the US (Columbia, CS 30131) and the UK (CBS, S 64259). Re-issued on CD on May 10, 2008 in the US (Wounded Bird). Re-released on remastered CD on January 29, 2013 in the US (Culture Factory) and on May 22, 2013 in Japan (Vivid Sound/Culture Factory, VSCD-9127).
THE ACADEMY IN PERIL (1972)
Philospher / Brahms / Legs Larry at Television Centre / Academy In Peril / Intro / Days of Steam / 3 Orchestral Pieces / King Harry / John Milton. Released on elpee on October 19, 1972 in the US (Reprise, 2079).
Days of Steam (1972)
b/w Legs Larry At Television Centre. Released on 7-inch in 1972 in the US (Reprise, REP 1108).
PARIS 1919 (1973)
Child’s Christmas in Wales / Hanky Panky Nohow / The Endless Plain of Fortune / Andalucia / Macbeth // Paris 1919 / Graham Greene / Half Past France / Antarctica Starts Here. Released on elpee in March 1973 in the US (Reprise, MS 2131), the UK (Reprise, K 44239) and Germany (Reprise, REP-44239) with lyric insert. Re-issued on CD on October 26, 1993 in the US (Reprise, 2131-2). Re-released on expanded CD on June 19, 2006 in the UK (Rhino, 74060-2) with 12 bonus tracks. Re-issued on 180g elpee on August 3, 2007 in the US (Four Men With Beards, FMN125).
JUNE 1, 1974 (1974)
Live tracks: Driving Me Backwards / Baby’s On Fire / Heartbreak Hotel / The End // May I? / Shouting In A Bucket Blues / Stranger In Blue Suede Shoes / Everybody’s Sometime And Some People’s All The Time Blues / Two Goes Into Four. Co-credited to Kevin Ayers, Brian Eno, Nico and The Soporifics and released on elpee in 1974 in the US (Island, ILPS 9291).
Fear Is Man’s Best Friend / Buffalo Ballet / Barracuda / Emily / Ship of Fools / Gun / The Man Who Couldn’t Afford To Orgy / You Know Me More Than I Know / Momamma Scuba. Released on elpee on October 1, 1974 in the US (Island, 9301).
The Man Who Couldn’t Afford To Orgy (1974)
b/w ?. Released on 7-inch in 1974 in the UK (Island, WIP 6203).
SLOW DAZZLE (1975)
Mr.Wilson / Taking It All Away / Dirty Ass Rock ‘n’ Roll / Darling I Need You / Rollaroll // Heartbreak Hotel / Ski Patrol / I’m Not the Loving Kind / Guts / Jeweller. Released on elpee on March 25, 1975 in the UK (Island, ILPS 9317). Re-issued on elpee in the 1980s in the US (Island, ILPS 9317, blue label).
HELEN OF TROY (1975)
My Maria / Helen of Troy / China sea / Engine / Save Us / Cable Hogue / (I Keep A) Close Watch / Pablo Picasso / Leaving It Up To You* / Baby, What You Want Me To Do / Sudden Death. (* Replaced by “Coral Moon” on subsequent releases.) Released on elpee on November 14, 1975 in the UK (Island, ILPS 9350).
(I Keep A) Close Watch (1975)
b/w Close Watch. Released on 7-inch in 1975 in the UK (Island/Ze, IS 113).
Guts / Mary Lou / Helen of Troy / Pablo Picasso / Leaving It All Up To You / Fear Is A Man’s Best Friend / Gun / Dirty-Ass Rock ‘n’ Roll / Heartbreak Hotel. Compilation released on elpee in February 1977 in the US (Island, ILPS 9459).
ANIMAL JUSTICE (1977)
Chicken Shit / Memphis / Hedda Gabler. Released as EP in September 1977 in the UK (Illegal, IL003).
Mercenaries (Ready For War) / Baby You Know / Evidence / Dr.Mudd / Walkin’ The Dog / Captain Hook / Only Time Will Tell / Sabotage / Chorale. Released on elpee in December 1979 in the US (IRS/Spy, SP-004).
Mercenaries (Ready For War) (1979)
b/w Rosegarden Funeral of Sores. Released on 7-inch in 1979 in the US (IRS, SPY007).
