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

Solo albums

Helen of Troy

Helen Of Troy

About this album

Released in 1975. Island ILPS 9350. Island 9123 002 (France).


  1. My Maria
  2. Helen Of Troy
  3. China Sea
  4. Engine
  5. Save Us
  6. Cable Hogue
  7. I Keep A Close Watch
  8. Pablo Picasso
  9. Coral Moon / Leaving It Up To You
  10. Baby, What You Want Me To Do?
  11. Sudden Death
Helen of Troy promo poster

This album came out without Cale's consent, who considered that the tapes were not finished. After shipping the first pressings Island Records replaced the track Leaving It Up to You with Coral Moon, because it mentioned Sharon Tate, wife of film director Roman Polanksi, who was killed on August 9, 1969 by the Charles Manson gang. The CD version contains both tracks.

Things turned sour, and Cale and Island did go their separate ways.

Cover photo shoot outtake
"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 an 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 losing it's percentage of the market, which was making everybody very paranoid."

Vinyl reissue with bonus tracks

Reissued in 2008 on Vinyl Lovers with two bonus tracks: Mary Lou and Coral Moon. Distributed through Lowlands:

Side A:

  1. My Maria
  2. Helen Of Troy
  3. China Sea
  4. Engine
  5. Save Us
  6. Cable Hogue
  7. Mary Lou

Side B:

  1. I Keep A Close Watch
  2. Pablo Picasso
  3. Leaving It Up To You
  4. Baby, What You Want Me To Do?
  5. Sudden Death
  6. Coral Moon
Helen Of Troy reissue

CD reissue

American CD label Culture Factory reissues the album in 2013 on compact-disc which reproduces meticulously all the components of the original LP and are their exact replicas in compact-disc size (5.3 x 5.3 inches). The music is encoded using state of the art, high definition remastering in 96 kHz / 24 BIT audio.

All songs written by John Cale, except Pablo Picasso written by Jonathan Richman, and Baby What You Want Me To Do by Jimmy Reed.

During the sessions Cale cut three other songs: the unreleased covers Willow Weep For Me and God Only Knows, and Mary Lou which was released on the compilation album Guts.

John Cale: keyboards, guitar, vocals
Phil Collins: drums
Pat Donaldson: bass
Tim Donald: drums
Brian Eno: synthesizer
Chris Spedding: guitar

Other credits:
Producer: John Cale
Executive producer: John Wood
Mixing engineer: Vic Gamm
Strings and Choir arrangments: Robert Kirby
Recorded at Sound Techniques, London, United Kingdom

© 1999- Hans Werksman