Nick Drake

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Posted by sonny 03/05/2009 @ 05:12

Tags : nick drake, folk and folk rock, artists, music, entertainment

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In their own words: The Useless Desires -
As for musical influences, I really cherish bands like The Beatles, Radiohead, The Police, The Clash, Pink Floyd, Nick Drake and Nirvana. I listen to music every day and many of the above bands sounds have inspired me to write songs....
Musical Influences: Leon Russell, Bob Dylan, Tony Joe White, Nick ... - Country Standard Time
Bio: Ted Russell Kamp has many identities in the world of music. His session work and his main gig as the bass player in Shooter Jennings' band the .357's keep him the busiest. But Kamp is also a producer, a solo artist, a band leader,...
Wales News Rhydian returns - WalesOnline
You know, the bloke so overblown he makes Meat Loaf sound like Nick Drake. That's right, the one who looked like a cross between the Judderman puppet from the spooky Metz alcopop ads and Christopher Walken playing an evil WWII German commandant....
Marin briefs: Drake, San Rafael top NorCal Mountain Biking League - Marin Independent-Journal
Clayton Herrick came in sixth for the Bulldogs, while Nick Newcomb paced the Pirates to the overall win with a seventh-place showing. In the girls race, a trio of Laurens paced Marin's riders. Drake's Lauren Caitlin was third overall,...
Your Friday RBR Random Ten - Roll 'Bama Roll
A couple of interesting if obscure selections popped up on my MP3 player but one I want to make special note of is the incomparable Nick Drake. A fantastically obscure artist, Drake recorded only three records before his untimely death in 1974 at the...
Five acts not to be missed - San Francisco Chronicle
Berkeley's albums - including his third and latest independent release, "Strange Light," out next week - consistently draw comparisons to the works of doom-laden figures such as Nick Drake and Tim Buckley. But Berkeley, who spends nearly as much of his...
Scott Matthews - Elsewhere -
The sweet Nick Drake influenced vocals are still there, but this time around there are several glimpses of Rufus Wainwright's theatricality. This is understandable considering they've toured together. His influence can be clearly heard in the tracks...
ROPETACKLE: What's on at Shoreham's Ropetackle Centre - Littlehampton Gazette
As reported last week, Keith James and Rick Foot tomorrow (Friday, May 15) present a concert of the songs of Nick Drake, together with a bio-documentary of Nick's life and music. More than 30 years after his death, aged only 26, Nick Drake has become...
Will the Ivor Go to Nick? It's Certainly Worth a Flutter - California Chronicle
"I'm actually not a huge fan of folk music, even though I adore the songwriting and musicianship of Nick Drake and John Martyn. I've always been more into pop music, '60s bands like The Lovin' Spoonful, The Beach Boys and Love....
Geoffrey Gurrumul Yunupingu -
Backed by a classy acoustic band comprising a string quartet, a second acoustic guitar and Hohnen's double bass, he started out like an Aboriginal answer to Nick Drake, with a soulful and emotional treatment of what could have been a sturdy western...

Nick Drake

Nick Drake, c. 1969. No moving images of the adult Drake exist; he was only ever captured in still photographs.[26]

Nicholas Rodney Drake (19 June 1948 – 25 November 1974) was an English singer-songwriter and musician best known for his acoustic, autumnal songs. His primary instrument was the guitar, though he was also proficient at piano, clarinet, and saxophone. Although he failed to find a wide audience during his lifetime, Drake's work has grown steadily in stature, to the extent that he now ranks among the most influential English singer-songwriters of the last 50 years.

Drake signed to Island Records when he was twenty years old and released his debut album, Five Leaves Left, in 1969. By 1972, he had recorded two more albums—Bryter Layter and Pink Moon. None of the albums sold more than 5,000 copies after their initial release. His reluctance to perform live or be interviewed further contributed to his lack of commercial success. Despite this, he was able to gather a loyal group of people who would champion his music. One such person was his manager, Joe Boyd, who had a clause put into his own contract with Island Records that ensured Nick's records would never go out of print. Drake suffered from depression and insomnia throughout his life, and these topics were often reflected in his lyrics. Upon completion of his third album, 1972's Pink Moon, he withdrew from both live performance and recording, retreating to his parents' home in rural Warwickshire. On 25 November 1974, Drake died from an overdose of amitriptyline, a prescribed antidepressant; he was 26 years old.

