Bob Dylan’s 1988 Covers Of Leonard Cohen’s Hallelujah

bob-dylan-1988

Bob Dylan – 1988

Leonard Cohen Sings “Hallelujah” To Bob Dylan

It’s [Hallelujah is] a rather joyous song. I like very much the last verse. I remember singing it to Bob Dylan after his last concert in Paris. The morning after, I was having coffee with him and we traded lyrics. Dylan especially liked this last verse “And even though it all went wrong, I stand before the Lord of song With nothing on my lips but Hallelujah”
- Leonard Cohen, from 1985 interview published in Paroles et Musiques

Dylan went on to be one of the first artists to cover “Hallelujah,” performing it twice in his 1988 concert tour.

Of course, no post about Leonard Cohen, Bob Dylan, and “Hallelujah” would be complete without the anecdote, a classic in Cohen’s repertoire, about the contrast in the time required by Dylan and Cohen to compose a song. The story appears in several Cohen interviews. The following iteration is from Leonard Cohen, Los Angeles 1992, a section of “Songwriters On Songwriting” by Paul Zollo:

That ["Hallelujah"] was a song that took me [Leonard Cohen] a long time to write. Dylan and I were having coffee the day after his concert in Paris a few years ago and he was doing that song in concert. And he asked me how long it took to write it. And I told him a couple of years. I lied actually. It was more than a couple of years.

Then I praise a song of his, “I and I,” and asked him how long it had taken and he said, “Fifteen minutes.” [Laughter]

Bob Dylan – Hallelujah
Forum de Montréal, Montréal: July 8, 1988
Hallelujah (Leonard Cohen Cover) by Bob Dylan on Grooveshark

Bob Dylan – Hallelujah
Greek Theatre, Los Angeles: August 4, 1988
Hallelujah by Bob Dylan on Grooveshark

Note: I first posted about Bob Dylan’s cover of Leonard Cohen’s “Hallelujah” on . Various recordings of this cover have appeared online only to be disappear again. Alerted by Juanma Lopez Andreu to a YouTube version1 that has survived online since Jan 2014, I am re-posting the material along with the audio recordings of Dylan’s two 1988 covers.

Credit Due Department: Photo by Ken Friedman

__________________

  1. The YouTube version is the audio track from the July 8, 1988 Montreal rendition attached to a single still photo of Dylan and thus offers no advantages over the audio tracks embedded on this post []

Van Morrison’s “Veedon Fleece” Is On Leonard Cohen’s Jukebox

lcjukebox

Leonard Cohen’s Jukebox

Biggest Influence on My Music – The jukebox. I lived beside jukeboxes all through the fifties. … I never knew who was singing. I never followed things that way. I still don’t. I wasn’t a student of music; I was a student of the restaurant I was in — and the waitresses. The music was a part of it. I knew what number the song was.

- Leonard Cohen (Yakety Yak by Scott Cohen, 1994)

Leonard Cohen’s Jukebox: Over the years, Leonard Cohen has mentioned a number of specific songs he favors. Leonard Cohen’s Jukebox is a Heck Of A Guy feature that began collecting these tunes for the edification and entertainment of viewers on April 4, 2009. All posts in the Leonard Cohen’s Jukebox series can be found at the Leonard Cohen’s Jukebox Page.

Veedon Fleece

Unsurprisingly, Leonard Cohen is a fan of Van Morrison.1 When asked to name those he admired on the “contemporary music scene today [1975],” the Canadian singer-songwriter’s responded

I also like Van Morrison very much, including his superb ‘Veedon Fleece’ effort.2

Recorded shortly after Van Morrison’s sudden divorce from wife Janet Rigsbee, Veedon Fleece was released in October, 1974, only a month after his acclaimed double live album, It’s Too Late to Stop Now. Perhaps as a result of the timing, Veedon Fleece is typically included in the “lost masterpiece” category. This album marks a return to the style of songwriting found in Van Morrison Astral Weeks.

Since Leonard Cohen’s accolade covers the entire album, I’ve take the prerogative of selecting as a representative track my own favorite song from Veedon Fleece:3 Streets of Arklow.

