This morning, Rob Hallett1 posted on his Facebook page that he “heard the new Leonard Cohen album yesterday” and consequently pronounced it a “masterpiece!” He then casually responded to a question about when that new Leonard Cohen album, Old Ideas, would be available with a specific date: January 31st.2
So, the release date has leaked. I have Leonard’s permission to confirm that “Old Ideas” will be released on January 31.
Credit Due Department: I was alerted to Rob Hallett’s declaration by a LeonardCohenForum post authored by basecamp, who also notified me of Leonard Cohen’s confirmation of the release date issued via Jarkko’s post.
- Rob Hallett is a concert promoter for AEG, who among other accomplishments, is held to have coaxed Leonard Cohen out of retirement for the 2008-2011 World Tour.
From Praise Be… Or How “Hallelujah” Man Leonard Cohen’s Comeback Actually Happened by Johnny Black (Rock’s Back Pages, Jan 9,. 2009):
While his peers were headbanging to Black Sabbath, the 12-year-old Hallett found himself enraptured by Canadian singer-songwriter Leonard Cohen, the maestro of magnificent melancholy. “His music was saying more to me,” recalls Hallett. “There are lines in his songs and poems that I have lived my life by.”
So, on October 8, 2005, when it emerged that Cohen’s former manager, Kelley Lynch, had misappropriated over $5 million from the artist’s retirement fund, plus publishing rights to his songs, Hallett was saddened. “Rumor had it that even his cash card wouldn’t work. That was a sad thing to me, that my childhood hero was reduced to that state.”
Paradoxically, though, it was Cohen’s financial plunge that triggered his current reversal of fortune, making him more successful now–in his 70s–than ever before.
“I went to meet him in his lawyer, Robert Kory’s office in Beverly Hills,” explains Hallett. “I started the conversation by coming out of the closet and admitting that I was a lifelong fan, I own all his albums and books, and I can quote lyrics from all his songs.”
Having captured Cohen’s attention, Hallett made his pitch, explaining that he believed Cohen had become a sleeping giant, one of the few artists that people wanted to see but couldn’t.
Cohen, financially bereft, pointed out that he didn’t have a band, hadn’t played in fifteen years, and was doubtful that he still had an audience. Determined to work with his lifelong hero, Hallett offered to pick up the tabs for musicians and rehearsals. “I said, ‘When you think you’ve got a band, and you feel ready to go out again, I’ll put it together. Then we’ll do a deal on the back end, recoup our costs and you’ll get the rest’.”
Hallett says he then went further and promised not just to recoup everything that had been taken from Cohen, but to try to double it.
With the deal in his pocket, Hallett admits that he then faced an uphill battle to convince not just the rest of the business, but some of his own associates at AEG Live, that Cohen could deliver the goods.
On January 13, 2008, Cohen publicly announced his long-anticipated return to performing and, that February, started two and a half months of solid rehearsals with a hand-picked band. [↩]
- See Leonard Cohen New Album Due Jan 31, 2012? for details. [↩]