HONI SOIT (1981)
Dead Or Alive / Strange Times In Casablanca / Fighter Pilot / Wilson Joliet / Streets of Laredo / Honi Soit / Riverbank / Russian Roulette / Magic And Lies. Released on elpee in March 1981 in the US (A&M, SP 4849) and the Netherlands (A&M, AMLH64849); reached #154 on the US charts.
Dead Or Alive (1981)
b/w Honi Soit. Released as promotional 12-inch in 1981 in the US (A&M, 17154).
MUSIC FOR A NEW SOCIETY (1982)
Taking Your Life In Your Hands / Thoughtless Kind / Sanities / If You Were Still Around / (I Keep A) Close Watch / Broken Bird / Chinese Envoy / Changes Made / Damn Life / Rise, Sam And Rimsky-Korsakov / In The Library of Force. Released on elpee in August 1982 in the US (Passport/Ze, PB-60019) and the UK (Island/Ze, ILPS-7019).
Villa Albani (1983)
b/w Villa Albani (instrumental) + Hungry For Love. Released on 12-inch in Germany (Island/Ze, 601267).
Hungry For Love (1983)
b/w Caribbean Sunset. Released on 7-inch in 1983 in Germany (Island/Ze, 106 302 100) with picture sleeve.
CARIBBEAN SUNSET (1984)
Hungry For Love / Experiment Number 1 / Model Beirut Recital / Caribbean Sunset / Praetorian Underground / Magazines / Where There’s A Will / The Hunt / Villa Albani. Released on elpee in January 1984 in the US (Island/Ze, 8201) and the UK (Island/Ze, ILPS-7024).
COMES ALIVE (1984)
Ooh La La / Evidence / Dead Or Alive / Chinese Envoy / Leaving It Up To You // Dr.Mudd / Waiting For The Man / Heartbreak Hotel / Fear / Never Give Up On You. Released on elpee in 1984 in the UK (Island/Ze, ILPS-7026).
Ooh La La (1984)
b/w Magazines. Released on 7-inch in 1984 in the UK (Island/Ze, IS 197).
ARTIFICIAL INTELLIGENCE (1985)
Everytime The Dogs Bark / Dying On The Vine / Sleeper / Vigilante Lover / Song of the Valley / Fade Away Tomorrow / Black Rose / Satellite Walk. Released on elpee on September 6, 1985 in the US (Beggars Banquet, 68) and the UK (PVC, 8947).
Dying On The Vine (1985)
b/w Everytime The Dog Barks. Released on 12-inch in 1985 in the UK (Beggars Banquet, 145).
Satellite Walk (1985)
b/w Dying On The Vine + Crash Course In Harmonics. Released on 12-inch in 1985 in the UK (Beggars Banquet, BEG153T).
EVEN COWGIRLS GET THE BLUES (1987)
Live tracks: Dance of the Seven Veils / Helen of Troy / Casey At The Bat / Even Cowgirls Get The Blues / Jack And The Moulin Rouge // Dead Or Alive / Somebody Should Have Told Her / Instrumental For New Years 1980 / Magic And Lies / Memphis. Released on elpee in 1987 in the US (Special Stock, R-1267). Re-issued on CD in 1991 in the US (ROIR, 196).
WORDS FOR THE DYING (1989)
The Falklands Suite: Introduction / There Was A Savior / Interlude I / On A Wedding Anniversary / Interlude II / Lie Still, Sleep Becalmed / Do Not Go Gentle Into That Good Night / Songs Without Words: Song Without Words I / Song Without Words II / The Soul of Carmen Miranda. Released on elpee and CD in September 1989 in the US (Opal/Warner Bros., 26024). Re-issued on CD in 1992 in the UK (All Saints, ASCD09) and on September 23 ,2000 in the US (United States of Distribution, 245).
SONGS FOR DRELLA (1990)
Smalltown / Open House / Style It Takes / Work / Trouble With Classicists / Starlight / Faces And Names / Images / Slip Away (A Warning) / It Wasn’t Me / I Believe / Nobody But You / A Dream / Forever Changed / Hello It’s Me. Co-credited to Lou Reed and released on elpee and CD in April 1990 in the US (Sire, 26205); reached #22 on the UK charts.
Nobody But You (1990)
Released as promotional CD single in 1990 in the US (Sire, 4056).
