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

Timeline: 1970

In the Quadraphonic Edit room at CBS

Re-mixing the CBS/Columbia catalogue

Record label CBS/Columbia hires Cale to remix the classical Masterworks catalogue for quadrophonic sound. Quad however, is a short-lived hype. He remixes albums by Barbra Streisand and American rock band Paul Revere & the Raiders.



Plays viola on two tracks - Long River and Good Company - on the sole self-titled album of this New York rock band.

Schwaid-Merenstein acts as management

Signs a contract with publishing, production and management company Schwaid-Merenstein to handle his production jobs:

"I got them through Garland Jeffreys, a singer and songwriter who had been at Syracuse with Lou Reed. Lou Merenstein produced Astral Weeks for Van Morrison and had a novelty hit on the charts with 'The Chipmunks in Space'. Bob Schwaid was running publishing houses. He took the money and administered. Merenstein did not book gigs, all he did was help me get production jobs."
Vintage Violence

Vintage Violence

His first album a a solo artist, Vintage Violence, is released on March 25. The album contains a list of characters including Clancy - a peer famed for losing touch with reality, 20 Chinese idiots and 9 pet cobra's.

"We did it in three days. Lou Merenstein and Bob Schwaid during the recording. They showed up but they were bemused, if not hostile. But I was also very insecure about those songs. They were written that summer. It was tense. Vintage Violence was basically an exercise to see if I could write tunes. There's not too much originality on that album, it's just someone teaching himself to do something. I was masked on Vintage Violence. I didn't realize it at the time, but the cover tells you that: it show me with a stocking over my face. You're not really seeing the personality."

Reissued with two bonus tracks in 2001: an alternate version of Fairweather Friend and the instrumental Wall. Liner notes by Margaret Moser.


Cleo & Big White Cloud singles

Two singles - Cleo b/w Fairweather Friend and Big White Cloud b/w Gideon's Bible - were released to promote the album. Both failed to trouble the charts. Promo copies exist. Those have a light-blue label.

Playing organ on "Ocean" for The Velvet Underground

During the Loaded sessions, the last studio album the Velvets recorded, Cale returned to play organ on Ocean. This version did not make the album, but resurfaced on the Fully Loaded re-issue in 1997.

"I was brought in by Steve Sesnick in a half-hearted attempt at re-uniting old comrades."

Producing Nico's Desertshore

Co-produces the Nico album Desertshore with Joe Boyd. Plays viola on Afraid. An expanded and remastered reissue is part of the The Frozen Borderline 1968-1970 2CD (2007).

Afraid is included on the Conflict & Catalysis: Productions & Arrangements 1966-2006 compilation album (2012).

Tax Free

Tax Free

Plays violin on the track Back By The Quinnipiac on Dutch group Tax Free's untitled debut album. The record was recorded in New York and released in March 1971.

Glass Harp

Glass Harp

Plays electric viola and organ on American psychedelic rock band Glass Harps's untitled debut album.

Bryter Layter

Nick Drake

Plays viola, harpsichord, celeste, piano and organ on Nick Drake's Bryter Layter album.

Tracks featuring Cale: Fly and Northern Sky. The album is released in March 1971.

"I was doing a lot with Nico and it was one of those trips I came over that I met Drake. Joe (Boyd, then an Island Records executive) had set up the studio. When I met Drake I had a 12-string and he'd never seen a D12 before, a Martin. And you know that very complicated picking that he had? He just picked up the guitar and it was just like this orchestral sound coming out. He went nuts. He was sitting there stunned by it."

© 1999- Hans Werksman