John Cale

The Man Who Couldn't Afford to Orgy

Song Review by

One of the loveliest melodies you're ever going to hear, one of the sexiest performances you could ever dream of experiencing, one of the most bizarre lyrical topics you could ever want to encounter. Even with its title abbreviated to "The Man Who Couldn't Afford To," John Cale's first U.K. single was never going to get the airplay it deserved, but all these years later, it still snares you with hook after hook after hook.

A gently rolling rhythm, a scything guitar break amidships, and Cale's own idiosyncratic pronunciation -- "orgy" rhymes with "corgi" -- are all irresistible, but the star of the show is the near-duetting Judy Nylon. As Cale himself has remarked, "She makes Jane Birken sound like Hayley Mills."

Appears On

Year Artist/Album Label Time AllMusic Rating
Fear 1974 Culture Factory 4:30
The Island Years 1996 Island 4:34