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

The singles

Cale and the charts

Jumbo in tha Modernworld

No single ever released can be qualified as a hit single. Perfect was the last single to even chart at all in 2005.

"A cult figure is a guy who hasn't got the ability to make the charts"

Note: Record companies often put out feelers for an album. If a track picks up considerable airplay (see promo stuff) a regular release will follow. Nowadays physical singles are a rarity. The record companies prefer offering them as digital downloads.

Unreleased singles
At least two singles were never released, but there are some test pressings floating around:


Cleo / Fairweather Friend
7 inch 45rpm single. July 1970
Columbia 4-45154, USA

Big White Cloud / Gideon's Bible
7 inch 45rpm single. 1970
Columbia 4-45266, USA

A re-recorded version (longer and with echo effects) of Big White Cloud features on the Smokin' Aces soundtrack. Made available as an electronic download in January 2007. Also included on the DVD of Circus Live.

Dixieland And Dixie / The Biggest, Hairiest, Loudest Band Of All
7 inch 45rpm single
CBS, 1971/2

Never released. The tracks were recorded to fulfill a contractual obligation to CBS. Dixieland And Dixie is included on the Seducing Down The Door compilation. A live version of The Biggest, Hairiest, Loudest Band Of All can be found on Bataclan 1972.

Days of Steam / Legs Larry At The Television Centre

Days of Steam / Legs Larry At The Television Centre
7 inch 45rpm single. 1972
Reprise RO.118, New Zealand

The Man Who Couldn't Afford To Orgy / Sylvia Said
7 inch 45rpm single. 1974
Island WIP 6202, UK

Dirty Ass Rock 'n' Roll / Heartbreak Hotel

Dirty Ass Rock 'n' Roll / Heartbreak Hotel
7 inch 45rpm single. 1977
Island, France

Animal Justice

Animal Justice EP
7 and 12 inch 45rpm single. September 1977.
Tracks: Memphis, Chickenshit and Hedda Gabler
Illegal IL 003, UK

Chickenshit is a putdown for the band members who walked off stage after the Croydon incident on April 24, 1977. Backup vocals by his lover/manager Jane Friedman.

Note: re-released as bonus tracks on the CD reissue of the Sabotage/Live album in 1999.

Jack The Ripper In The Moulin Rouge / Memphis test pressing

Jack The Ripper In The Moulin Rouge / Memphis (Instrumental)
7 inch 45rpm single. 1978
Test pressing only, Illegal IL 006, UK

The single is pulled, because of the Yorkshire Ripper murders in Northern England.

Jack The Ripper track is included on the Seducing Down The Door compilation. It also re-surfaces on the IRS Anniversary album These People Are Nuts! in 1989. Another track that recorded during the sessions, Ton Ton Macoute, stays hidden in the vaults.

single mercenaries

Mercenaries / Rosegarden Funeral of Sores
7 inch / 12 inch 45rpm single. January 1980.
Spy Records Ltd. SPY 007
I.R.S. Records IR-9008

Note: this studio version of Mercenaries was never officially released on an album. The master is lost. A live version can be found on the Sabotage/Live album.

Dead Or Alive (Netherlands)

Dead Or Alive / Honi Soit
7 inch 45rpm single. 1981
Three different versions of this single:
A&M AMS 9134, Netherlands (Picture sleeve)
A&M AMS 8130, UK, May 1981
A&M 2329-S (Red label in company sleeve)

Close Watch / Close Watch
7 inch 45rpm single. 1982/1983
Contains the Helen 0f Troy and Music For A New Society version
SE/Island 104.876, Germany (1982)
Ze IS 113, UK ( 1983)

Close Watch / Changes Made
7 inch 45rpm single. Germany 1982.

Villa Albani maxi single

Villa Albani
12 inch. 1984.
Three tracks: Villa Albani / Villa Albani (instrumental) / Hungry For Love
Ze/Island 601 267-213, Germany

Ooh la la

Ooh La La / Magazines
7 inch 45rpm single. September 1984.

Ze IS 197, UK

Also on the Seducing Down The Door compilation. A different version included on the Comes Alive album.

Dying On The Vine

Dying On The Vine / Everytime The Dogs Bark
7 inch 45rpm single. July 1985.
Beggars Banquet 145, UK 12 inch. July 1985.
Beggars Banquet 145t, UK

Satellite Walk

Satellite Walk
12 inch. 1985.
A remix by Carl Beatty - at Sigma Sound, NYC - of the track Satellite Walk was released as a 12 inch in Germany and the UK, with Dying On The Vine and the otherwise unavailable instrumental track Crash Course In Harmonics on the B-side.

Beggars Banquet 153T, UK
FünfUndVierzig 4517, Germany ( 1986)

Nobody But You / Style It Takes
7 inch 45rpm 1990.
Sire Records/Warner 5439 19808-7 Germany

Drella cdep

Nobody But You / Style It Takes / A Dream
CDEP. 1990.
Sire Records/Warner 7599-21555-2, Germany

One Word

Wrong Way Up singles etc.
The following 12 inches, CD singles and CDEP's were released during the release of Wrong Way Up.

