Co-produces with Ted Templeman the self-titled Chunky, Novi and Ernie album. Rumour has it that Cale is actually Novi, who is credited for viola, keyboard and backing vocals. He also arranged strings and horns.
"The second album I produced on Reprise was a strange classic. Since it's hard to tell where Chucky, Novie and Ernie's origins lie, classifying this album is a problem. It was very Californian, and owed something to Frank Zappa. They even thanked him for providing them with a father image."
Italian Sea is included on the Conflict & Catalysis: Productions & Arrangements 1966-2006 compilation album (2012).
Composes the soundtrack of Caged Heat, the first film by director Jonathan Demme. Also released under the title Renegade Girls.
Performed by Cale with Shuggie Otis on guitar and Pete Ivers on harmonica. Some sources mention Mike Bloomfield on guitar. Never released.
On the 1st of June Cale performs with Kevin Ayers, Nico and Brian Eno at the Rainbow Theatre in London. His version of Heartbreak Hotel is the only solo Cale track on the June 1, 1974, album. Plays viola on Driving Me Backwards (Eno) and Two Goes Into Four (Ayers), and piano op Baby's On Fire (Eno).
The encore I've Got A Hard-On For You Baby by Kevin Ayers has Cale joining in with the chorus. Yes, Mr. Ayers is "the bugger in the short sleeves".
"My first appearance on an Island recording was on an LP made from a concert which took place at London's now defunct Rainbow Theatre on 1 June 1974; the date became the album's title. I was actually one-fourth of the featured band—the others were the former Soft Machine guitarist Kevin Ayers, who had invited everyone to guest at what started at his own concert, the former Roxy Music musician Brian Eno, and Nico... This was the first time I had gone on stage on my own. And to me it was so important it was nerve-racking... The night before the concert Kevin and Cindy got together. That did it for me. She lied about it, but in the end I was able to go to Kevin and say, 'Look, as a gentleman, tell me, did such and such happen?' Kevin said, 'Yes.' I went back to Cindy and said 'Look, you fuck!' and things just got worse and worse."
Brian Eno on the concert:
"[John Cale] did a really interesting version of Heartbreak Hotel, in a minor key. It's incredibly suicidal. I mean you could never believe that that song could turn out to be such a downer as that... Nico did Deutschland Über Alles, which was very good... and she did The End by the Doors, which is the one they put on the album... Nico doing The End was so chilling, it really was. It was incredible. She invests it with so many levels of meaning I didn't hear in the Doors' one. She underplays it... there's just the harmonium, me playing synthesizer — almost doubling the harmonium part — and her singing... which is just like a rich, kind of non-specific miasma of sound...""
Cale plays twelve instruments - organ, synthesizer, bass, guitar, percussion, piano, glockenspiel, keyboards, marimba, triangle, xylophone, cabasa - and produces Nico's The End album.
"She cried when it was finished. She did that with the others too."
In September the classic Fear album is released on Island Records. The record company sends a special edition to the press: Hear Fear.
"The recording of Fear was interrupted by the June 1st concert. That concert was put together by Richard Williams and Island Records. They had all these cult people on the label. The idea was that if you put them all together you might sell enough to justify their presence.
Anyway we were all sitting in the studio, Brian Eno was running around the kitchen making coffee 'cause Chrissy (Hynde) said "somebody had to be domestic around here". I was downstairs working on arrangements when in jumps Doug McClure from the tv series The Virginian.
I couldn't figure out what he was doing. He said it was his birthday so he was running around London---running down alleyways, i guess, 'cause our studio was in a real cul de sac. Everything stopped again; nobody could figure out what the hell he was doing there!
Most of Fear was done with the band on June 1st 1974. Eno used to carry his synthesizer around in a little briefcase. For "Momamma Scuba" we had so many people in the studio that we were running out of mikes. The density on the track was so great that we had no power left. We had a ton of guitars, but you'd never know it because they are all so diffused."
A show with Eno and Nico at the Nationalgalerie in West-Berlin on October 5 causes a near riot when the threesome embark on a full version of the German national anthem Das Lied Der Deutschen.