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|Songs of Leonard Cohen|
|Studio album by|
|Released||December 27, 1967|
|Recorded||October – November 1967|
|Studio||Columbia Studio E, New York|
|Leonard Cohen chronology|
Songs of Leonard Cohen is the debut album by Canadian folk singer-songwriter Leonard Cohen, released on December 27, 1967 on Columbia Records. Less successful in the US than in Europe, Songs of Leonard Cohen foreshadowed the kind of chart success Cohen would go on to achieve. It reached number 83 on the Billboard 200 and achieving gold status in the US only in 1989, but peaked at number 13 on the UK Albums Chart, and spent nearly a year and a half on it.
Contemporary folk music refers to a wide variety of genres that emerged in the mid 20th century and afterwards which were associated with traditional folk music. Starting in the mid-20th century a new form of popular folk music evolved from traditional folk music. This process and period is called the (second) folk revival and reached a zenith in the 1960s. The most common name for this new form of music is also "folk music", but is often called "contemporary folk music" or "folk revival music" to make the distinction. The transition was somewhat centered in the US and is also called the American folk music revival. Fusion genres such as folk rock, folktronica, and others also evolved within this phenomenon. While contemporary folk music is a genre generally distinct from traditional folk music, it often shares the same English name, performers and venues as traditional folk music; even individual songs may be a blend of the two.
Leonard Norman Cohen was a Canadian singer, songwriter, poet, and novelist. His work explored religion, politics, isolation, sexuality and romantic relationships. Cohen was inducted into the Canadian Music Hall of Fame, the Canadian Songwriters Hall of Fame, and the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame. He was invested as a Companion of the Order of Canada, the nation's highest civilian honour. In 2011, Cohen received one of the Prince of Asturias Awards for literature and the ninth Glenn Gould Prize.
Columbia Records is an American record label owned by Sony Music Entertainment, a subsidiary of Sony Corporation of America, the North American division of Japanese conglomerate Sony. It was founded in 1887, evolving from the American Graphophone Company, the successor to the Volta Graphophone Company. Columbia is the oldest surviving brand name in the recorded sound business, and the second major company to produce records. From 1961 to 1990, Columbia recordings were released outside North America under the name CBS Records to avoid confusion with EMI's Columbia Graphophone Company. Columbia is one of Sony Music's four flagship record labels, alongside former longtime rival RCA Records, as well as Arista Records and Epic Records.
Cohen had received positive attention from critics as a poet and novelist but had maintained a keen interest in music, having played guitar in a country and western band called the Buckskin Boys as a teenager. In 1966, Cohen set out for Nashville, where he hoped to become a country songwriter, but instead got caught up in New York City's folk scene. In November 1966, Judy Collins recorded "Suzanne" for her album In My Life and Cohen soon came to the attention of record producer John Hammond. Although Hammond (who initially signed Cohen to his contract with Columbia Records) was supposed to produce the record, he became sick and was replaced by the producer John Simon.
Judith Marjorie Collins is an American singer and songwriter known for her eclectic tastes in the material she records and for her social activism.
"Suzanne" is a song written by Canadian poet and musician Leonard Cohen in the 1960s. First published as a poem in 1966, it was recorded as a song by Judy Collins in the same year, and Cohen performed it as his debut single, from his 1967 album Songs of Leonard Cohen. Many other artists have recorded versions, and it has become one of the most-covered songs in Cohen's catalogue.
In My Life is an album by American singer and songwriter Judy Collins, released in 1966. It peaked at No. 46 on the Billboard Pop Albums charts in 1967.