One Word / Grandfather's House / Palanquin
(w. Brian Eno)
12 inch. October 1990.
Land LANT 04, UK

One Word / Grandfather's House / Palanquin
(w. Brian Eno)
CDEP. October 1990.
Land LANH 04, UK

Spinning Away (Edit) / Grandfather's House / Palanquin
12 inch. 1990.
(w. Brian Eno)
Opal/Warner Bros. 7599-21826-0, Germany

Spinning Away (Edit) / Grandfather's House / Palanquin
CD maxi single inch. 1990.
(w. Brian Eno)
Opal/Warner Bros. 7599-21826, Germany

Spinning Away / Grandfather's House
(w. Brian Eno)
7 inch 45rpm single. 1990.
Picture sleeve
Opal/Warner Bros. 5439-19475-7, Germany

One Word / Empty Frame / You Don't Miss Your Water / One Word (The Woodbridge Mix) / Grandfather's House
(w. Brian Eno)
CDEP. 1991.
One Word is a 3:38 edited version. Empty Frame same as on the album version. You Don't Miss Your Water taken form the Eno album Married To The Mob. Grandfather's House previously unreleased.
Opal/Warner Bros. 9 40001-2, USA


CDEP. 1991.
Includes Leonard Cohen's original and John Cale's cover version. The Queen and Me (aka Queen Victoria) is an otherwise unavailable Cale/Cohen composition.
Columbia COL 657664 2, UK.

  1. Hallelujah
  2. Hallelujah (Leonard Cohen)
  3. The Queen And Me

Booker T. cdep

Paris s'eveille
CDEP. December 1991.

Contains the full version (6:39) of Booker T. and the otherwise unavailable track L'Heritage Du Dragon. The Japanese editon of the album also has the full version.

Les Disques Du Crépuscule / Delabel / Virgin DE 035080, France.

Long Voyage CDEP

The Long Voyage
CD single of the duet with Suzanne Vega
The Long Voyage (edit: 4:07) / The Long Voyage (5:32)
Columbia 1995.

The song is also released by Columbia in November 1995 on a CDEP with seven different remixes:

  1. The Long Voyage Dub Mix - Mad Professor
  2. The Long Voyage Seashores Mares Del Sur Mix - Alexis Mauri
  3. The Long Voyage Tropical Train Mix - Lefdup & Lefdup
  4. The Long Voyage Jungle Mix - Mad Professor
  5. The Long Voyage Wildermaid Mix - Alexis Mauri
  6. The Long Voyage Meditation Mix - Loop John B
  7. The Long Voyage Mode d'Emploi Autopsy Mix - Gilles Martin & Hector Zazou
5 Tracks

5 Tracks
CDEP. May 2003.
EMI Capitol CDEM 621, UK.

  1. Verses
  2. Waiting for Blonde
  3. Chums of Dumpty (we all are)
  4. E Is Missing
  5. Wilderness Approaching (from the film Paris)

Cale Vs The Bees Vs Doctor Rockit
12" single.
EMI 12EMDJ 621 UK, 2003.
A special 12" single with four remixes of tracks:

Bicycle 12"

Bicycle 12" with Look Horizon remix
12" single.
EMI 12EM 628 UK, 2003

A special 12" single. Bicycle is the same version as on HoboSapiens. The B side is Look Horizon (Zongamin Remix): Remix and Additional Production by Smukai @ House Of Zongamin For Burning Bridges Productions.


CD single. October 2003.

  1. Things
  2. Things X

Suicide Theme From Process

Suicide Theme From Process
Syntax. 5024545335163

A limited edition 3 tracks 22+ Minutes 10" EP with three tracks from the Process soundtrack: Suicide, Candles and Reading Poem.


August 2005
Only available as an electronic download.


CD single. October 2005
EMI. EM672, UK

  1. Perfect
  2. Reading My Mind (Paisley Sound Remix)

Reading My Mind (Paisley Sound Remix) taken from the Japanese edition of HoboSapiens.

January 2006
Only available as an electronic download.

Jumbo in tha Modernworld

Jumbo in tha Modernworld
Available as an electronic download in 2006. Released as a bonus 7" single ( b/w GravelDrive (Blathamix) in february 2007 with the 3LP version of Circus Live.
The advance copy of this single includes the otherwise unavailable intrumental version.

Big White Cloud
January 2007
Available as an electronic download. Re-recorded version (longer and with echo effects) features on the Smokin' Aces soundtrack. Also included on the DVD of Circus Live and as a 7 inch 45rpm single with the 3 LP vinyl version of that album.

All My Friends
May 2007
DFA under license of EMI.
DFAEMI7 2169
Cover of LCD Soundsystem on a 7 inch 33 rpm single. Comes with a free poster.
Also available as an electronic download and a 12 inch DJ maxi (dfaemi 2169x).