There was residual interest in Drake's music through the mid-1970s, but it was not until the 1979 release of the retrospective album Fruit Tree that his back catalogue came to be reassessed. By the mid-1980s, Drake was being credited as an influence by such artists as Robert Smith and Peter Buck. In 1985, The Dream Academy reached the UK and US charts with "Life in a Northern Town", a song written for and dedicated to Drake. By the early 1990s, he had come to represent a certain type of 'doomed romantic' musician in the UK music press, and was frequently cited by artists including Kate Bush, Paul Weller, and The Black Crowes. Drake's first biography was written in 1997, and was followed in 1998 by the documentary film A Stranger Among Us. In 2000, Volkswagen featured the title track from Pink Moon in a television advertisement, and within a month Drake had sold more records than he had in the previous thirty years.

Nicholas Rodney Drake was born on 19 June 1948, into an upper-middle-class English family living in Rangoon, Burma. His father, Rodney (1908–1988), had moved there in the early 1930s to work as an engineer with the Bombay Burmah Trading Corporation. In 1934, Rodney met the daughter of a senior member of the Indian Civil Service, Mary Lloyd (1916–1993), known to her family as Molly. Rodney proposed in 1936, though the couple had to wait a year until Molly turned twenty-one before they were allowed by her family to marry. In 1950, they returned to Warwickshire to live in the country estate of Far Leys. Drake had one older sister, Gabrielle, later a successful film and TV actress. Both parents were musically inclined, and they each wrote pieces of music. In particular, recordings of Molly's songs which have come to light following her death are remarkably similar in tone and outlook to the later work of her son. Mother and son share a similar fragile vocal delivery, and both Gabrielle and biographer Trevor Dann have noted a parallel sense of foreboding and fatalism in their music. Encouraged by Molly, Drake learned to play piano at an early age, and began to compose his own tunes, which he would record on a reel-to-reel tape recorder she kept in the family drawing room.

Drake played piano in the school orchestra, and learned clarinet and saxophone. He formed a band, "The Perfumed Gardeners", with four schoolmates in 1964 or 1965. With Drake on piano and occasional alto sax and vocals, the group performed Pye covers and jazz standards, as well as Yardbirds and Manfred Mann numbers. The line-up briefly included Chris de Burgh, but he was soon ejected as his taste was seen as "too poppy" by the other members. Drake's academic performance began to deteriorate, and while he had accelerated a year in Eagle House, at Marlborough he began to neglect his studies in favour of music. He attained seven GCE O-Levels in 1963, but this was fewer than his teachers had been expecting, and he failed "Physics with Chemistry". In 1965, Drake paid £13 for his first acoustic guitar, and was soon experimenting with open tuning and finger-picking techniques.

In 1966, Drake won a scholarship to study English literature at Fitzwilliam College, University of Cambridge. He delayed attendance to spend six months at the University of Aix-Marseille, France, beginning in February 1967. While in Aix, he began to practise guitar in earnest, and to earn money would often busk with friends in the town centre. Drake began to smoke cannabis, and that spring he travelled with friends to Morocco, because, according to travelling companion Richard Charkin, "that was where you got the best pot". Drake likely took his first LSD trip while in Aix, and lyrics written during this period — in particular for the song "Clothes of Sand" — are suggestive of an interest in hallucinogens.

Hutchings introduced Drake to the 25-year old American producer Joe Boyd, owner of the production and management company Witchseason Productions. Witchseason were, at the time, licensed to Island Records, and Boyd, as the man who had discovered Fairport Convention and been responsible for introducing John Martyn and The Incredible String Band to a mainstream audience, was a significant and respected figure on the UK folk scene. He and Drake formed an immediate bond, and the producer acted as a mentor figure to Drake throughout his career. A four track demo, recorded in Drake's college room in the spring of 1968, led Boyd to offer a management, publishing, and production contract to the 20-year old, and to initiate work on a debut album. According to Boyd: "In those days you didn't have cassettes—he brought a reel-to-reel tape that he'd done at home. Half way through the first song, I felt this was pretty special. And I called him up, and he came back in, and we talked, and I just said, 'I'd like to make a record.' He stammered, 'Oh, well, yeah. Okay.' Nick was a man of few words." In a 2004 interview, Drake's friend Paul Wheeler remembered the excitement caused by his seeming big break, and recalled that the singer had already decided not to complete his third year at Cambridge.

