Revisiting Leonard Cohen’s “Chelsea Hotel”

The Local Chelsea Hotel Renovation

“Chelsea Hotel,” has been a staple at Leonard Cohen concerts since the early 1970s; it has also been featured on occasion in Heck Of A Guy entries.

Having discovered that embedded videos of performances of this song had been rendered inoperative by YouTube’s removal of the original videos from its site for possible copyright violations, I spent some time replacing those videos and freshening up the posts. In doing so, I realized this presented the opportunity to offer readers a collage of posts on the theme of Leonard Cohen’s “Chelsea Hotel.”

Janis Joplin And “Chelsea Hotel #1″

The keystone of this grouping is Rare Leonard Cohen Chelsea Hotel #1 Video, a post featuring videos and commentary on the  first version of the song, which was played live at concerts but was never released on an album, and a video of “Chelsea Hotel #2″ that includes the story Leonard Cohen tells of  meeting Janis Joplin on the elevator of the Chelsea Hotel (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?).

Janis Joplin is the focus of Janis Joplin’s “Piece Of My Heart” Is On Leonard Cohen’s Jukebox and is briefly discussed by Leonard Cohen in a 1976 interview available at Leonard Cohen – Poet Of Rock Music – On Poems Vs Songs, His Withdrawn Novel, Janis Joplin In LA, Album Titles, & The Perfect Ass. She also plays a major role in Leonard Cohen & Joe Namath – Parallels Between The Poet & The Passer.

“Chelsea Hotel #2″

Of course, several posts contain videos of “Chelsea Hotel #2″ being performed during the Leonard Cohen World Tour. Leonard Cohen In Madrid – 2 Videos & None Of That Jiving Around includes the rendition from the September 12, 2009 Madrid show.

A fascinating perspective on the significance of a single word from the lyrics of “Chelsea Hotel No. 2″ can be found under the heading, In The Beginning Was The Word; It Was, Of Course, Leonard Cohen’s Word, at The Right Words In A Song, On A Date, and In Flight.

The Other “Chelsea Hotel” Songs

Some of the best covers of “Chelsea Hotel,” including versions by Rufus Wainwrigh, Regina Spektor, and Josh Ritter, can be downloaded via links found under the heading, Songs About The Chelsea Hotel, at Download Goodies – Music By Leonard Cohen & Pete Seeger Plus Songs About The Chelsea Hotel.

One of my personal favorites among the covers of this song is Allison Crowe’s, a video of which can be found at Joyfully Caught In Allison Crowe’s “Spiral”.

The Jeffrey Lewis – Leonard Cohen Connection Myth is an interesting take on the writer-singer of the funniest song about Leonard Cohen’s “Chelsea Hotel #2.”

The Leonard Cohen-Chelsea Hotel Commemoration

Plaque Commemorating 75th Birthday Of Chelsea Hotel Resident Leonard Cohen Unveiled Today is a report of – well, the placement of a plaque commemorating the 75th Birthday of one-time Chelsea Hotel resident, Leonard Cohen. Video of this ceremony can be found at Video – Unveiling Of Chelsea Hotel Plaque Honoring Leonard Cohen.

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