Initially, Hammond had Cohen work up guitar parts for "Master Song" and "Sisters of Mercy" with jazz bassist Willie Ruff, and then brought in some of New York's top session musicians to join them, a move that made Cohen nervous; as biographer Anthony Reynolds observes in his book Leonard Cohen: A Remarkable Life, the dynamic between Cohen and Ruff had been intimate and natural but "the arrival of more anonymous personnel unnerved Cohen, the studio novice put off by their proficiency." Cohen did ask that a full-length mirror be brought into the studio because, as he explained to Mojo in November 2001, "through some version of narcissism, I always used to play in front of a mirror. I guess it was the best way to look while playing the guitar, or maybe it was just where the chair was. But I was very comfortable looking at myself playing." After Hammond dropped out of the sessions, John Simon took over as producer and, by all accounts, Simon and Cohen clashed over instrumentation and mixing; Cohen wanted the album to have a sparse sound, while Simon felt the songs could benefit from arrangements that included strings and horns. Writing for Mojo in 2012, Sylvie Simmons recalls, "When Leonard heard the result, he was not happy; the orchestration on 'Suzanne' was overblown, while everything about 'Hey, That's No Way to Say Goodbye' felt too soft. Several tracks had too much bottom, and there were even drums; Leonard had clearly stipulated no drums." The singer and producer also quarreled over a slight stop in the middle of "So Long, Marianne" – a device Cohen felt interrupted the song. According to biographer Ira Nadel, although Cohen was able to make changes to the mix, some of Simon's additions "couldn't be removed from the four-track master tape".
Willie Ruff is an American jazz musician, specializing in the French horn and double bass.
Mojo is a popular music magazine published initially by Emap, and since January 2008 by Bauer, monthly in the United Kingdom. Following the success of the magazine Q, publishers Emap were looking for a title that would cater for the burgeoning interest in classic rock music. Mojo was first published on 15 October 1993; in keeping with its classic rock aesthetic, the first issue had Bob Dylan and John Lennon as its first cover stars. Noted for its in-depth coverage of both popular and cult acts, it acted as the inspiration for Blender and Uncut. Many noted music critics have written for it, including Charles Shaar Murray, Greil Marcus, Nick Kent and Jon Savage. The launch editor of Mojo was Paul Du Noyer and his successors have included Mat Snow, Paul Trynka and Pat Gilbert.
"So Long, Marianne" is a song written by Canadian poet and musician Leonard Cohen. It was featured on his debut album, Songs of Leonard Cohen. Pitchfork Media placed it at number 190 on their list of "The 200 Greatest Songs of the 1960s."
The instrumentalists – not credited on the album sleeve – included Chester Crill, Chris Darrow, Solomon Feldthouse and David Lindley of Kaleidoscope, who had been recruited personally by Cohen after he saw the band play at a New York club.
David Perry Lindley is an American musician who founded the band El Rayo-X, and who has worked with many other performers including Jackson Browne, Warren Zevon, Curtis Mayfield and Dolly Parton. He has mastered such a wide variety of instruments that Acoustic Guitar magazine referred to Lindley not as a multi-instrumentalist, but instead as a "maxi-instrumentalist."
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The album features some of Cohen's most celebrated songs. Mojo has described the album as "not only the cornerstone of Cohen's remarkable career, but also a genuine songwriting landmark in terms of language, thematic developments and even arrangements.""Suzanne" was ranked 41st on Pitchfork Media's 'Top 200 Songs of the 1960s', while "So Long, Marianne" was also featured on the list at 190th. In a 1986 interview with the BBC Cohen explained, "The writing of 'Suzanne,' like all my songs, took a long time. I wrote most of it in Montreal - all of it in Montreal - over the space of, perhaps, four or five months. I had many, many verses to it. Sometimes the song would go off on a tangent, and you’ll have perfectly respectable verses, but that have led you away from the original feel of the song. So, it’s a matter of coming back. It’s a very painful process because you have to throw away a lot of good stuff." In the same interview, Cohen also revealed that "Master Song" was written "on a stone bench at what was the corner of Burnside and Guy Street...I remember sitting on that bench, working out the lyric to that song." As recounted to Uncut's Nigel Williamson in 1997, "Sisters of Mercy" had been written "in Edmonton during a snow storm, and I took refuge in an office lobby. There were two young back-packers there, Barbara and Lorraine, and they had nowhere to go. I asked them back to my hotel room – they immediately got into the bed and crashed while I sat in the armchair watching them sleep. I knew they had given me something, and, by the time they woke up, I had finished the song and I played it to them.” In the 1996 memoir Various Positions, biographer Ira Nadel contends "Stranger Song" addresses loss, departure, and essential yet destructive nature of love. In the book Songwriters on Songwriting, Cohen told author Paul Zollo that he wrote "So Long, Marianne" "in two hotels. One was the Chelsea and the other was the Penn Terminal Hotel. I remember Marianne (Ihlen, Cohen's girlfriend at the time) looking at my notebook, seeing this song and asking, 'Who’d you write this for?'" When Cohen played the Isle of Wight in 1970, he told the crowd that he'd written "One of Us Cannot Be Wrong" in a peeling room in the Chelsea Hotel when he was "coming off amphetamine and pursuing a blond lady that I met in a Nazi poster."