Drake began recording his debut album Five Leaves Left later in 1968, with Boyd assuming the role of producer. The sessions took place in Sound Techniques studio, London, with Drake skipping lectures to travel by train to the capital. Inspired by John Simon's production of Leonard Cohen's first album, Boyd was keen that Drake's voice would be recorded in a similar close and intimate style, "with no shiny pop reverb". He also sought to include a string arrangement similar to Simon's, "without overwhelming...or sounding cheesy". To provide backing, Boyd enlisted various contacts from the London folk rock scene, including Fairport Convention guitarist Richard Thompson and Pentangle bassist Danny Thompson. He recruited John Wood as engineer, and drafted Richard Hewson in to provide the string arrangements.

Initial recordings did not go well; the sessions were irregular and rushed, taking place during studio downtime borrowed from Fairport Convention's production of their Unhalfbricking album. Tension arose between artist and producer as to the direction the album should take—Boyd was an advocate of George Martin's "using the studio as an instrument" approach, while Drake preferred a more organic sound. Dann has observed that Drake appears "tight and anxious" on bootleg recordings taken from the sessions, and notes a number of Boyd's unsuccessful attempts at instrumentation. Both were unhappy with Hewson's contribution, which they felt was too mainstream in sound for Drake's songs. Drake suggested using his college friend Robert Kirby as a replacement, although Boyd was sceptical at taking on an amateur music student lacking prior recording experience. However, he was impressed by Drake's uncharacteristic assertiveness, and agreed to a trial. Kirby had previously presented Drake with some arrangements for his songs, and went on to provide a spare chamber music quartet score associated with the sound of the final album. However, Kirby did not feel confident enough to score the album's centerpiece "River Man", and Boyd was forced to stretch the Witchseason budget to hire the veteran composer Harry Robinson, with the instruction that he echo the tone of Delius and Ravel.

Drake ended his studies at Cambridge nine months before graduation, and in autumn 1969 moved to London to concentrate on a career in music. His father remembered "writing him long letters, pointing out the disadvantages of going away from Cambridge...a degree was a safety net, if you manage to get a degree, at least you have something to fall back on; his reply to that was that a safety net was the one thing he did not want." Drake spent his first few months in the capital drifting from place to place, occasionally staying at his sister's Kensington flat, but usually sleeping on friends’ sofas and floors. Eventually, in an attempt to bring some stability and a telephone into Drake's life, Boyd organised and paid for a ground floor bedsit in Belsize Park, Camden.

In August, Drake recorded three unaccompanied songs for the BBC's John Peel show. Two months later, he opened for Fairport Convention at the Royal Festival Hall in London, followed by appearances at folk clubs in Birmingham and Hull. Remembering the performance in Hull, folk singer Michael Chapman commented: "The folkies did not take to him; wanted songs with choruses. They completely missed the point. He didn't say a word the entire evening. It was actually quite painful to watch. I don't know what the audience expected, I mean, they must have known they weren't going to get sea–shanties and sing-alongs at a Nick Drake gig!" The experience reinforced Drake's decision to retreat from live appearances; the few concerts he did play around this time were usually brief, awkward, and poorly attended. Drake seemed unwilling to "perform", and rarely addressed his audience. As many of his songs were played in different tunings, he frequently paused to retune between numbers.

Although the publicity generated by Five Leaves Left was minor, Boyd was keen to build on what momentum there was. 1970's Bryter Layter, again produced by Boyd and engineered by Wood, introduced a more upbeat, jazzier sound. Disappointed by his debut's poor commercial performance, Drake sought to move away from his pastoral sound, and agreed to his producer's suggestions to include bass and drum tracks on the recordings. "It was more of a pop sound, I suppose", Boyd later said, "I imagined it as more commercial." Like its predecessor, the album featured musicians from Fairport Convention, as well as contributions from John Cale on two songs: "Northern Sky" and "Fly". Trevor Dann has noted that while sections of "Northern Sky" sound more characteristic of Cale, the song was the closest Drake came to a release with chart potential. In his 1999 biography, Cale admits to taking heroin during this period, and his older friend Brian Wells began to suspect that Drake was also using. Both Boyd and Wood were confident that the album would be a commercial success, but it went on to sell fewer than three thousand copies. Reviews were again mixed: while Record Mirror praised Drake as a "beautiful guitarist—clean and with perfect timing, accompanied by soft, beautiful arrangements", Melody Maker described the album as "an awkward mix of folk and cocktail jazz".