WRONG WAY UP (1990)
Lay My Love / One Word / In The Backroom / Empty Frame / Cordoba / Spinning Away / Footsteps / Been There Done That / Crime In The Desert / The River. Co-credited to Brian Eno and released on elpee, CD and cassette in October 1990 in the US (Opal, 26421).
One Word (1990)
b/w Grandfather’s House + Palanquin. Released on 12-inch in November 1990 in the UK (Land, LANDT04). Re-released on five-track CD single in 1991 in the US (Opal/Warner Bros., 40001-2) feat. A edit, “Empty Frame,” “You Don’t Miss Your Water,” “One Word (The Woodbridge Mix)” and “Grandfather’s House.”
PARIS S’EVEILLE (1991)
Paris S’Eveille / Sanctus (4 Etudes For Electronic Orchestra): First Etude – Second Etude – Third Etude – Fourth Etude / Animals At Night / The Cowboy Laughs At The Round-Up /Primary Motive: Factory Speech – Strategy Sessions – Closing Titles / Booker T. / Antarctica Starts Here. Released on compact disc in 1991 in France (Delabel, DE 030924). Re-issued on compact disc in 1992 in France (Les Disque du Crepescule, TWI 952-2).
FRAGMENTS OF A RAINY SEASON (1992)
A Child’s Christmas In Wales / Dying On The Vine / Cordoba / Darling I Need You / Paris 1919 / Guts / Fear / Ship of Fools / Leaving It Up To You / The Ballad of Cable Hogue / Thoughtless Kind / On A Wedding Anniversary / Lie Still, Sleep Becalmed / Do Not Go Gentle Into That Good Night / Buffalo Ballet / Chinese Envoy / Style It Takes / Heartbreak Hotel / (I Keep A) Close Watch / Hallelujah. Released on compact disc and cassette on October 2, 1992 in the US (Hannibal, 1372).
23 SOLO PIECES FOR LA NAISSANCE DE L’AMOUR (1993)
La Naissance de l’Amour 1 / If You Love Me No More… / And If I Still Love You… / Judith / Converging Themes / Opposites Attract / I Will Do It, I Will Do It / Keep It To Yourself / Walk Towards The Sea / Unquiet Heart / Waking Up To Love / Mysterious Relief / Never Been So Happy (…In Lonely Streets) / Beyond Expectations / Conversation In The Garden / La Naissance de l’Amour 2 / Secret Dialogue / Roma / On The Dark Side / La Naissance de l’Amour 3 / Eye To Eye / Marie’s Car Crash & Hotel Rooms / La Naissance de l’Amour 4. Released on cmopact disc in 1993 ni France (Les Disques de Crepescule, TWI 954-2).
LAST DAY ON EARTH (1994)
Overture: a) A Tourist b) A Contact c) A Prisoner / Café Shabu / Pastoral Angst / Who’s In Charge? / Short of Time / Angel of Death / Paradise Nevada / Old China / Ocean Life / Instrumental / Modern World / Streets Come Alive / Secrets / Maps of the World / Broken Hearts / The High And Mighty Road. Co-credited to Bob Neuwirth and released on compact disc and cassette on April 12, 1994 in the US (MCA, MCD/MCAC-11037) and Japan (MCA, MVCM-468).
SEDUCING DOWN THE DOOR: A COLLECTION 1970 – 1990 (1994)
Protege / Big White Cloud / Amsterdam / Days of Steam / Temper / Dixieland And Dixie / A Child’s Christmas In Wales / Paris 1919 / Andalucia / Fear Is A Man’s Best Friend / Gun / (I Keep A) Close Watch / Heartbreak Hotel / Dirty-Ass Rock ‘n’ Roll / Guts / Jeweller / Pablo Picasso / Leaving It Up To You / Coral Moon / Memphis // Jack The Ripper / Hedda Gabler / Walkin’ The Dog / Dead Or Alive / Strange Times In Casablanca / Taking Your Life In Your Hands / Thoughtless Kind / Chinese Envoy / Caribbean Sunset / Waiting For The Man / Ooh La La / Everytime The Dogs Bark / Dying On The Vine / Soul of Carmen Miranda / One Word / Cordoba / Trouble With Classicists / Faces And Names. Compilation released on 2CD on July 19, 1994 in the US (Rhino, 71685).
