Paris 1919 is an album by Welsh musician John Cale, released in March 1973. It was recorded in 1972 and 1973 with producer Chris Thomas, and - although musician credits were never given on the album's packaging until the 2006 Rhino expanded CD edition - features Little Feat members Lowell George on guitar and Richie Hayward on drums, in addition to Wilton Felder of the Crusaders on bass, and orchestration provided by the UCLA Symphony Orchestra.Paris 1919 is made up of songs with arcane and complex lyrics; musically, the album is a shift from his previous works with composer Terry Riley and his avant-garde experiments with La Monte Young towards a more baroque sound. It is the most accessible and traditional of Cale's albums, and the best-known of his work as a solo artist.
The album's title makes reference to the Versailles Conference, the partitioning of Europe that, through the assignment of unilateral war reparations, arguably contributed substantially to the rise of the Third Reich; Cale described the record as "an example of the nicest ways of saying something ugly." A remastered and expanded edition was released in June 2006, featuring alternate versions of each song on the album, as well as the previously unreleased session outtake "Burned Out Affair".
The album was released in March 1973 by Reprise Records to warm critical reception. The Los Angeles Times called Paris 1919 "the idiosyncratic pinnacle to Cale's thrilling yet perverse career, despite the fact it never topped the charts."Paris 1919 was reissued on 19 June 2006 by Rhino Records UK, featuring the original album remastered, in addition to the outtake "Burned Out Affair", alternate and rehearsal versions of every song on the album, a hidden, unlisted instrumental version of "Macbeth", and the sound effects of the chirping birds found in the title track. Pitchfork Media gave the reissue a 9.5 out of 10 rating, and Allmusic gave the album 4-and-a-half stars, calling the songs "...richly poetic, enigmatic period pieces strongly evocative of their time and place. ...Indeed, there's little here to suggest either Cale's noisy, abrasive past or the chaos about to resurface in his subsequent work -- for better or worse, his music never achieved a similar beauty again."