Soon after the release, Boyd sold Witchseason to Island Records, and moved to Los Angeles to work with Warner Brothers in the development of soundtracks for film. The loss of this key mentor figure, coupled with the album's poor sales, led Drake to further retreat into depression. His attitude to London had changed: he was unhappy living alone, and visibly nervous and uncomfortable performing at a series of concerts in early 1970. In June, Drake gave one of his final live appearances at Ewell Technical College, London. Ralph McTell, who also performed that night remembered that "Nick was monosyllabic. At that particular gig he was very shy. He did the first set and something awful must have happened. He was doing his song 'Fruit Tree' and walked off halfway through it. Just left the stage." His frustration turned to depression, and in 1971 Drake was persuaded by family to visit a psychiatrist at St Thomas's Hospital, London. He was prescribed a course of antidepressants, but he felt uncomfortable and embarrassed about taking them, and tried to hide the fact from his friends. He knew enough about drugs to worry about their side effects, and was concerned about how they would react with his regular cannabis intake.

Island Records founder Chris Blackwell felt Pink Moon had the potential to bring Drake to a mainstream audience; however his staff were disappointed by the artist's unwillingness to undertake any promotional activity. A&R manager Muff Winwood recalls "tearing his hair out" in frustration, and admits that despite Blackwell's enthusiastic support, "the rest of us would have given him the boot." However, following persistent nagging from Boyd, Drake agreed to an interview with Jerry Gilbert of Sounds Magazine. In the only Drake interview ever published, the "shy and introverted folk singer" spoke of his dislike of live appearances, and very little else. "There wasn't any connection whatsoever", Gilbert has said. "I don't think he made eye contact with me once. If you wanted to be uncharitable, you could say he was just a spoiled boy with a silver spoon and went around feeling sorry for himself." Disheartened and convinced he would be unable to write again, Drake decided to retire from music. He toyed with the idea of a different career, even considering the Army.

Referring to this period, John Martyn (who in 1973 wrote the title song of his album Solid Air for and about Drake) described him as the most withdrawn person he'd ever met. He would borrow his mother's car and drive for hours without purpose on occasion, until he ran out of petrol and had to ring his parents to ask to be collected. Friends have recalled the extent to which his appearance had changed. During particularly bleak periods of his illness, he refused to wash his hair or cut his nails. Early in 1972, Drake suffered a nervous breakdown, and was hospitalized for five weeks.

By autumn 1974, Drake's weekly retainer from Island had ceased, and his illness meant he remained in contact with only a few close friends. He had tried to stay in touch with Sophia Ryde, whom he had first met in London in 1968. Ryde has been described by Drake's biographers as "the nearest thing" to a girlfriend in his life, however she now prefers the description 'best (girl) friend'. In a 2005 interview, Ryde revealed that a week before he died, she had sought to end the relationship: "I couldn’t cope with it. I asked him for some time. And I never saw him again". Similar to the relationship Drake had earlier shared with fellow folk musician Linda Thompson, Drake's relationship with Ryde was never consummated.

At some time during the night of 24/25 November 1974, Nick Drake died at home in Far Leys from an overdose of amitriptyline, a type of antidepressant. He had gone to bed early the night before, after spending the afternoon visiting a friend. His mother claimed that, around dawn, he left his room for the kitchen. His family was used to hearing him do this many times before but, during this instance, he did not make a sound. They presumed that he was eating a bowl of cereal. He returned to his room a short while later, and took some pills "to help him sleep". Drake was accustomed to keeping his own hours; he frequently had difficulty sleeping, and would often stay up through the night playing and listening to music, then sleeping late into the following morning. Recalling the events of that night, his mother later stated: "I never used to disturb him at all. But it was about 12 o’clock, and I went in, because really it seemed it was time he got up. And he was lying across the bed. The first thing I saw was his long, long legs." There was no suicide note, although a letter addressed to Ryde was found close to his bed.

