Friday, December 29

A Diamond in the rough.

An artist I know but don’t know. Leonard Cohen. For some reason, I thought he was much older and certainly had nothing to do with rock/pop music. From a different time and place. Now I now better. I’ve heard his songs but never associated them with anyone. I appreciate them more listening to them, knowing he wrote them.

One by one the guests arrive
The guests are coming through
The open-hearted many
The broken-hearted few
And those who dance begin to dance
And those who weep begin
Welcome, welcome, cries a voice
Let all my guests come in
Part of "The Guests"
by Leonard Cohen

"Hallelujah," covered by Jeff Buckley, John Cale, Bono, Allison Crowe, k.d. lang, Bob Dylan, Rufus Wainwright, Regina Spektor, Kevin Max, The Dresden Dolls, Jazz Mandolin Project, and Imogen Heap. Cale's vLeonard Norman Cohen, CC (born September 21, 1934 in Montreal, Quebec) is a Canadian poet, novelist, and singer-songwriter. Cohen began his career in literature, publishing his first book of poetry in Montreal in 1956 and his first novel in 1963. Following his breakthrough in the music industry in the late 1960s,
I’m impressed with all the covers for the next song. That includes being music in the TV show House.

Beth Orton is great. I don’t honestly know the song, but wanted to include it. Sisters of Mercy

O the sisters of mercy they are not
Departed or gone,
They were waiting for me when I thought
That I just cant go on,
And they brought me their comfort
And later they brought me this song.
O I hope you run into them
You whove been traveling so long.

Yes, you who must leave everything
That you cannot control;
It begins with your family,
But soon it comes round to your soul.
Well, Ive been where youre hanging
I think I can see how youre pinned.
When youre not feeling holy,
Your loneliness says that youve sinned.

Well they lay down beside me
I made my confession to them.
They touched both my eyes
And I touched the dew on their hem.
If your life is a leaf
That the seasons tear off and condemn
They will bind you with love
That is graceful and green as a stem.

When I left they were sleeping,
I hope you run into them soon.
Dont turn on the light
You can read their address by the moon;
And you wont make me jealous
If I hear that they sweeten your night
We werent lovers like that
And besides it would still be all right
We werent lovers like that
And besides it would still be all right.
Cohen's songs are often emotionally heavy and lyrically complex, owing more to the metaphoric word play of poetry than to the conventions of song craft. His work often explores the themes of religion, isolation, sex, and complex interpersonal relationships (eloquently from Wiki).

"Everybody Knows," covered by Concrete Blonde, Don Henley, Dayna Kurtz, Rufus Wainwright, The Duhks and famous Norwegian singer Kari Bremnes.

My personal favorite because of the lyrics. They tell a story. And make sense (to me anyway). Two interpretations:

Concrete Blonde.

Bryan Adams and Don Henley

Everybody knows that the dice are loaded
Everybody rolls with their fingers crossed
Everybody knows that the war is over
Everybody knows the good guys lost
Everybody knows the fight was fixed
The poor stay poor, the rich get rich
Thats how it goes
Everybody knows

Everybody knows that the boat is leaking
Everybody knows that the captain lied
Everybody got this broken feeling
Like their father or their dog just died

Everybody talking to their pockets
Everybody wants a box of chocolates
And a long stem rose
Everybody knows

Everybody knows that you love me baby
Everybody knows that you really do
Everybody knows that youve been faithful
Ah give or take a night or two
Everybody knows youve been discreet
But there were so many people you just had to meet
Without your clothes
And everybody knows

Everybody knows, everybody knows
Thats how it goes
Everybody knows

Everybody knows, everybody knows
Thats how it goes
Everybody knows

And everybody knows that its now or never
Everybody knows that its me or you
And everybody knows that you live forever
Ah when youve done a line or two
Everybody knows the deal is rotten
Old black joes still pickin cotton
For your ribbons and bows
And everybody knows

And everybody knows that the plague is coming
Everybody knows that its moving fast
Everybody knows that the naked man and woman
Are just a shining artifact of the past
Everybody knows the scene is dead
But theres gonna be a meter on your bed
That will disclose
What everybody knows

And everybody knows that youre in trouble
Everybody knows what youve been through
From the bloody cross on top of calvary
To the beach of malibu
Everybody knows its coming apart
Take one last look at this sacred heart
Before it blows
And everybody knows

Everybody knows, everybody knows
Thats how it goes
Everybody knows

Oh everybody knows, everybody knows
Thats how it goes
Everybody knows

Everybody knows
Love and sex are common enough themes in popular music; Cohen's background as a novelist and poet brings an uncommon sensibility to these themes. "Suzanne," probably the first Cohen song to gain broad attention,

"Suzanne," covered by Graeme Allwright, Judy Collins, Fabrizio de André, Neil Diamond, Fairport Convention, Roberta Flack, Peter Gabriel, Françoise Hardy, Geoffrey Oryema, and Nina Simone. R.E.M. recorded a song called "Hope" which they admit was indebted to "Suzanne"; Cohen received co-songwriting credit for the song.

His song Chelsea Hotel No 2, about Janis Joplin, may be the only song overtly written by one pop star about sex with another. "You said to me then, you preferred handsome men, but for me you would make an exception ... giving me head on the unmade bed, while the limousines wait in the street." (interesting take on the lyrics by the way from Wiki, giving credit as due)

Rufus (he does a lot of Cohen).

As of December 1, 2006, the site had counted a total of 1,200 published cover versions of Cohen's songs. Talented.


Toccata said...

Leonard Cohen and Bob Dylan are my brother's absolute favorite artists. Because of that I grew up with these two icons and am a huge fan of both. It might seem odd to think of them together but for me they will always be forever linked.

mellowlee said...

Awesome post!! Leonard has been a fav of mine for a long time. I bought the DVD "Leonad Cohen - Im Your Man" for myself for xmas. It's really good!!!!

Deb said...

"An artist I know but don’t know"....very much how I'd describe him. I know his music and of him, but don't really know about him.

For some reason I still can't see/use the music players on your blog? Obviously no one else has this problem so I'll just go cry now.