Slow Dazzle (album)

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Slow Dazzle
Studio album by
Released25 March 1975
StudioSound Techniques, Chelsea, London, England
ProducerJohn Cale
John Cale chronology
Slow Dazzle
Helen of Troy

Slow Dazzle is the fifth solo studio album by Welsh musician John Cale, released on 25 March 1975, his second album for record label Island.


"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 (written by Mae Boren Axton and Tommy Durden) with fundamental elements of the track changed such the singing taking in "chilling" screams and dark synthesizer elements added to the background.

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 voice, "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.[citation needed]

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

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.


Slow Dazzle was released on 25 March 1975. No singles were released off the album, although there was a promotional-only single of "Dirtyass Rock 'n' Roll" b/w "Heartbreak Hotel".

The album was remastered in 1996 as part of the 2CD release The Island Years, containing also both Fear and Helen of Troy. It contained two bonus tracks; also, the last track "The Jeweller" was shortened to 4:11.

Critical reception[edit]

Professional ratings
Review scores
AllMusic4.5/5 stars[1]
Christgau's Record GuideA–[2]
Trouser Pressfavourable[3]

Trouser Press described the album as "more restrained, but no less entrancing than Fear". Cale's cover of "Heartbreak Hotel" has been cited by music critic Ned Raggett as one of the best cover songs ever recorded.[1]

Track listing[edit]

All tracks composed by John Cale, except where indicated.

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" (Mae Boren Axton, Tommy Durden, Elvis Presley) – 3:14
  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
  1. "All I Want Is You" – 2:55
  2. "Bamboo Floor" – 3:24


  • John Wood – executive producer
  • A. Secunda executive producer on "Heartbreak Hotel"
  • Vic Gamm, John Wood – engineers
  • Michael Wade – design
  • Keith Morris – photography


  1. ^ a b c d Raggett, Ned. "Slow Dazzle – John Cale | Songs, Reviews, Credits | AllMusic". AllMusic. Retrieved August 14, 2016.
  2. ^ Christgau, Robert (1981). "Consumer Guide '70s: C". Christgau's Record Guide: Rock Albums of the Seventies. Ticknor & Fields. ISBN 089919026X. Retrieved February 23, 2019 – via
  3. ^ Grant, Steven; Sheridan, David; Robbins, Ira. " :: John Cale". Retrieved July 5, 2016.

External links[edit]