There were no press obituaries, documentaries or compilation albums in the wake of Drake's death. His public profile remained low throughout the mid and late 1970s, although occasional mentions of his name began to appear in the music press. Island Records initially saw little commercial value in his back catalogue, and following a 1975 NME article written by Nick Kent, stated "...we have no intention of repackaging Nick's three albums, either now or at anytime in the foreseeable future". By this time, his parents were receiving an increasing number of fans and admirers as visitors to the family home in Far Leys. In 1979, Rob Partridge joined Island Records as press officer, and commissioned the release of the Fruit Tree box set. Partridge was a fan of Drake's, and had seen him perform early in 1969: "The first thing I did when I got to Island was suggest we put together a retrospective—the studio albums plus whatever else was there. I wasn't necessarily expecting massive vaults with millions of tunes, live recordings or whatever, but there was very little..." The release brought together the three studio albums, as well as the four tracks recorded with Wood in 1974, and was accompanied by an extensive biography written by the American journalist Arthur Lubow. However, sales were poor and the album received little press notice; in 1983, Island deleted Fruit Tree from its catalogue.

By the mid 1980s, Drake was being cited as an influence by musicians such as R.E.M.'s Peter Buck and Robert Smith of The Cure. Smith credited the origin of his band's name to a lyric from Drake's song "Time Has Told Me" ("a troubled cure for a troubled mind"). Drake gained further exposure in 1985 with the release of The Dream Academy's hit single "Life in a Northern Town", which included an on-sleeve dedication to Drake. His reputation continued to grow, and by the end of the 1980s, Nick Drake's name was appearing regularly in newspapers and music magazines in the United Kingdom, and though he was still largely a cult figure, he was no longer unknown. Drake had come to represent a kind of mythical doomed romantic hero in the eyes of many, an "enigma wrapped inside a mystery".

In early 1999, BBC2 aired a 40-minute documentary, A Stranger Among Us—In Search of Nick Drake, as part of its Picture This strand. The following year, Dutch director Jeroen Berkvens released a documentary titled A Skin Too Few: The Days of Nick Drake, featuring interviews with Boyd, Gabrielle Drake, Wood and Kirby. Later that year, The Guardian placed Bryter Layter at number 1 in its "Alternative top 100 albums ever" list. In 2000, Volkswagen licensed the title track of Pink Moon for a U.S. commercial, leading to a large increase in record sales, and a number-five placing for Pink Moon in's sales chart.

In recent years, several musicians, including Lucinda Williams, Badly Drawn Boy and Lou Barlow have cited Drake as an influence. Folk artist Tom Flannery recorded an album in 2002 titled Drinking With Nick Drake. In 2004, nearly 30 years after his death, Drake gained his first chart placing when two singles ("Magic" and "River Man"), released to coincide with the compilation album Made to Love Magic, made the middle reaches of the U.K. charts. Later that year, the BBC aired a radio documentary about Drake, narrated by Brad Pitt. In 2004, Drake's song "One of These Things First" appeared in the film Garden State. "One of These Things First" was also heard in the Will Smith film Seven Pounds in 2008.

Drake was obsessive about practicing his guitar playing, and would often stay up through the night, experimenting with tunings and working on songs. His mother remembered hearing him "bumping around at all hours. I think he wrote his nicest melodies in the early-morning hours." A self-taught guitarist, Drake's guitar style is characterised by his use of alternative tunings, which he uses to create cluster chords. Such chords are difficult to achieve on a guitar using standard tuning; Drake used tunings which made cluster chords available using more conventional chord shapes. In many songs he accents the dissonant effect of such non-standard tunings through his vocal melodies.

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Second Grace: The Music of Nick Drake

Second Grace: The Music of Nick Drake is a 2007 release of piano instrumentals by Christopher O'Riley, host of NPR's From The Top, of songs by English singer-songwriter Nick Drake (1948-1974). The booklet includes a lengthy and fairly technical discussion and appreciation of Nick's music by O'Riley.

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Brittle Days - A Tribute to Nick Drake

Brittle Days - A Tribute To Nick Drake is a 1992 compilation album released by Imaginary Records in the UK. The album features contemporary artists performing cover versions of songs by Nick Drake. Imaginary Records, most notably home the The Chameleons UK and similar new-wave UK bands, was greatly influenced by Drake.

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Family Tree (Nick Drake album)

Family Tree is a 2007 compilation album of home recordings by English singer/songwriter Nick Drake. The album is notable for the appearance of Nick's sister, Gabrielle, on one track and the contribution of two original songs performed by Nick's mother, Molly Drake. Recorded before the release of his first album Five Leaves Left, most of the tracks on the album circulated on bootlegs in the years before official release due to the generosity of Drake's family in sharing them with fans. The album reached #35 on Billboard's Top Independent Albums chart, making it Drake's first album to chart in America.