Van Morrison – Streets of Arklow

_________________

  1. See Into The Mystic Leonard Cohen – Van Morrison Connection []
  2. Cohen’s New Skin by Harvey Kubernik & Justin Pierce (Melody Maker, March 1, 1975) []
  3. The entire album is on a single YouTube playlist: Van Morrison – Veedon Fleece []

The (Big) Guns Of Leonard Cohen

cannonx

The Guns Of Leonard Cohen Supplement

When I came across these photos of a very young Leonard Cohen and his sister Esther posing with military artillery, I immediately realized they were an essential augmentation to the collection of posts about Leonard Cohen & Guns.

cannnon3

And, the association of the Canadian singer-songwriter with this sort of weapon called to mind this newspaper cartoon, labeled “Tanks For The Memory,” portraying Leonard Cohen during the Yom Kippur War.

tanks

The text accompanying the cartoon follows:

Cohen Into Action
A cable from Uri Alony, editor of a top Israeli pop mag, claims that top international artists and singers have arrived in Israel to perform for soldiers involved in fighting – at the fronts. Among them are … Leonard Cohen – who has written a new song about the war which he sings wherever he performs.1

Also note the eye patch a la Moshe Dayan

Credit Due Department: A special thank you to Maarten Massa for access to the images of Leonard Cohen & the cannons. The “Tanks For The Memory” cartoon and text were retrieved from Jem Treadwell’s Leonard Cohen Scrapbook. The name and date of the newspaper publishing the cartoon are not available.
________________________

  1. To comparison, read the real story of Leonard Cohen’s involvement in the Yom Kippur War at Photo Of Leonard Cohen & Ariel Sharon During 1973 Yom Kippur War Plus Leonard Cohen On War and Leonard Cohen On War: 2 Videos About Leonard Cohen & The 1973 Yom Kippur War []

34 Years Ago – Julie & I Married

An Outrageously Happy Marriage Begins

Julie1 and I married on July 20, 1980. Although that was 34 years ago and although Julie died 14 years ago, I still remember her reciting, as the conclusion to her wedding vows, the final two verses of  Anthony Hecht’s “Going The Rounds: A Sort Of Love Poem:”

But candor is not enough,
Nor is it enough to say that I don’t deserve
Your gentle, dazzling love, or to be in love.
That goddess is remorseless, watching us rise
In all our ignorant nerve,
And when we have reached the top, putting us wise.

My dear, in spite of this,
And the moralized landscape down there below,
Neither of which might seem the ground for bliss,
Know that I love you, know that you are most dear
To one who seeks to know
How, for your sake, to confront his pride and fear.

Baby, Let’s Get Married

It seems as though it should have been more complicated.

After we had lived together for a couple of years, Julie thought we should be married. I was not convinced that being legally wed was a necessary step for us, and Julie made it clear that she was not issuing an ultimatum.

But, I never told Julie “No.”

And once again, it turned out that Julie was right.

Next month, the Duchess and I will celebrate the third anniversary of our own wedding, an event that enhances – and is enhanced by – our memories of our marriages to lovers who have left this life but not our hearts.

More Photos

wedgroups

The younger lady in these photos is Rachel, Julie’s daughter, much loved by both of us, by her first marriage.

_______________________________

  1. Julie was my much-beloved, fiercely smart, extraordinarily sexy wife, who died in 1999 from cancer diagnosed the week of our wedding nearly 20 years earlier. She was also a prize-winning writer. This blog includes many other posts about her and the unlikely but true story of our romance as well as several of her short stories and other pieces. For the location of the various content about or by Julie, see Julie FAQ. []

The Marianne Variations Supplement: Leonard Cohen’s 4/4 Version of So Long, Marianne

slm-sjohn2008

Leonard Cohen’s Recurring Revisions Of So Long, Marianne

This is a Supplement to The Marianne Variations, a series of posts devoted to the major recurring variations of Leonard Cohen’s “So Long, Marianne” that significantly differ from the versions found on the Songs Of Leonard Cohen and Field Commander Cohen albums. An introduction and links to all published posts in this series as well as the inclusion criteria and the original version of “So Long, Marianne” from the Songs Of Leonard Cohen album can be found at The Marianne Variations Summary Page.

As noted in an earlier post, even before the official completion of The Marianne Variations series, Lennard Torbijn of the Netherlands had astutely identified a Leonard Cohen rendition of “So Long, Marianne” that meets criteria as a distinct version although it does not fit the characteristic pattern of the other members of The Marianne Variations collection.

