John Cale
Fear Is A Man's Best Friend - John Cale

Timeline: 1975

Slow Dazzle

Slow Dazzle

The Slow Dazzle album contains a tribute to Brian Wilson of the Beach Boys: Mr. Wilson.

A cover version of God Only Knows with the St. Paul Cathedral Choir does not make the album.

"On my second Island LP, Slow Dazzle, released in the UK in April 1975, I wanted to see if I could write singles. You pick up on the potential of a situation and expand it into something thqat hasn't been realized the way it is right now. If you push it far enough it'll develop into something else. I don't want to get philosophical about it, but love and all that shit isn't necessarily wht rock is about. Slow Dazzle sold best of my solo albums until then. Most of it was written in the studio. My Beach Boys records were my personal soundtrack. Somebody told me later that Brian Wilson heard 'Mr. Wilson' and thought it was 'sarcastic', which I can't really say I understand. I'll concede a healthy dose of irony, but it's still a tribute to him. Brian Wilson wasn't too pleased with 'I believe you, Mr. Wilson, I believe you anyway'. But the thing is, it's about him and the former prime minister Harold Wilson. So either way I lose with him. He doesn't want to share a song with Harold Wilson."
Geoff Muldaur: Is Having A Wonderful Time

Muldaur's Wonderful Time

Plays viola on the track Higher and Higher on Geoff Muldaur's Is Having A Wonderful Time album. Muldaur provided backing vocals for Slow Dazzle.

John Peel Session

Records a session for John Peel, the BBC dj, May 1. Tracks: Taking It All Away , Darling I Need You, You Know More Than I Know and Fear Is A Man's Best Friend. The first three songs will later surface on the Take Off Your Mask bootleg. Oddly enough Fear Is A Man's Best Friend was included on a Roxy Music bootleg called When You Were Young. It is released offically on the 4CD box set Kats Caravan - The History of John Peel on the Radio (2009).

The Roman Theater in Orange

Orange gig without a pass

On August 15, Cale plays the Roman Amphitheatre, Orange, France. He rushes off stage during the performance of Heartbreak Holel. In fact he runs out of the theatre. Guitarist Chris Spedding remembers:

"We jammed on without him, then ended the show in confused anti-climax. We learned later that John had run out past the security guards into the backstage parking area. They wouldn't let him back in because he had no ID."
Helen Of Troy

Helen Of Troy

Helen Of Troy is the last album on the Island label.

The record company replaced the track Leaving It Up to You with Coral Moon, because it mentioned Sharon Tate, Roman Polanksi's wife who was killed in 1969 by the Charles Manson gang.

Cale considered the tapes for this album as demos and was furious when it hit the shops without his prior consent.

"It could have been a great album. I came back from finishing Patti Smith and had three days to finish "Helen Of Troy" before I went on Italian tour. I was spending eighteen hours a day in the studio. When I got back, I found the record company had gone ahead and released what amounted to demo tapes. The trouble was that Island had their own ideas of what that album should sound like. They wanted to include songs I don't particularily like, but it was also an impertinent assumption on my part that I was capable managing myself. My determination to have "Helen Of The Troy" the way I did was not really fair to Island or my management, especially at a time when Island was loosing it's percentage of the market, which was making everybody very paranoid."
Another Green World

Another Green World

Plays keyboard and viola on Brian Eno's Another Green World album.

I'm Waiting For The Man

The sampler album Las Botas Draciosas Marchan Sobre Polonia contains an excellent live version of this track, with Chris Spedding on guitar.


Producing Pati Smith's "Horses"

Patti Smith insists that Cale produces her Horses album. He obliges and often joins the Patti Smith Group on stage during their encore of My Generation. A recording at The Agora, Cleveland, January 26th 1976 is included as bonus track on the remastered Horses album in 1996.

"With a band that had never been in the studio before, you had to make them feel that they were really good musicians to allow room for Patti's poetry to come through. It was not clear to me what persona this record was going to have until I had her improvise against herself. Then I could see how she had managed to make use of so much use from Lou Reed and Dylan in the music, Jagger and Richard in the moves. Lou's improvisations came primarily from psychological insights, whereas Patti's were attuned to the rhythms of Welsh Methodist preachers. That was one bond between us.. The second one was accepting that she was primarily a poet who had the guts to sing rock and roll. And my job was to show her how she could be a poet and a rock-and-roll singer. she had ridden so far on her aggresive, challenging voice and her charisma that I don't think she was ready for the very different environment in a recording studio with nog audience. However, when Patti threw all her energy into overcoming that problem, she solved it too."

In Excelsis Deo / Gloria is included on the Conflict & Catalysis: Productions & Arrangements 1966-2006 compilation album (2012).

Cale breaks up with Cindy Wells

Cales' second marriage breaks up. In the divorce settlement Cindy Wells gets the couple's house in California, including a grand-piano.

© 1999- Hans Werksman