All songs written and performed by Nick Drake except where noted.

Nick Drake performs vocals and acoustic guitar except on those performed by Molly Drake. Gabrielle Drake and Molly Drake appear as noted.

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Nick Drake (album)

Nick Drake was an American only LP complilation release by Nick Drake. It was released in 1971 as SMAS-9307, shortly after Island Records had started selling their own records in the U.S. At the time, they were distributed by Capitol records.

The album included three songs from Five Leaves Left and five songs from Bryter Layter, and was packaged in a gate-fold sleeve that featured photos by Keith Morris.

The 5th Edition of The Goldmine Record Price Guide places its value at $80.

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John Cale

John Cale (2006).jpg

John Davies Cale (born March 9, 1942), better known as John Cale, is a Welsh musician, composer, singer-songwriter and record producer who was a founding member of the rock & roll band The Velvet Underground.

Though best known for his work in rock music, Cale has worked in various genres including drone, noise and classical. Since departing from The Velvet Underground in 1968 he has released approximately 30 albums. Of his solo work, Cale is perhaps best known for his album Paris 1919, plus his mid-1970s Island Records trilogy of albums: Fear, Slow Dazzle, and Helen of Troy.

Cale has produced or collaborated with John Cage, Nick Drake, Kevin Ayers, Brian Eno, Patti Smith, The Stooges, The Modern Lovers, Squeeze, and Siouxsie & the Banshees.

John Cale was born in Garnant in the heavily industrial Amman Valley, and Welsh is his first language. Having discovered a talent for viola, he studied music at Goldsmiths College, University of London. He then traveled to the U.S. to continue his musical training, thanks to the help and influence of Aaron Copland.

Arriving in New York City, he met a number of influential composers. On September 9, 1963, with John Cage and several others, Cale participated in an 18-hour piano-playing marathon that was the first full-length performance of Erik Satie's "Vexations". After the performance, Cale appeared on the television panel show I've Got a Secret. Cale's secret was that he had performed in an 18-hour concert, and he was accompanied by a man whose secret was that he was the only audience member who had stayed for the duration. Cale also played in La Monte Young's ensemble the Theater of Eternal Music (also known as the Dream Syndicate, not be confused with the 1980s band of the same name). The heavily drone-laden music he played there proved to be a big influence in his work with his next group, the Velvet Underground.

Three albums of his early experimental work were released in 2001. One of his collaborators on these recordings was Velvet Underground guitarist Sterling Morrison.

In early 1965, he co-founded The Velvet Underground with Lou Reed, recruiting Reed's college friend Sterling Morrison and Cale's flatmate Angus Maclise to complete the initial line-up. Cale was asked to leave the band in September 1968, due in part to creative disagreements with Reed.

The very first commercially available recording of The Velvet Underground, an instrumental track called "Loop" given away with Aspen magazine, was a feedback experiment written and conducted by Cale. He then appears on the Velvet Underground's first two albums, The Velvet Underground and Nico (recorded in 1966, released in 1967) and White Light/White Heat (recorded in 1967, released in 1968). On these albums he plays viola, bass guitar and piano, and sings occasional backing vocals. White Light/White Heat features Cale on organ (on "Sister Ray") as well as two vocal turns: "Lady Godiva's Operation", an experimental song where he shares lead vocal duties with Reed, and "The Gift", a long spoken word piece written by Reed. Though Cale co-wrote the music to several songs, his most distinctive contribution is the electrically amplified viola.

Cale also played on Nico's 1967 debut album, Chelsea Girl, which features songs co-written by Velvet Underground members Cale, Reed and Morrison, who also feature as musicians. Cale makes his debut as lyricist on "Winter Song" and "Little Sister".

Apart from appearing on these three albums, he also played organ on the track "Ocean" during the demoing sessions for the band's fourth album Loaded, nearly two years after he left the band. He was enticed back into the studio by the band's manager Steve Sesnick "in a half-hearted attempt to reunite old comrades", as Cale put it. Although he does not appear on the finished album, the demo recording of "Ocean" was included in the 1997 Loaded: Fully Loaded Edition re-issue. Finally, five previously unreleased tracks recorded in late 1967 and early 1968 were included on the outtakes compilations VU (1985) and Another View (1986).

