John Cale | Artist

John Cale | Artist

Tags: Era_1970s, Genre_Art_Rock, Genre_Experimental, Origin_UK, Type_Artist

John Davies Cale OBE is a Welsh musician, composer, singer, songwriter and record producer born 1942 in Garnant, Wales. Cale was a founding member of the Velvet Underground along with Lou Reed, both coming from a proto-Punk band called The Primitives. Cale is a classically trained Viola player as well as one of the early practitioners of avant-garde minimalism in rock music. He produced many seminal albums for artists such as Patti Smith, Nico, The Stooges, Squeeze and Nick Drake. He has also collaborated with artists such as Chris Spedding, Nico, Brian Eno, Lou Reed and Terry Riley. Coming from humble beginnings in a small Welsh mining village, the son of a coal miner father and primary school teacher mother, Cale enjoyed and followed rock music as well as avant-garde and European art music from a young age. A talent for viola saw Cale join the National Youth Orchestra of Wales at age 13, then upon winning a scholarship, he studied music at Goldsmiths College, University of London. Whilst there he organised an early Fluxus concert and had two scores published in Fluxus Preview Review for the nascent avant-garde collective. He conducted the first performance in the UK of Cage's Concert for Piano and Orchestra, with the composer and pianist Michael Garrett as soloist. In 1963, he travelled to the United States to continue his musical training with the assistance and influence of Aaron Copland whom recommended him for Tanglewood. In New York he met John Cage and performed as part of La Monte Young's Theatre of Eternal Music. Despite his background in art music and the avant-garde, Cale also enjoyed rock music. In 1965 he co-founded the Velvet Underground with Lou Reed, recruiting his flatmate Angus MacLise and Reed's college friend Sterling Morrison to complete the initial line-up. Cale was central to VU's sound on their first two seminal albums; Velvet Underground & Nico, and White Light/White Heat. He also rejoined the band in 1992 for the reunion performances and recording Live MCMXCIII. Although Cale was forced out of VU by Reed, the pair would later collaborate on the Andy Warhol dedication Songs for Drella (1990). After leaving the Velvet Underground, Cale worked as a record producer and arranger on a number of studio albums, most notably the Stooges' highly influential 1969 self-titled debut and a trilogy by Nico; The Marble Index (1968), Desertshore (1970) and The End (1974). On these he accompanied Nico playing a wide array of instruments. He also met Nick Drake at this time and insisted on collaborating with the fledgling artist. He appeared on Drake's second studio album, Bryter Later (1971), playing viola and harpsichord on "Fly" and piano, organ, and celesta on "Northern Sky". Cale also worked extensively with guitar supremo Chris Spedding on many of his best solo works. Outstanding Cale solo albums include Vintage Violence (1970), The Academy in Peril (1972), Fear (1974), Slow Dazzle (1975), Helen of Troy (1975), Music for a New Society (1982), Fragments of a Rainy Season (1992), Hobo Sapiens (2003), Black Acetate (2005), Mercy (2023) and the early masterpiece Paris 1919 (1973). Cale also recorded several excellent collaborative works including Church of Anthrax (1971) with Terry Riley, Songs for Drella (1990) with Lou Reed, and Wrong Way Up (1990) with Brian Eno. Cale's second wife was Cynthia "Cindy" Wells, better known as Miss Cindy of the band GTO's. One of the greatest rock music innovators of his age, Cale was appointed an OBE in the 2010 Queen's Birthday Honours.

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Featured Albums: John Cale

Related Artists: Velvet Underground, Reed & Cale, Lou Reed, Nico, Eno & Cale, Chris Spedding, Terry Riley

Video Clips: Hallelujah, Close Watch, Paris 1919

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