Fear (John Cale album)

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Studio album by John Cale
Released 1 October 1974 (1974-10-01)
Recorded 1974
Studio Sound Techniques and Olympic Studios, London, England
Genre Rock
Length 40:48
Label Island
Producer John Cale
John Cale chronology
June 1, 1974
(1974)June 1, 19741974
Slow Dazzle
(1975)Slow Dazzle1975
Singles from Fear
  1. "The Man Who Couldn't Afford to Orgy" b/w "Sylvia Said"
    Released: 1974

Fear is the fourth solo studio album by Welsh musician John Cale, released on 1 October 1974 by Island Records.

Recording and content[edit]

Fear is the first of Cale's three studio albums for Island Records, all of which were released in a period of just over a year. During this time Cale was also producing records for other artists, working on albums such as Horses by Patti Smith, one of the most influential of all proto-punk records.

In addition to his lead vocals on Fear, Cale also played keyboards, guitars, viola, violin and bass, and was joined by Fairport Convention's Richard Thompson, Roxy Music's Brian Eno and Phil Manzanera, and other artists who were signed to Island at the time.

"Gun" features an unusual two-man guitar solo from Manzanera and Eno, with the latter using a synthesizer to process the former's guitar playing in real-time.[1] The promotional album for Fear released by Island Records contained an interview with Cale. He announced an adaption of the William Blake poem "Jerusalem", and cover versions of the songs "Girl from the North Country" by Bob Dylan, "Eight Miles High" by the Byrds and "I Can See for Miles" by the Who.[2]

The cover photography was by Keith Morris.


Fear was released on 1 October 1974. "The Man Who Couldn't Afford to Orgy" b/w "Sylvia Said" was released as a single.

The album was remastered in 1996 as part of the 2CD release The Island Years, containing also both Slow Dazzle and Helen of Troy. It contained the following bonus track "Sylvia Said (Remix)" making the single version of "Sylvia Said" unissued on CD (as of 2018).

Critical reception[edit]

Professional ratings
Review scores
Source Rating
AllMusic 4/5 stars [3]
Robert Christgau A−[4]
Trouser Press favourable[5]

Trouser Press called it "a brilliant record full of neat surprises and great, unsettling songs."[5]

Track listing[edit]

All tracks written by John Cale.

Side one
No. Title Length
1. "Fear Is a Man's Best Friend" 3:53
2. "Buffalo Ballet" 3:29
3. "Barracuda" 3:48
4. "Emily" 4:23
5. "Ship of Fools" 4:38
Side two
No. Title Length
6. "Gun" 8:05
7. "The Man Who Couldn't Afford to Orgy" 4:35
8. "You Know More Than I Know" 3:35
9. "Momamma Scuba" 4:24
Total length: 40:48


Adapted from the Fear liner notes.[6]



  1. ^ Mitchell, Tim (2003). Sedition and Alchemy: A Biography of John Cale. London: Peter Owen. p. 92. ISBN 0 7206 11326. 
  2. ^ https://werksman.home.xs4all.nl/cale/disc/fear.html
  3. ^ Raggett, Ned. Fear at AllMusic
  4. ^ Robert Christgau review
  5. ^ a b Grant, Steven; Sheridan, David; Robbins, Ira. "TrouserPress.com :: John Cale". TrouserPress.com. Retrieved July 5, 2016. 
  6. ^ Fear (CD booklet). John Cale. Island Records. 1974. 

External links[edit]