Flashback 1≠1 / Antartida / Velasco’s Theme / Maria’s Apartment / Flashback 1≠2 / On The Waterfront / Pasodoble Mortal / Accordion / Maria’s Dream / Bath / Flashback 1≠3 / Antarctica Starts Here / Flashback 3 / Sunset / Get Away / Flashback 1≠4 / Antartida Starts Here / Frame Up / Barn / People Who Died / Flashback 1≠5. Released on compact disc in 1995 in France (Les Disques du Crepescule, TWI 962-2).
N’OUBLIE PAS QUE TU VAS MOURIR (1995)
The Pianos Part I: Welcome To Europe – Everybody’s Cold Sometimes – A Snake In China? – First Train To Heaven – Martyrs And Madmen – Take A Deep Breath / The String Quartets: Never Seen Anything So Beautiful – Angels In The Cloud – Madonna’s Blues – Sunflower Fields 0 Al Dente – Hadrian Was Here – Kiss Me Once More My Love – Alive At Dawn / The Pianos Part II: Skin In The Mirror – Who Said Love’s Safe? – 100% Pure – Do Not Forget – -Last Train To Bosnia – Gold And Crimson – So Far So Good. Soundtrack released on compact disc in 1995 in Belgium (Disques de Crepescule, TWI-1028).
THE ISLAND YEARS (1996)
Fear Is A Man’s Best Friend / Buffalo Ballet / Barracuda / Emily / Ship of Fools / Gun / Man Who Couldn’t Afford To Orgy / You Know More Than I Know / Momamma Scuba / Sylvia Said / All I Want Is You / Bamboo Floor / Mr. Wilson / Taking It All Away / Dirty-Ass Rock ‘n’ Roll / Darling I Need You / Rollaroll // Heartbreak Hotel / Ski Patrol / I’m Not The Loving Kind / Guts / Jeweller / My Maria / Helen of Troy / China Sea / Engine / Save Us / Cable Hogue / (I Keep A) Close Watch / Pablo Picasso / Leaving It Up To You / Baby, What You Want Me To Do / Sudden Death / You And Me / Coral Moon / Mary Lou. Compilation released on 2CD in July 1996 in the US (Island, 524 235). Re-packaged as Gold on 2CD on April 5, 2007 in the EU (Universal).
WALKING ON LOCUSTS (1996)
Dancing Undercover / Set Me Free / So What / Crazy Egypt / So Much For Love / Tell Me Why / Indistinct Notion of Cool / Secret Corrida / Circus / Gatorville & Points East / Some Friends / Entre Nous. Released on compact disc on September 24, 1996 in the US (Hannibal, 1395). Re-issued on compact disc in 2003 in the UK (Rykodisc, HNCD-1395).
EAT/KISS – MUSIC FOR THE FILMS BY ANDY WARHOL (1997)
Movement 01 / Movement 02 / Movement 03 / Movement 04 / Movement 05 / Movement 06 / Movement 07 / Movement 08 / Movement 09 / Movement 10 / Movement 11 / Movement 12 / Movement 13 / Movement 14 / Movement 15. Released on compact disc on June 10, 1997 in the US and Canada (Hannibal, 1407).
Intro / New York Underground / Night Club Theme / Modelling / Out of China / Death Camp / Ari Sleepy Too / Iceberg L / Jim / Iceberg LL / Espana / Nibelungen. Released on compact disc on October 27, 1998 in the US (Elektra/Asylum, 22122).
SOMEWHERE IN THE CITY (1998)
Martha And Frankie / Love Scene / Pennywhistle / Drive Up To Robbery / Martha And Frankie (Reprise) / Indistinct Notion of Cool. Soundtrack released on compact disc in August 1998 (Velvel, 79717).
CLOSE WATCH: AN INTRODUCTION TO JOHN CALE (1999)
Paris 1919 / Mr. Wilson / Leaving It Up To You / Dying On The Vine / Guts / Set Me Free / Heartbreak Hotel / Ship of Fools / Cable Hogue / Gun / Riverbank / Child’s Christmas In Wales / Fear Is A Man’s Best Friend / If You Were Still Around / Wilson Joliet / I Keep A Close Watch. Compilation released in February 1999 (Polygram Int’l, 524642).