Cale is said to have influenced the group's early sound much more than any other members (and often disagreed forcefully with Reed about the direction the group should take). When Cale left, he seemed to take the more experimentalist tendencies with him, as is noticeable in comparing the noise-rock experimental White Light/White Heat (which Cale co-created) to the more pop-oriented The Velvet Underground, recorded after his departure. However, it is noteworthy that his first four solo albums are noticeably quiet and accessible. Cale's tendency towards confrontational and "noisy" music would take four years to reemerge.

After leaving the Velvet Underground, Cale worked as a record producer on a number of albums, including Nico's The Marble Index, Desertshore and (later on Island) The End. On these he accompanied Nico's voice and harmonium using a wide array of instruments to unusual effect. He also produced The Stooges' self-titled debut. He appeared on Nick Drake's second album, Bryter Layter, playing viola and harpsichord on two of the album's tracks. While meeting with producer Joe Boyd, he came across Drake's music and insisted on collaborating with him. After a quick meeting, they wrote "Northern Sky" and "Fly".

In 1970, in addition to his career as a producer, Cale began to make solo records. His first, the pastoral Vintage Violence, is generally classified as folk-pop. Shortly thereafter, his collaboration with another classical musician, Terry Riley, on the mainly instrumental Church of Anthrax, was released, although it was actually recorded almost a year prior. His classical explorations continued with 1972's The Academy in Peril. He would not compose in the classical mode again until he began composing for soundtracks in the 1980s.

In 1972, he signed with Reprise Records as performer and in-house producer. His The Academy in Peril was his first project for Reprise. His fourth solo record Paris 1919 (1973) steered back towards the singer-songwriter mode. Paris 1919, made up of songs with arcane and complex lyrics, has been cited by critics as one of his best. Artists he produced while at Reprise included Jennifer Warnes' third album, Jennifer, as well as albums by Chunky, Ernie & Novi and The Modern Lovers, which Reprise chose not to release (it was subsequently released by Beserkley Records).

Cale's work as a producer continued. In 1974, he joined Island Records, and worked in that capacity with Squeeze, Patti Smith, and Sham 69, among others. He produced a number of important protopunk records, including debuts by Smith and The Modern Lovers. During this period, he also worked as a talent scout with Island's A&R department.

In 1977, he released the Animal Justice EP, notable particularly for the epic "Hedda Gabler", based very loosely on the Ibsen play. His often loud, abrasive and confrontational live performances fitted well with the nascent punk rock developing on both sides of the Atlantic Ocean. Cale took to wearing a hockey goaltender's mask onstage; see the cover of the Guts compilation (1977). This look predated Friday the 13th's villain, Jason Voorhees, by several years. During one gig he chopped the head off a dead chicken with a meat cleaver, and his band walked offstage in protest. Cale's drummer — a vegetarian — was so bothered he quit the group. Cale mocks his decision on "Chicken Shit" from the Animal Justice EP. Cale has admitted that some of his paranoia and erratic behaviour at this time was associated with heavy cocaine use.

In December 1979 Cale's embrace of the punk rock ethic culminated in the release of Sabotage/Live. This record, recorded live at CBGB that June, features aggressive vocal and instrumental performances. The album consists entirely of new songs, many of which grapple confrontationally with global politics and paranoia. The band used includes Deerfrance on vocals and percussion. An earlier live set, consisting mostly of new material, was recorded at CBGB the previous year. It was released in 1991 as Even Cowgirls Get the Blues. The band on that recording includes Ivan Kral of the Patti Smith Group on bass and Judy Nylon on vocals.

In 1981, Cale signed with A&M Records and tried to move in a more commercial direction with the album Honi Soit. He worked with producer Mike Thorne towards this end . Andy Warhol provided the cover art, in black and white, but against Warhol's wishes Cale colorized it. The new direction did not succeed commercially, however, and his relationship with A&M ended. Around this time, Cale married his third wife, Rise Irushalmi. (His first two marriages were to fashion designer Betsey Johnson and to Cynthia Wells, better known as Miss Cynderella of The GTOs).

He followed up with the album Caribbean Sunset, also on Ze. This work, with much more accessible production than Music for a New Society, was still extremely militant in some ways. It has never seen release on CD. A live album, John Cale Comes Alive, followed it and included two new studio songs, "Ooh La La" and "Never Give Up On You". His daughter Eden Cale was born in July 1985.

