Vintage Violence

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Vintage Violence
Vintage violence.jpg
Studio album by John Cale
Released 25 March 1970
Genre Rock
Length 34:25
Label Columbia
John Cale chronology
Vintage Violence
Church of Anthrax
Singles from Vintage Violence
  1. "Cleo"/"Fairweather Friend""
    Released: 1970
  2. "Big White Cloud"/"Gideon's Bible"
    Released: 1970

Vintage Violence is the debut studio album by Welsh musician John Cale, released in March 1970 by record label Columbia.


Produced for a mere $15,000, Cale stated in his autobiography What's Welsh for Zen? that there wasn't "much originality on that album, it's just someone teaching himself to do something". He also "thought the songs were simplistic". He pieced together a band to play on the album, and they named themselves Penguin. However, the group didn't last beyond the recording sessions.[citation needed]


The cover of the album features Cale with his face obscured by a glass mask over a nylon stocking, which he would later cite in his autobiography as symbolic of the content of the record: "You're not really seeing the personality".[1]


Vintage Violence was released on 25 March 1970 by record label Columbia.

The album was re-released in remastered form in 2001.


Professional ratings
Review scores
Source Rating
AllMusic 4.5/5 stars[2]
Robert Christgau C+[3]
Rolling Stone favourable[4]

Vintage Violence received mostly positive reviews. Rolling Stone magazine's Ed Ward said that the album sounds "like a Byrds album produced by Phil Spector who has marinated for six years in burgundy, anise and chili peppers". Ward was also quoted in Billboard magazine as saying, "I believe that this is destined to become one of the most important albums of the past few years."[4]

In his retrospective review, Mark Deming of AllMusic wrote: "John Cale had the strongest avant-garde credentials of anyone in The Velvet Underground, but he was also the Velvet whose solo career was the least strongly defined by his work with the band, and [...] Vintage Violence certainly bears this out."[2]

Track listing[edit]

All tracks written by John Cale; except where indicated.

Side A
No. Title Length
1. "Hello, There" 2:48
2. "Gideon's Bible" 3:22
3. "Adelaide" 2:18
4. "Big White Cloud" 3:31
5. "Cleo" 2:35
6. "Please" 4:19
Side B
No. Title Writer(s) Length
7. "Charlemagne"   5:03
8. "Bring It on Up"   2:24
9. "Amsterdam"   3:14
10. "Ghost Story"   3:48
11. "Fairweather Friend" Garland Jeffreys 2:32


  • John Cale – vocals, bass guitar, guitar, keyboards, production
  • Harvey Brooks – bass guitar
  • Sanford Konikoff – drums
  • Ernie Coralla – guitar
  • Garland Jeffreys – guitar, backing vocals
  • Stan Szeleste – piano
  • John McClure – executive production
  • Don Meehan, Jim Reeves – engineering
  • Isi Valeris – photography


  1. ^ Cale, John; Bockris, Victor (1999). What's Welsh for Zen. London: Bloomsbury. p. 123. ISBN 0 7475 3668 6. 
  2. ^ a b Deming, Mark. "Vintage Violence – John Cale | Songs, Reviews, Credits, Awards | AllMusic". AllMusic. Retrieved 28 March 2015. 
  3. ^ Christgau, Robert. "Robert Christgau: CG: John Cale". Retrieved 28 March 2015. 
  4. ^ a b Ward, Ed (17 September 1970). "[Vintage Violence review]". Rolling Stone. Archived from the original on 11 February 2007. Retrieved 28 March 2015. 

External links[edit]