Honi Soit (album)

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Honi Soit
Studio album by
ReleasedMarch 1981
StudioCBS Studios, East 30th Street and Mediasound, New York City
GenreArt rock
ProducerMike Thorne
John Cale chronology
Honi Soit
Music for a New Society
Singles from Honi Soit
  1. "Dead or Alive"/"Honi Soit"
    Released: 1981

Honi Soit is the seventh solo studio album by Welsh musician John Cale, released in March 1981 by A&M Records. It was his first studio album in six years.


All of the tracks on Honi Soit were written by John Cale, except for "Streets of Laredo", a traditional song arranged by Cale. The track "Need Your Loving" was left off the album in favour of "Riverbank".[1]

Andy Warhol suggested the album should be called John and Yoko,[2] and provided the cover art, in black and white, but against Warhol's wishes Cale colorized it,[2] a decision recounted by Cale on the song "A Dream" from his 1990 collaboration album with Lou Reed about Warhol, Songs for Drella. In a tongue-in-cheek allusion to the song "Fighter Pilot", the credits on the sleeve give each of the musicians a mock military aviation role, with Cale described as "flight surgeon". The album's title is an abbreviation of the phrase "Honi soit qui mal y pense" (French: "shame upon him who thinks evil of it"[3]), the motto of the British Order of the Garter.[4]


Professional ratings
Review scores
AllMusic3/5 stars[5]
Trouser Press(mixed)[6]

Honi Soit was released in March 1981 by A&M Records. The album is Cale's only album to date to chart in the US, reaching number 154.[7]

Creem said, "Once again on Honi Soit – from the opening trumpet blast of "Dead Or Alive" to the final pounding of the drums on "Magic & Lies" – Cale evokes the epochal – this time as a series of battles, as a pure declaration of war. Like Lou Reed's Street Hassle, it's a work on which the artist finally reveals himself, concealing his tracks yet at the same time blowing his cover."[8]

Track listing[edit]

All tracks are written by John Cale, except where noted..

Side one
1."Dead or Alive" 3:51
2."Strange Times in Casablanca" 4:13
3."Fighter Pilot" 3:10
4."Wilson Joliet" 4:23
5."Streets of Laredo"Traditional; arranged by John Cale3:34
Side two
6."Honi Soit (La Première Leçon de Français)"3:20
8."Russian Roulette"5:15
9."Magic & Lies"3:26
Total length:37:45


Credits are adapted from the Honi Soit liner notes.[9]


See also[edit]


  1. ^ https://werksman.home.xs4all.nl/cale/disc/honi_soit.html
  2. ^ a b Cale, John; Bockris, Victor (1999). What's Welsh for Zen. London: Bloomsbury. p. 196. ISBN 0 7475 3668 6.
  3. ^ nb : The spelling of the word "Honi" is old French, it would nowadays be spelt "Honni".
  4. ^ Cale, John; Bockris, Victor (1999). What's Welsh for Zen. London: Bloomsbury. p. 197. ISBN 0 7475 3668 6.
  5. ^ Deming, Mark. "Honi Soit – John Cale | Songs, Reviews, Credits, Awards | AllMusic". AllMusic. Retrieved 28 March 2015.
  6. ^ Grant, Steven; Sheridan, David; Robbins, Ira. "TrouserPress.com :: John Cale". TrouserPress.com. Retrieved July 5, 2016.
  7. ^ "TOP LPs & TAPE". Billboard. 93.16: 77. April 25, 1981 – via Billboard (Archive: 1963-2000).
  8. ^ Robert A. Hull. "John Cale: Honi Soit". Rock's Backpages.
  9. ^ Honi Soit liner notes. A&M Records. 1981.

External links[edit]