Rare Leonard Cohen Chelsea Hotel #1 Video

Yes, That’s Chelsea Hotel #1

I ran across this video a week ago, but what with the hip fracture, bandwidth restrictions, and all, didn’t get around to viewing it until today. My advice to you is not to wait – watch it now.

Maybe I’m missing something
… but as far as I can determine, video and audio recordings of Leonard Cohen performing Chelsea Hotel #1, the original version of Chelsea Hotel , are rare, existing predominantly on bootlegs and personal recordings. Yet, this appeared online about a week ago, and there are only 124 viewings at YouTube as of this time; the video is also on one other site with about the same number of plays.

Perhaps the hard-core Cohenistas are jaded from watching Chelsea Hotel #1 too many times on private concert videos or this is a fake or it’s available elsewhere, or …

In any case, watching the video was a treat although its quality is flawed. Some lyrics differ from the current version, the most significant being the “sweet little sound” attributed to the woman in the earlier rendition of the song that isn’t found in Chelsea Hotel #2. Enjoy.

According to the blurb accompanying the video at YouTube (and at least one other video site),

Antecedent of the widely known Chelsea Hotel 2, Leonard Cohen’s memorial to Janis Joplin, it was recorded for Tony Palmer’s Bird on a Wire documentary.1 The mood is soft and gentle despite the harsh realism of some of the images and sentiments expressed. Hard to think of Janis making a “sweet little sound” but this phrase was eliminated in the more popular Chelsea Hotel 2.

Leonard Cohen – Chelsea Hotel #1

Video from lightning49

Chelsea Hotel #1 As Leonard  Cohen’s Elegy For Janis Joplin

A video featuring an audio recording of Chelsea Hotel #1  from the 1972 Tel Aviv concert, complemented by images of Leonard Cohen, Janis Joplin, the Chelsea Hotel, and other people and places associated with the song and supports the notion of that version functions as Leonard Cohen’s eulogy for Janis Joplin while Chelsea Hotel #2 focuses on the  singer’s examination of his own feelings for and perception of his lover is now available at New Video Of Leonard Cohen’s Elegy For Janis Joplin – Chelsea Hotel #1

Leonard Cohen Introducing Chelsea Hotel and The Connection With Janis Joplin


The following rendition of Chelsea Hotel #2 includes the story Leonard Cohen tells of  meeting, on the elevator of the Chelsea Hotel, Janis Joplin,2 who was in search of Kris Kristofferson. Cohen, according to his account, promptly informed Janis Joplin, “Little lady, you’re in luck, I’m Kris Kristofferson.”

Leonard Cohen Chelsea Hotel #2 Live

Video from YouTube – Leonard Cohen Chelsea Hotel #2 Live

  1. From LeonardCohenFiles, “The world premiere of this feature film [Bird On A Wire] by Tony Palmer was at the Rainbow Theater on July 5, 1974, in London. The original version cost over 120.000 USD to produce, but Cohen was not satisfied. He spent six months in England editing and rearranging the film to show the deeper elements in music, the conditions that produced it, and his interaction with the audiences. It contains songs from albums as well as concerts, including those of Berlin, Vienna, Copenhagen, and Israel in March and April 1972. It is a documentary rather than an art film. Color, 90 min. (Ira Nadel: Life in Art, p. 111; Dorman & Rawlins: Prophet of the Heart, p. 279)”

    From LeonardCohenLive, “Songs most probably from Manchester March 20, 1972 concert are: #2 Bird On The Wire #4 You Know Who I Am #5 Seems So Long Ago, Nancy #6 Sisters Of Mercy #7 Famous Blue Raincoat #8 One Of Us Cannot Be Wrong #15 Suzanne #16 Chelsea Hotel.” (emphasis mine) []

  2. As this introduction explains, the liaison between Leonard Cohen and Janis Joplin at the Chelsea Hotel was the factual basis and inspiration for the song, “Chelsea Hotel.” But you knew that already, didn’t you? []

0 responses to “Rare Leonard Cohen Chelsea Hotel #1 Video

  1. Pingback: University Update - YouTube - Rare Leonard Cohen Chelsea Hotel #1 Video

  2. Does your Mom know what you’ve been listening to?