Whaddya Mean By That

Whaddya Mean By That
July 2011
Domino Records
Available as an electronic download.

Extra Playful: Transitions 12"

Extra Playful: Transitions 12"
April 21, 2012
Domino Records

Special limited release (750 copies) on white vinyl for Record Store Day. Three remixes and two Cale inspired tracks.


A1. ‘Whaddya Mean By That’ – Maria Minvera's Freaky Cafe Del Mar Mix
A2. ‘Perfection’ – Actress Reflection Mix
A3. ‘Catastrofuk’ – Alva Noto Remodel
B1. ‘Watching & Waiting For You To Begin’ – Leyland Kirby
B2. ‘Suffocation Raga For John Cale’ – Tim Hecker

John Cale: I Wanna Talk 2

I Wanna Talk 2 U
July 6, 2012
Domino Records
Digital single.

Lead single from the Shifty Adventures in Nookie Wood album. The single is the result of a jam session with Danger Mouse (American producer Brian Joseph Burton).

Face to the Sky b/w Living With You (Organic Mix)

Face to the Sky b/w Living With You (Organic Mix)
August 29, 2012 (vinyl September 7)
Digital and 7" single.

Two tracks, one of them a remix, from Shifty Adventures in Nookie Wood.

Living With You

Living With You
February 25, 2013
Domino Records

Digital single, Contains the Shifty Adventures in Nookie Wood album version, the Organix remix and the Laurel Halo remix.

All Summer Long

All Summer Long
August 6, 2013
Domino Records
Digital single

The All Summer Long single is released on August 6. It is available on iTunes, paired with Sandman (Flying Dutchman), the closing track from his 2012 studio album Shifty Adventures in Nookie Wood.

Cale in Spin Magazine:

When writing for Shifty Adventures I noticed an apparent theme of claustrophobic darkness and so of course, I felt at home in that place. (..) There [was] a handful of songs unfinished. One in particular was me dreaming about a breeze, space and light. Recalling those early days in my sticky, sweltering NYC flat — how I'd heard summer from the West Coast — thinking how the California landscape informed a vibe that churned out Brian Wilson, Herb Alpert and that strange, sexy breeze in your ears. Since the album was predominantly located in the darker, eerie swamps of Nookie Wood, it seemed like the wrong place to put this song, but now, just feels right to let it out.
Cover art for Lazy Day

Lazy Day
October 6, 2020
Domino Records
Digital single

His first new music since the release of M:FANS in 2016.

"I was so ready to finally get my new album out; fits and starts and then damn 2020 happened! A lot to say in these times. "Context is everything and 140 characters isn't going to cut it! As a songwriter my truth is all tied-up in and through those songs that must wait a while longer.

It occurred to me that I do have something for the moment, a song I'd recently complete. With the world careening out of its orbit I wanted to stop the lurch and enjoy a period where we can take our time and breathe our way back into a calmer world."

Night Crawling

Night Crawling
August 1, 2022
Domino Records
Digital single

He looks back to the 70s when he roamed the streets with David Bowie, who is featured in the animated video made by Mickey Miles. Cale is pictured wearing the suit that was pictured on the cover of Paris 1919:

"There was this period around mid-late '70s when David and I would run into each other in NY. There was plenty of talk about getting some work done but of course we'd end up running the streets, sometimes until we couldn't keep a thought in our heads, let alone actually get a song together! One night we managed to meet up for a benefit concert where I taught him a viola part so we could perform together. When I wrote 'Night Crawling,' it was a reflective moment of particular times. That kind of NYC that held art in its grip, strong enough to keep it safe and dangerous enough to keep it interesting. I always figured we'd have another go at the two of us recording together, this time without the interference of being perpetually off our heads! The thing about creating music is the ability to divine a thought or feeling even when reality says it's a logical impossibility."

Story of Blood
October 19, 2022
Domino Records
Digital single

A collaboration with Weyes Blood, nom-de-plume of American singer Natalie Laura Mering. He digs deep into his bag of sonic tricks and Mering added layers of mesmerizing vocals. Starting out as a gentle piano ballad the track explores both the back roads and the mainstream guise of art-rock and minimalist electronics. The video was directed by Jethro Waters.

Noise Of You
January 11, 2023
Domino Records
Digital single

A surprisingly gentle love song about trying to win back his loved one. It's an amalgam of electronics, spoken word and stacked vocals, some of them with an almost choral delivery, but he changes in the mood in the last seconds of the track, when he demands to be heard. It is another taste from his the new album Mercy. The video was directed by Pepi Ginsberg, with animations created by Studio Junbi, and photos and home videos supplied by Nita Scott.

How We See The Light (2024)
March 26, 2024 Domino Records
Digital single

Released as a first taste for the POPtical Illusion album. The video was directed by Pepi Ginsberg. It is their second collaboration. The clip for Noise Of You was the first in 2023.

© 1999- Hans Werksman