In a last effort at commercial success, Cale recorded Artificial Intelligence for Beggars Banquet records. This album, written in collaboration with Larry "Ratso" Sloman, was characterized by synthesizers and drum machines and is entirely written in the pop idiom. It was not significantly more successful than its predecessors, despite the relative success of the single "Satellite Walk." It has been voted Cale's worst album by the Sabotage2 mailing list.

Thereafter, in part because of his young daughter, Cale took a long break from recording and performing.

In 1990, he again collaborated with Eno on an album entitled Wrong Way Up. This was another of Cale's uneasy working relationships, and he remains bitter about his experience with Eno.

In 1991 Cale contributed one song to the tribute album to Leonard Cohen "I'm Your Fan". This was Hallelujah in which he is his own and sole accompanist on the piano. Some consider this his best ever recorded song.

In 1992, Cale performed vocals on the song "First Evening" on French producer Hector Zazou's album Sahara Blue. All lyrics on the album were based on the poetry of author Arthur Rimbaud. In 1994, Cale performed a spoken word duet with Suzanne Vega on the song "The Long Voyage" on Zazou's album Chansons des mers froides. The lyrics were based on the poem "Les Silhouettes" by author Oscar Wilde and Cale co-wrote the music with Zazou. It was later released as a single (retitled "The Long Voyages" as it featured several remixes by Zazou, Mad Professor, and more).

Songs for Drella saw him reunited with Reed, in a tribute to one-time Velvet Underground manager and mentor Andy Warhol. Though the reconciliation was fruitful, old differences resurfaced, causing tension. In his autobiography, Cale revealed that he resented letting Lou take charge of the project. The collaboration eventually led to the brief reunion of the Velvet Underground in 1993.

Nico, an instrumental ballet score and tribute to the singer was performed by Scapino Rotterdam plus an added selection from The Marble Index in 1998, with the score released as Dance Music. That same year, Cale was also the organizer of the "With A Little Help From My Friends" festival that took place at the Paradiso in Amsterdam. The concert was shown on Dutch national television and featured a song especially composed for the event and still unreleased, "Murdering Mouth" sang in duet with Siouxsie Sioux.

Cale has also written a number of film soundtracks, often using more classically influenced instrumentation. His autobiography, What's Welsh for Zen?, was published in 1999.

With 2003's E.P. Five Tracks and the album HoboSapiens, Cale again returned as a regular recording artist, this time with music influenced by modern electronica and alternative rock. The well received album was co-produced with Nick Franglen of Lemon Jelly. That record was followed with 2005's album BlackAcetate.

In 2005, Cale produced Austin singer-songwriter Alejandro Escovedo's eighth album, The Boxing Mirror, which was released in May 2006. In June 2006, Cale released a radio and digital single, "Jumbo in tha Modernworld," that was unconnected to any album. A video was created for the song as well.

In March 2007 a 23-song live retrospective, Circus Live, was released in Europe. This two-disc album, composed of recordings from both the 2004 and 2006 tours, featured new arrangements and reworkings of songs from his entire career. Of particular interest is the Amsterdam Suite, a set of songs from a performance at the Amsterdam Paradiso in 2004 (archived by the venue on their internet performance repository). A studio-created drone has been edited into these songs. The set also included a DVD, featuring electric rehearsal material and a short acoustic set, as well as a "Jumbo in Tha Modernworld" for 2006 single.

In May 2007, Cale contributed a cover of LCD Soundsystem song "All My Friends" to the vinyl and digital single releases of the LCD Soundsystem original. Cale has continued to work with other artists, contributing viola to the forthcoming Danger Mouse-produced second album by London psychedelic trio The Shortwave Set and producing the second album of American indie band Ambulance Ltd.

On October 11, 2008 Cale hosted an event to pay tribute to Nico in celebration of what ,five days later, would have been her 70th birthday.. This event featured many artists including James Dean Bradfield, Mark Lanegan, Mark Linkous of Sparklehorse, The Fiery Furnaces, Guillemots, Nick Franglen of Lemon Jelly, Peter Murphy, Liz Green, and Lisa Gerrard of Dead Can Dance.

In 2009, Cale will be representing Wales in the Venice Biennale. He will collaborating with artists, filmmakers, and poets, and is focusing the artwork on his relationship with the Welsh language.

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Source : Wikipedia