Slow Dazzle (album)

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Slow Dazzle
Studio album by John Cale
Released 25 March 1975
Recorded Sound Techniques, London
Genre Rock
Length 35:49
Label Island
Producer John Cale
John Cale chronology
Slow Dazzle
Helen of Troy
Professional ratings
Review scores
Source Rating
AllMusic 4.5/5 stars[1]
Robert Christgau A–[2]
Trouser Press favourable[3]

Slow Dazzle is the fifth album and the second for Island Records by former Velvet Underground member John Cale, released in 1975. The cover photography was by Keith Morris. It is also the second consecutive album to feature both Brian Eno and Phil Manzanera of Roxy Music.

The album includes Cale's famous glam rock and avant-garde music based cover of "Heartbreak Hotel", a radically altered version of the track that's been highlighted by music critics such as Allmusic's Ned Raggett as one of the best cover songs of all time.[1]

Song information[edit]

"Mr. Wilson" is about seminal American musician Brian Wilson; the Beach Boys founding member has been a strong influence on Cale's work over the years. The song reflects the strong, divisive personal struggles in Wilson's life. The music's tone fluctuates from paranoid and unhappy to warm and pleasant moment by moment.[1]

"Heartbreak Hotel" is a cover of the Elvis Presley song,(It was written by Tommy Durden and Mae Boren Axton) with fundamental elements of the track changed such the singing taking in "chilling" screams and dark synthesizer elements added to the background. The Cale version of the track has been cited by music critics such as Allmusic's Ned Raggett as one of the best cover songs ever recorded.[1]

The track "Guts" opens with the line, "The bugger in the short sleeves fucked my wife".[1] This refers to rock musician Kevin Ayers sleeping with Cale's wife before the concert that's captured on the June 1, 1974 album; John Cale related the details in his autobiography, with Victor Bockris, What's Welsh for Zen that was published in 1998.

"The Jeweler" is a spoken word piece under an instrumental backdrop that recalls, at least in its poetic and freeform structure, the track "The Gift" from The Velvet Underground's album White Light/White Heat. While Cale speaks in a calm, monotone like voice, the "The Jeweler" features a drone-like set of unsettling sounds that appear to build and build without reaching a conclusion. The non-vocal side of the track is somewhat reminiscent of contemporary 1970s-era horror film scoring.

Track #2 from the album "Taking It All Away", was misprinted on all Island Record CD releases of the album, as "Talking It All Away."

Track listing[edit]

All tracks composed by John Cale; except where indicated

Original 1975 release[edit]

Side A

  1. "Mr. Wilson" (3:17)
  2. "Taking It All Away" (2:59)
  3. "Dirty-Ass Rock 'N' Roll" (4:44)
  4. "Darling I Need You" (3:38)
  5. "Rollaroll" (3:59)

Side B

  1. "Heartbreak Hotel" (3:14) – Mae Boren Axton, Tommy Durden, Elvis Presley
  2. "Ski Patrol" (2:12)
  3. "I'm Not the Loving Kind" (3:12)
  4. "Guts" (3:27)
  5. "The Jeweller" (5:07)

Bonus tracks 1996 remaster[edit]

The album was remastered in 1996 as part of the 2CD release The Island Years, containing also Fear and Helen of Troy. It contained the following bonus tracks:

  • "All I Want Is You" (2:55)
  • "Bamboo Floor" (3:24)

However, the last track "The Jeweller" was shortened to 4:11 on The Island Years.

No singles were released off the album, although there was a promotional-only single of "Dirtyass Rock 'N' Roll" b/w "Heartbreak Hotel" as Island IXP-3.



  1. ^ a b c d e
  2. ^
  3. ^ Grant, Steven; Sheridan, David; Robbins, Ira. " :: John Cale". Retrieved July 5, 2016. 

External links[edit]