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

Timeline: 1977

Posing with a chicken

Croydon Chicken

Cale was playing The Greyhound in Croydon, England. During Heartbreak Hotel a dead chicken was introduced on stage which Cale decapitated with a meat cleaver. Two of his bandmembers, both vegetarians, were not amused. They walked.

This stunt haunts him until this day, but he did not kill a chicken on stage. The roadie did. Backstage.

"I am singing, 'We could be so lonely,' swinging the chicken around by its feet, nobody in the audience knowing it was dead, 'we could be so ' Twhok! I decapitated it and threw the body into the slam dancers at the front of the stage, and I threw the head past them. It landed in somebody's Pimm's."
Kate & Anne McGarrigle: Dancer With Bruised Knees

Dancer With Bruised Knees

Plays organ on the title track of Dancer With Bruised Knees, an album by Kate & Anne McGarrigle. Plays marima on Be My Baby.

Spedding encore

Chris Spedding joins Cale on stage at the Roundhouse in London for the encore of Baby, What You Want Me To Do, May 10.



Best of album, including Leaving It Up to You which was deleted from Helen Of Troy and the previously unreleased Mary Lou.

Keyboards for Julie Covington

Plays keyboards on the Only Women Bleed single. This is included in the cd-reissue Julie Covington ... plus album.

Harvey Gold Experiments 7" single: Close Watch b/w Armadillo

Harvey Gold covers Close Watch

Harvey Gold - guitarist, bassist, and keyboardist for the experimental rock and new wave band Tin Huey - covers Close Watch. It is the A-side of his 7" solo single Experiments.

Animal Justice

Animal Justice

Releases the EP Animal Justice with three tracks: Memphis, Chickenshit and Hedda Gabler. Released as a 7 &": and 12"

Chickenshit is a putdown for the band members who walked off stage after the Croydon incident. Backup vocals by Jane Friedman.

Memphis and Hedda Gabler were re-released on Seducing Down The Door and the cd re-issue of Sabotage/Live, which also includes Chickenshit.

Packet of Three

Producing the punks

Punk takes off in a big way in the UK. The new kids on the block are in awe of the fact that Cale has produced the first albums by Patti Smith (1975) and The Stooges (1969). He is considered to be cool enough to help them out to commit their angry sounds to vinyl.

Label owner Miles Copeland hooks him up with The Police, but there's no chemistry and the sessions were aborted.

Sham 69

Cale produces three bands:

  1. Packet of Three (Cat On A Wall b/w Night Ride + Back Track), an EP by Squeeze (the EP's title comes from the UK term for a standard package of condoms). He would also produce their self-titled album, released in 1978;
  2. I Don't Wanna/Red London/Ulster, a Sham 69 single;
  3. I Need Nothing b/w Electrocutioner, a single by Menace.

(Thanks to Laurent Cobac <> for the cover scan)

Jamming wih Ian Hunter, Mick Ronson and Corky Laing

Cale foots the bill for a workshop album recorded at the Bearsville studios (New York just west of Woodstock). From

By late 1977, Ian and Corky came together and decided to give it another go. Ian suggested bringing Mick Ronson in, and the trio began rehearsing and hanging out together. John Cale was recording in an adjacent studio one night, so Mick suggested dropping in to see him. At Cale's urging, the group decided spontaneously to record an album, so the four - Hunter, Ronson, Laing, and Cale - recorded about an hours' worth of material on Cale's dime.

Ian Hunter: 'When I worked with Cale, that was great, really great. He brings something into a room, an aura. We did an album once, a workshop album. It was with Corky Laing and Mick Ronson. It was some great stuff, all the lyrics were stream of consciousness. Apparently, Im one of the few people who can do that, if I get excited enough. I can reel off words without writing them down. They just come. We had it going for two nights, and it was great.'

© 1999- Hans Werksman