The Welsh born John Cale has been the fluoride in the water of American rock. He's strengthened the musical health of a nation while being invisible to the masses. A classical music prodigy who caught the attention of Leonard Bernstein and Aaron Copland, his work with such acts as Brian Eno, the Stooges, Jonathan Richman, and Patti Smith helped bring about New Wave and Punk rock. A charter member of the Velvet Underground -- name another rock band with a viola player -- before getting booted out by Lou Reed, much of his solo work is closer to Nick Drake than John Cage. He is a sensitive songwriter but his dark, artsy edges have enough bite to keep away mainstream success. His most cutting-edge impulses often surface in collaboration with others, since the responsibility for putting a good tune over are lifted from his shoulders, and Cale is free to go wild.