LA VENT DE LA NUIT (1999)
On The Road To Portfino / At The Boats / Naples / On The Road To Turin / Turin At Night / The Seine At Night / Suicide 1 / Truck Parking Lot At Night / On The Road To Germany / Waiting / Thinking And Acting / Suicide / President Y Is Still Stable / B. Calls / Darkness On The Delta / What Mrs. Ives Said To Mr. Ives / My Piano Thanks You For Visiting. Soundtrack released on compact disc in March 1999 in France (Les Disques du Crepuscule, TWI-1083).
THE UNKNOWN (1999)
Part 1 / Part 2 / Part 3 / Part 4 / Part 5 / Part 6 / Part 7 / Part 8. Soundtrack released on compact disc on May 24, 1999 (Crepuscule).
STAINLESS GAMELAN: INSIDE THE DREAM SYNDICATE VOLUME III (2002)
Stainless Steel Gamelan / At About This Time Mozart Was Dead And Joseph Conrad Was Sailing The Seven Seas Learning English (Part 1) / Terry’s Cha-Cha / After The Locust / Big Apple Express / Cold Starry Nights / Silent Shadows On Cinemaroc Island. Archival music released on compact disc on January 22, 2002 in the US (Table of the Elements, 80).
5 TRACKS (EP) (2003)
Verses / Waiting For Blonde / Chums of Dumpty (We All Are) / E Is Missing / Wilderness Approaching. Released on CDEP in May 2003 in the UK (EMI, CDEM-621). Also released as promotional CDEP in 2003 in the UK (EMI, CDEMDJ-621) with different cover.
HOBO SAPIENS (2003)
Zen / Reading My Mind / Things / Look Horizon / Magritte / Archimedes / Caravan / Bicycle / Twilight Zone / Letter From Abroad / Things X / Over Her Head. Released on compact disc on October 20, 2003 in the UK (EMI, 591711-2). Also released on expanded compact disc on September 15, 2003 in Japan (EMI/Toshiba) with two bonus tracks: “Where The Creepyboyz Sing” and “Reading My Mind.”
b/w Look Horizon. Released on 12-inch single in 2003 in the UK (EMI, 12EM628).
b/w Things X. Released as promotional CD single in 2003 in the UK (EMI, CDEMDJ-629).
PROCESS: ORIGINAL SOUNDTRACK RECORDING (2005)
Theme Intro / Theatre / Post-Sex / Museum / Radiology / Candles / Bedroom / Car Blue / Packing Books / Reading Poem / Burning/Painting / La Defense/Metro / Suicide Theme / Ascension. Soundtrack released on compact disc on July 18, 2005 in France (Syntax, 35125CD).
BLACK ACETATE (2005)
Outta The Bag / For A Ride / Brotherman / Satisfied / In A Flood / Hush / Gravel Drive / Perfect / Sold-Motel / Woman / Wasteland / Turn The Lights On / Mailman (The Lying Song). Released on compact disc on October 18, 2005 in the Netherlands (EMI, 334378-2).
Released as promotional CD single in the UK in 2005 (EMI, CDEMDJ-672).
NEW YORK IN THE 1960s (2005)
Sun Blindness Music / For Organ: Sun Blindness Music / Summer Heat / For Guitar: Summer Heat / The Second Fortress / For Vox Organ: The Second Fortress // Dream Interpretation / Ex-Cathedra / Untitled (For Piano) / Carousel / A Midnight Rain of Green Wrens At The World’s Tallest Building // Stainless Steel Gamelan / At About This Time Mozart Was Dead And Joseph Conrad Was Sailing The Seven Seas Learning English (Part 1) / Terry’s Cha-Cha / After The Locust / Big Apple Express / Silent Shadows On Cinemaroc Island. Compilation released on 3CD box set on May 9, 2006 in the US (Table of the Elements).
CIRCUS LIVE (2007)
Live tracks: Venus In Furs / Save Us / Helen of Troy / Woman / Buffalo Ballet / Femme Fatale/Rosegarden Funeral of Sores / Hush / Outta The Bag / Set Me Free / The Ballad of Cable Hogue / Look Horizon / Magritte / Dirty Ass Rock And Roll // Walking The Dog / Gun / Hanky Panky Nohow / Pablo Picasso/Mary Lou / Drone – Into Amsterdam Suite / Zen / Style It Takes / Heartbreak Hotel / Mercenaries (Ready For War) / Outro Drone. Released on 2CD+DVD on February 26, 2007 in the UK (EMI, 377660-2).