The British Broadcasting Corporation (BBC) is a British public service broadcaster. Its headquarters are at Broadcasting House in Westminster, London, and it is the world's oldest national broadcasting organisation and the largest broadcaster in the world by number of employees. It employs over 20,950 staff in total, 16,672 of whom are in public sector broadcasting. The total number of staff is 35,402 when part-time, flexible, and fixed-contract staff are included.
Edmonton is the capital city of the Canadian province of Alberta. Edmonton is on the North Saskatchewan River and is the centre of the Edmonton Metropolitan Region, which is surrounded by Alberta's central region. The city anchors the north end of what Statistics Canada defines as the "Calgary–Edmonton Corridor".
By the time the album was released in December 1967, Cohen had already signed away the rights to "Suzanne" and "Stranger Song" (along with "Dress Rehearsal Rag," which would later surface on his 1971 album Songs of Love and Hate), to arranger Jeff Chase, with the singer lamenting to Adrian Deevoy of The Q Magazine in 1991, "Someone smarter than me got me to sign the publishing over to them. I lost 'Suzanne,' 'Stranger Song' and 'Dress Rehearsal Rag.' I finally got them back three years ago, but I lost a lot of money."
On the back cover of the album is a Mexican religious picture of the Anima Sola depicted as a woman breaking free of her chains surrounded by flames and gazing towards heaven. In a Rolling Stone interview, Cohen described the image as "the triumph of the spirit over matter. The spirit being that beautiful woman breaking out of the chains and the fire and prison."Cohen found the picture in a botánica near the Hotel Chelsea in 1965. The album's front cover depicts a sepia tint photo of Cohen credited to Machine.
Based on Roman Catholic tradition, the Anima Sola or Lonely Soul is an image depicting a soul in purgatory, popular in Latin America, as well as much of Andalusia, Naples and Palermo.
A botánica is a retail store that sells folk medicine, religious candles and statuary, amulets, and other products regarded as magical or as alternative medicine. They also carry oils, incense, perfumes, scented sprays and various brand name health care products.
The Hotel Chelsea – also called the Chelsea Hotel, or simply the Chelsea – is a historic New York City hotel and landmark built between 1883 and 1885, known primarily for the notability of its residents over the years. The 250-unit hotel is located at 222 West 23rd Street, between Seventh and Eighth Avenues, in the neighborhood of Chelsea, Manhattan. The building has been a designated New York City landmark since 1966, and on the National Register of Historic Places since 1977.
|The Rolling Stone Album Guide|
The album spent over a year on the album charts.The album received mixed reviews at the time of its release, with Arthur Schmidt of Rolling Stone writing, "There are three brilliant songs, one good one, three qualified bummers, and three flaming shits." While praising "Suzanne" for its "moments of fairly digestible surrealism," the New York Times opined in a January 1968 review that on the alienation scale, Cohen rated "somewhere between Schopenhauer and Bob Dylan, two other prominent poets of pessimism."
