The influential and legendary John Cale turns 77 today

He’s one of The Velvet Underground’s founding members

The influential and legendary John Cale turns 77 today

John Davies Cale was born on March 9, 1942, in Garnant, Carmarthenshire, Wales. Cale was one of The Velvet Underground’s founding members. He has contributed immensely to the Alternative and Art Rock music scene since the 1960’s. Since he left The Velvet Underground in 1968, he has released 16 solo studio albums. Of his solo work, Cale is perhaps best known for his album “Paris 1919”, and his cover version of Leonard Cohen’s “Hallelujah”. His creative relationship with Lou Reed was integral to the sound of The Velvet Underground’s first two albums, “The Velvet Underground & 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. After leaving the Velvet Underground, Cale worked as a record producer and arranger on a number of albums, most notably the Stooges’ highly influential 1969 self-titled debut and a trilogy by Nico, including “The Marble Index” (1969), “Desertshore” (1970) and “The End…” (1974). On these, he accompanied Nico’s voice and harmonium using a wide array of instruments to unusual effect. Cale has had a long and productive career without any hiatus. His influence can be heard on several artists including David Bowie, to who in July 2016 Cale made a tribute by performing the songs “Valentine’s Day”, “Sorrow” and “Space Oddity” at a late-night BBC Prom concert at the Royal Albert Hall in London, celebrating the music of David Bowie. Cale’s latest album “MFANS”, was released in 2016. John Cale was inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame as a member of The Velvet Underground in 1996.

Watch John Cale’s music video for the Leonard Cohen song “Hallelujah”



Watch the historical film featuring The Velvet Underground playing live at Andy Warhol’s Factory in 1966 with John Cale

Listen to some of the songs that made John Cale’s career

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