RICHMOND, Va. — John Cale, the Velvet Underground’s revered bassist, died of natural causes Friday at his home in Brooklyn. He was 81.
His bandmate, frontman Lou Reed, said in a statement: “Not only was he the greatest bass player and incredible singer in the Velvet Underground, but he was a beautiful guitarist and very poetic when he played. And his bass work on ‘Waiting for the Man’ was truly a highlight of rock ‘n’ roll.”
A career sideman best known for the Velvet Underground with such songs as “Heroin” and “All Tomorrow’s Parties,” the often overlooked Cale also formed the 1970s-era Stereolab, the country-tinged alternative to the Beatles and the Rolling Stones, and was later involved in a discordant side project with singer-songwriter Patti Smith.
His last album, “Sun,” was released last year.
“Sun” features guest turns by former Red Hot Chili Peppers drummer Chad Smith, country guitarist John Paul White and Florida Georgia Line’s Tyler Hubbard on a song that recounts Cale’s past as a young drag performer.