They Say It’s Your Birthday celebrates an artist’s special day with other people singing his or her songs. Let others do the work for a while. Happy birthday!
The history of rock is littered with stories of old soldiers who faded away after they were ousted from their bands. Pete Best, Glen Matlock, Henri Padovani – the list goes on. But one name that list will never include is John Cale’s. After leaving the Velvet Underground, he went on to produce the debut albums of the Stooges, the Modern Lovers, Patti Smith, and Squeeze; he’s played on works from Nick Drake to the Replacements to LCD Soundsystem; he’s released more than thirty albums, the most recent just six months ago; he knows his way around a cover, having performed exorcisms on “Memphis” and “Heartbreak Hotel” and created the template cover of Leonard Cohen’s “Hallelujah.” Cale has completed his allotted threescore and ten; today he turns 71, and if his idiosyncratic past is any indication (and it is), we’ve good reason to expect more greatness from him in the years to come.