Critics have been far kinder to the album since its release, with many considering it a highlight in the Cohen canon. Mark Deming of AllMusic states, "The ten songs on Songs of Leonard Cohen were certainly beautifully constructed, artful in a way few (if any) other lyricists would approach for some time, but what's most striking about these songs isn't Cohen's technique, superb as it is, so much as his portraits of a world dominated by love and lust, rage and need, compassion and betrayal...few musicians have ever created a more remarkable or enduring debut." Writing in Mojo in 2012, Sylvie Simmons called the LP "brilliant," adding that it "sounded like nothing of its time - of any time really - fresh and ancient, cryptic and intimate." Brian Howe of Pitchfork declares, "1968's Songs of Leonard Cohen contains many of his most essential songs - 'Suzanne,' 'Master Song,' "Stranger Song,' 'Sisters of Mercy,' 'So Long, Marianne' - and establishes the themes and stylistic tics he would pursue relentlessly over the ensuing decades." In 2007, Tim Nelson of BBC Music called the collection "the absolute must-have classic." Amazon.com deems the album "stunning." In a 2014 Rolling Stone readers poll ranking the top ten Leonard Cohen songs, "Suzanne" came in at #2 while "So Long, Marianne" came in at #6. [ citation needed ]
"Stranger Song", "Sisters of Mercy", and "Winter Lady" were included on the soundtrack of Robert Altman's 1971 film McCabe & Mrs. Miller .
"Suzanne", "Sisters of Mercy", and "Winter Lady" were included on the soundtrack of a 1971 film by Werner Rainier Fassbinder. (Source: Criterion Collection, IMDB)
Songs of Leonard Cohen was released on CD in 1989, while a digipak edition was released in some European countries in 2003. A remastered version, with the bonus tracks "Store Room" and "Blessed is the Memory," was released in the United States on April 24, 2007, and in Japan on June 20, 2007. The Japanese version was a limited edition replica of the original record album cover with lyric card insert. In 2009, the album (including the 2007 bonus tracks) was included in Hallelujah - The Essential Leonard Cohen Album Collection, an 8-CD box set issued by Sony Music in the Netherlands.
All songs written by Leonard Cohen.
Bonus tracks on 2007 reissue
|Dutch Albums (Album Top 100)||4|
|UK Albums (OCC)||13|
|US Billboard 200||83|
|Australian Albums (ARIA)||81|
|French Albums (SNEP)||152|
|Norwegian Albums (VG-lista)||36|
|Portuguese Albums (AFP)||48|
|Swedish Albums (Sverigetopplistan)||35|
|Swiss Albums (Schweizer Hitparade)||99|
|Switzerland (IFPI Switzerland)||Gold||25,000^|
|United Kingdom (BPI)||Gold||100,000^|
*sales figures based on certification alone
Songs of Love and Hate is the third studio album by Canadian singer-songwriter Leonard Cohen. Produced by Bob Johnston, the album was released on March 19, 1971, through Columbia Records.
The Future is the ninth studio album by Canadian singer-songwriter Leonard Cohen, released in 1992.
Dear Heather is the 11th studio album by Canadian singer-songwriter Leonard Cohen, released by Columbia Records in 2004.
Songs from a Room is the second album by Canadian musician Leonard Cohen, released in 1969. It reached No. 63 on the US Billboard Top LPs and No. 2 on the UK charts.
Ten New Songs is Leonard Cohen's tenth studio album, released in 2001. It was co-written and produced by Sharon Robinson. It was produced in Cohen's and Robinson's home studios in Los Angeles. It was also his first album in nearly 10 years. The album peaked at #143 on the Billboard 200, #4 in Canada, #1 in Poland and #1 in Norway.
I'm Your Man is the eighth studio album by Leonard Cohen, released in 1988. The album marked Cohen's further move to a more modern sound, with many songs having a synth-oriented production.
Various Positions is the seventh studio album by Leonard Cohen, released in December 1984. It marked not only his turn to the modern sound and use of synthesizers, but also, after the harmonies and backing vocals from Jennifer Warnes on the previous Recent Songs (1979), an even greater contribution from Warnes, who is credited equally to Cohen as vocalist on all of the tracks.
The Best of Leonard Cohen is a greatest hits album by Leonard Cohen, released in 1975. In some European countries, it was released under the title Greatest Hits. This alternative title was used for the original vinyl release and for CD reissues from the 1980s onwards.
The Essential Leonard Cohen is a career-spanning collection of Leonard Cohen songs released in 2002. It is part of Sony BMG's The Essential series.
