John Cale - Paris 1919

Completely Different, and Yet Alike….

1973

Episode date - March 13, 2013

The Time Was
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    This show features two albums that, on the surface, appear to be a million miles apart stylistically, and yet still seem to have a lot in common. They certainly appealed to a similar audience, and they share much of the same fan base, but the records themselves are radically different. One record is sublime and autobiographical, while the other is an outrageous assemblage of smokescreens and pantomime.

    1973 was the year that rock and roll underwent significant change, splintering into disparate styles that were considered untenable. “Ramblin’ Man” met “Ziggy Stardust” and each considered the other to be alien. It was in this environment that John Cale steered his songwriting away from the avant-garde influences that were so obvious when he was a member of the Velvet Underground, deciding instead to focus on literary influences and his own past. Meanwhile, Roxy Music, inspired by the Velvet Underground, took the mantle abandoned by Cale’s old band, and gave it a feather boa and painted it with rouge.

    Each of the resulting albums were startling for their time, but for completely opposite reasons. Cale’s audience expected something untamed, raw and possibly even violent. Instead, “Paris 1919” was the most straightforward music he had ever made. It was a beautiful, romantic record. By contrast, “For Your Pleasure,” Roxy Music’s second album, was also romantic, but it was twisted and delusional, filled with imagery of make-believe dance crazes and blow-up dolls as love objects. The former was heartfelt while the latter postured, but both were works of genius.

    This show features key tracks from John Cale’s “Paris 1919” and Roxy Music’s “For Your Pleasure”.

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