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Biography

  • Born

    9 March 1942 (age 77)

  • Born In

    Garnant, Carmarthenshire, Wales, United Kingdom

John Cale, OBE (born 9 March 1942) is a Welsh musician, composer, singer-songwriter and record producer. He was a founding member of the band The Velvet Underground in early 1965. Though best known for his work in music, Cale has worked in various genres including and . Since departing from the Velvet Underground in 1968 he has released over thirty albums. Of his solo work, he is perhaps best known for his 1973 album 'Paris 1919' and the song of the same name, works reminiscent of film scores and tuneful music being perhaps the most accessible of his pieces.

Born on 9th March 1942 in Garnant, Wales, Cale spoke only Welsh until the age of seven, when he began to learn English at school. He went on to study viola at Goldsmiths College, University of London, where he became involved in avant garde music. He traveled to the U.S. to continue his studies, thanks to the help and influence of Aaron Copland, and met and worked with various avant-garde composers, including John Cage, while becoming fascinated with the new Anglo-American art movements.

In 1965, he co-founded the Velvet Underground with Lou Reed. Though best known for his work with the band, Cale has produced a massive body of work that ranges from tastefully arranged strings and piano over Dylan Thomas poetry to barely-suppressed, nigh-psychotic aggression set to high-energy avant-garde rock. Cale's style is almost impossible to pin down, as almost every album contains new experiments and influences. He is also well known as the producer of such works as the debuts of The Stooges, The Modern Lovers, and Patti Smith (the critically acclaimed 'Horses'). He also played a major role in Nico's 'The Marble Index'.

He's released some compilation works such as 'Seducing Down the Door: A Collection 1970-1990' that attempt to show the range and depth of his music. Cale was inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame as member of the Velvet Underground in 1996, and he was also appointed Officer of the Order of the British Empire in 2010. As the years have gone by, he's had a wide variety of tours, additionally dealing with his own personal demons.

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