Leonard Cohen was a Canadian singer-songwriter and poet who was active in music from 1967 until his death in 2016. Cohen released 14 studio albums and eight live albums during the course of a recording career lasting almost 50 years, throughout which he remained an active poet. His entire catalogue is available on Columbia Records. His 1967 debut Songs of Leonard Cohen earned an RIAA gold record; he followed up with three more highly acclaimed albums: Songs from a Room (1969), Songs of Love and Hate (1971) and New Skin for the Old Ceremony (1974), before allowing Phil Spector to produce Death of a Ladies' Man for Warner Bros. Records in 1977. Cohen returned to Columbia in 1979 for Recent Songs, but the label declined to release his next album, Various Positions (1984) in the US, leaving it to American shops to import it from CBS Canada. In 1988, Columbia got behind Cohen again and gave full support to I'm Your Man, which brought his career to new heights, and Cohen followed it with 1992's The Future. Cohen then took a nine-year hiatus, and returned with Ten New Songs in 2001, which he made with Sharon Robinson, following this with Dear Heather (2004). In 2008 Cohen began touring for the first time in 15 years and, as well as the release of several live albums, he released Old Ideas (2012), which peaked at number three on the Billboard 200 albums chart. This was the highest ranking ever for a Leonard Cohen album, and it became his first to top the Canadian Albums Chart, a feat he repeated with his followup, Popular Problems, released in 2014. Cohen released his final studio album, You Want It Darker, in October 2016, only 19 days prior to his death. His live albums included Live Songs (1973), Cohen Live: Leonard Cohen in Concert (1994), Live in London (2009), Songs from the Road (2010), from his 2008–2009 world tour, and Live at the Isle of Wight 1970 (2009).
So Long, Marianne is a compilation album by Leonard Cohen, issued in 1989 and in 1995. It features songs from his first four albums, already covered by his 1975 best of album. Although not authorized by the artist, the album is nevertheless an official release, as Cohen's label issued it. The CD was available in several countries with different art covers and in different cheap CD series, and also as audio cassette with four extra songs.
Live in London is a (double) live album by Canadian singer-songwriter Leonard Cohen. It was released on CD by Columbia/Sony March 31, 2009, is his 18th album, and his first live release since Field Commander Cohen: Tour of 1979 in 2001. A DVD of the performance was simultaneously released by Columbia/Sony.
Live at the Isle of Wight 1970 is a combo CD/DVD live album by Canadian singer-songwriter Leonard Cohen. Released in October 2009, it is his nineteenth album. The album was recorded in 1970 at the Isle of Wight.
Songs from the Road is a live album by Canadian singer-songwriter Leonard Cohen. Released on September 14, 2010, it is his twentieth album.
Old Ideas is the twelfth studio album by Canadian singer-songwriter Leonard Cohen, released in January 2012. It is Cohen's highest-charting release in the United States, reaching number 3 on the Billboard 200, 44 years after the release of his first album. The album topped the charts in 11 countries, including Finland, where Cohen became, at the age of 77, the oldest chart-topper, during the album's debut week. The album was released on January 27, 2012 in some countries and on January 31, 2012 in the U.S. Before its release, the album was streamed online by NPR on January 22 and on January 23 by The Guardian.
Popular Problems is the thirteenth studio album by Canadian singer-songwriter Leonard Cohen, released on September 19, 2014 in Friday-release countries and on September 22, 2014 elsewhere.
The Songs of Leonard Cohen Covered is a tribute album to Leonard Cohen, released in 2012. It was compiled by Mojo magazine, as a part of the magazine's March 2012 issue. The album features contributions by various musicians, including Bill Callahan, Cass McCombs, The Low Anthem, Field Music, Marc Ribot and ex-Fleet Foxes member Father John Misty.
You Want It Darker is the fourteenth and final studio album by Canadian singer-songwriter Leonard Cohen, released on October 21, 2016, by Columbia Records, nineteen days before Cohen's death. The album was created towards the end of his life and focuses on death, God, and humor. It was released to critical acclaim. The title track was awarded a Grammy Award for Best Rock Performance in January 2018.