The 2008 So Long, Marianne Time Shift

Leonard Cohen has performed “So Long, Marianne” hundreds of times in 3/4 time. Twice, however, he has played it in 4/4:1 once on May 23, 2008 in Moncton and again on May 26, 2008 in St. John’s.

As Lennard observes, this rendition fulfills the standards for a major variation of “So Long, Marianne;” i.e., the time signature shift is clearly a significant, planned deviation from the original that alters the listening experience. On the other hand, the Moncton-St. John’s version does not feature any changes in the lyrics, the sine qua non of the other Marianne Variations. Consequently, I am arbitrarily ruling that the 4/4 version of “So Long, Marianne” meets my arbitrary criteria as an entry in The Marianne Variations with the qualification that it is a “time signature variant” rather than a “lyrics variant.”2

Leonard Cohen – So Long, Marianne
St. John’s, Newfoundland: May 26, 2008
Video by StacksMaxwell

_________________________

  1. Leonard Cohen spoke about his process for transforming another song written in 3/4 time into one performed in 4/4: “['Always'] by Irving Berlin was originally in ¾ time, and I turned it into a 4/4 song, and I always loved it. It’s very beautifully constructed as a song, and I think the lyric is very touching. So, I went in there with Steve Lindsey, a producer, and some really excellent musicians, and we prepared a drink that I had invented called the “Red Needle.” It’s basically, Tequila, Cranberry juice, and lime, and some other elements. And after I had distributed this drink, and people had sampled it, we produced this track.” Source: Interview With Leonard Cohen by by Chris Doritos. KCRW, Los Angeles: February 18, 1997. Retrieved 09 July 2014 from LeonardCohenFiles []
  2. Consider it a Roger Maris asterisk []

Marianne, Leonard Cohen, & The Four Seasons

marianne2

Come On/So Long, Marianne

In researching the just published Marianne Variations posts devoted to the major recurring variations of  Leonard Cohen’s “So Long, Marianne,” I reviewed this excerpt from  I’m Your Man: The Life Of Leonard Cohen by Sylvie Simmons (Ecco: 2012):

In June 1967, at Columbia’s Studio C – a converted Greek-Armenian Orthodox church on 30th Street where Miles Davis recorded Kind of Blue – Leonard recorded four songs with John Hammond. The songs were  Anyone Can See, which he’d formerly called Just Two People, The Sun is my Son, and a song which had the title ‘Come On, Marianne’.  Marianne told me, “I thought it always was ‘Come on, Marianne, it’s time that we began to laugh and cry’‘ but – unless I’m dreaming – there was a group in California, maybe the Beach Boys, who had similar words in a song. When he wrote it, for me it was like, ‘Come on, if we can just keep this boat afloat.’ And then we found out that we could not.”

Of course, “Come On, Marianne” became “So Long, Marianne,” the classic Leonard Cohen song about leaving – not restoring – a relationship.

I was taken with Marianne’s recall of a group from the same era with “similar words in a song.” I couldn’t find any songs by the Beach Boys or other California groups released during that time with words similar to “Come on, Marianne, it’s time that we began to laugh and cry,” but a 19671 hit by an iconic New Jersey group fits that description and may be the song Marianne had in mind.

“C’mon Marianne,” written by L. Russell Brown and Raymond Bloodworth and popularized by The Four Seasons, hit #9 on the charts in June, 1967. 2 The lyrics follow:

Marianne, Marianne, Marianne, Marianne

Whoa-ho-ho here I am on my knees again
I’ll do anything just to make it right
Say you’ll understand, oh I know you can, c’mon Marianne

No matter what people say, it didn’t happen that way
She was a passing fling and not a permanent thing
Say you’ll understand, oh I know you can

C’mon Marianne, c’mon Marianne
C’mon Marianne, say you can understand
My Marianne, Marianne, Marianne, Marianne

Well now your big brown eyes are all full of tears
From the bitterness of my cheatin’ years
So I hang my head, wish that I was dead

C’mon Marianne, c’mon Marianne
C’mon Marianne, say you can understand
My Marianne
C’mon Marianne, c’mon Marianne
Marianne, Marianne, Marianne, Marianne

Marianne
Marianne
Marianne

The Four Seasons – C’mon Marianne

_______________________

  1. “So Long, Marianne” was a track on the Songs Of Leonard Cohen album released December 27, 1967 []
  2. “C’mon Marianne” was, in fact, the final US Top Ten hit for The Four Seasons in the 1960s. []