The Leonard Cohen Wedding Invitation Story
As an unanticipated result of her ongoing quest to track down the first image of Leonard Cohen she saw as a young girl, Rike serendipitously discovered the description of a wedding-related performance by the Canadian singer-songwriter in 1976 and has forwarded the following translation from an article published in the June 14, 1976 issue of Express, an Austrian newspaper that later merged with Kronenzeitung:1
During his tour through France, England, and Scandinavia, Cohen was invited to attend the Swedish royal wedding since Queen Silvia knows all of his albums and books. Leonard Cohen was granted an audience despite the hustle and bustle of the wedding and reciprocated in his own way: he gave a Court performance lasting 25 minutes.
The 1976 Royal Wedding of King Carl XVI Gustav and Queen Silvia of Sweden
For those whose knowledge of Swedish royal weddings isn’t as thorough as one would wish, Heck Of A Guy offers this succinct reprise of the events leading up to the 1976 marriage.2
While born in Germany, Queen Silvia (née Silvia Renate Sommerlath; born 23 December 1943) grew up in São Paulo, Brazil, returning to West Germany in 1957. Silvia Sommerlath worked at the Argentine Consulate in Munich, was an educational host during the 1972 Summer Olympics in Munich, and served as the Deputy Head of Protocol for the Winter Games in Innsbruck in Austria. During the 1972 Summer Olympics, she met Crown Prince Carl Gustav (who became King Gustav following the death of his grandfather, King Gustaf VI Adolf in 1973. In a later interview, the King explained how it just “clicked” when they met. Gustav and Silvia announced their engagement on 12 March 1976 and were married three months later, on June 19 in Stockholm Cathedral (“Storkyrkan Cathedral”) in Stockholm.
One deduces from the date of the newspaper article (June 14, 1976) and the date of the wedding (June 19, 1976) that Leonard Cohen’s performance for the Queen took place before rather than at the wedding.
It turns out that another musical performance was part of the pre-nuptial festivities: ABBA performed the song Dancing Queen on Swedish television the night before the ceremony, although the song was not actually written for Queen Silvia.3
ABBA – Dancing Queen (Royal Swedish Opera 1976)
Of course, there are no videos of Leonard Cohen’s Royal Wedding performance.
Of course, a paucity of historical artifacts has never stopped DrHGuy before.
Consequently, Heck Of A Guy is reasonably proud to introduce the premiere of The 1976 Wedding of King Gustav and Queen Silvia of Sweden With Leonard Cohen Soundtrack, featuring scenes from the royal event set to the strains of one of the songs from the 1976 Tour, “Do I Have To Dance All Night.”
The 1976 Wedding of King Gustav and Queen Silvia of Sweden With Leonard Cohen Soundtrack: Do I Have To Dance All Night
Leonard – Now, About This 2011 Wedding
Let’s consider the 1976 story and its 2011 implications:
1. Cohen was invited to attend the Swedish royal wedding since Queen Silvia knows all of his albums and books.
As it turns out, Leonard, my fiancée and I know all your books and albums – including those released since 1976. Now, we don’t pretend to be on equal footing with European royalty, but you don’t seem like much of a monarchist. So, Leonard, consider yourself invited to attend our wedding.
2. Leonard Cohen was granted an audience despite the hustle and bustle of the wedding
We’ve got loads of both pre-wedding hustle and bustle, despite which we are willing to grant you an audience. Heck, we can grant you an audience of a few thousand fans if you want to kick off his 2012 Tour early.
3. [Leonard Cohen] reciprocated in his own way: he gave a Court performance lasting 25 minutes.
Well, 25 minutes seems a tad short, but if you’re still working on the album, we’re willing to compromise, especially if you throw in “Do I Have To Dance All Night.”
Oh, one more thing – it would be great if you could bring Anjani as your plus-one; we really like your duet version of Wither Thou Goest. Thanks.
To The Guests: How could this not work? You all had better save the date.
Credit Due Department: While the newspaper story is accurately reported, the photo atop this post is a re-imagining of a scene from the wedding march composed to simulate that moment when King Gustav notices the presence of the Troubadour Of Love._____________________