Category Archives: Leonard Cohen

Now Online – Cohen: In With The Best (1985) By Stuart Coupe

Cohen: In With The Best
By Stuart Coupe
Sydney Morning Herald: Apr 28, 1985


This article is part of the Leonard Cohen Press Archive

Leonard Cohen’s Chelsea Hotel #1 Video Hits 200,000 Views


The Video

A day or two ago, Leonard Cohen’s Elegy For Janis Joplin – Chelsea Hotel #1, a video featuring the audio recording of the first version of Chelsea Hotel from Leonard Cohen’s 1972 concert in Tel Aviv1 complemented by images of Leonard Cohen, Janis Joplin (whose liaison with Cohen at the Chelsea Hotel led to the creation of the song), the Chelsea Hotel, and other people and places associated with the song, was seen by the 200,000th viewer.

This seems an appropriate time to re-post not only the video but the explanation of the significance of this version.

Leonard Cohen’s Elegy For Janis Joplin – Chelsea Hotel #1
Video by Allan Showalter

The Chelsea Hotel #1 Video, Leonard Cohen & Janis Joplin

In part, this video was developed in support of my contention that thematically Chelsea Hotel #1 is a much different song than Chelsea Hotel #2.

Chelsea Hotel #1 focuses on the death of the singer’s (i.e., Leonard Cohen’s) lover (i.e., Janis Joplin), with whom the singer identifies primarily as as an admired fellow artist and colleague and only secondarily as an object of affection or, at least, of reciprocated lust. In Chelsea Hotel #2, the situation is reversed with the key issue becoming the singer’s unambiguous examination of his own feelings for and perception of the woman at the Chelsea Hotel – even if doing so results in an ignoble self-characterization.

In the second version, the listener’s knowledge of the identity of Janis Joplin is decidedly less important to experiencing the full impact of he song, which could indeed be the reason Leonard Cohen revised Chelsea Hotel #1 – to make the music more universal and less a biographic tribute to a specific individual.

For more discussion of the significance of the differences between Chelsea Hotel #1 and Chelsea Hotel #2, including a video interview with Leonard Cohen addressing his relationship with Janis Joplin as portrayed in the songs, see How Often Did Leonard Cohen Think Of Janis Joplin’s Sweet Little Sound? – Chelsea Hotel #1 & 2


  1. The video mistakenly lists the song as part of the April 20, 1972 concert in Jerusalem; it is actually from the April 19, 1972 concert in Tel Aviv. []

Now Online: Leonard Cohen Dies The Small Death (1978) By Richard Mortifoglio

Leonard Cohen Dies The Small Death
By Richard Mortifoglio
[Review of Death Of A Ladies’ Man]
The Village Voice: Jan 2, 1978


This article is part of the Leonard Cohen Press Archive

Now Online – Must-See Video: Leonard Cohen’s 1997 Interview With Stina Dabrowski


Stina Dabrowski has uploaded her 1997 interview with Leonard Cohen at Mt Baldy. While the 2001 Dabrowski-Cohen interview was posted some time ago, the 1997 session has never before been online. Rather than describe the video, I will only urge you to watch this incredible conversation between a savvy, empathic interviewer and the Canadian singer-songwriter.

Leonard Cohen interview With Stina Dabrowski
Mount Baldy Zen Center: 1997

Credit Due Department: Thanks to Linda Sturgess, who alerted me to this outstanding video.

Two Leonard Cohen Christmas Album Proposals


Wait For Leonard Cohen Holiday Album Enters 35th Year – Legacy At Risk

Lamentably, it appears that 2014 may pass without Leonard Cohen publishing that semi-obligatory celebrity yuletide album needed to lock down his legacy. I’ll explain: If the Canadian singer-songwriter had become famous in the 1960s for singing “So Long, Merry Christmas” instead of “So Long, Marianne,” then this time of year would be replete with seasonal elevator music from his “Songs From No Room At The Inn” collection and his inevitable Cohen Family Christmas Special would be joining its annual battle with A Charlie Brown Christmas and How the Grinch Stole Christmas for Nielsen ratings. And, as a consequence, Cohen’s audience, influence, and popularity would have grown exponentially.

Instead, the Cohen Carols Canon continues to comprise precisely one track, his 1979 “Silent Night” duet with Jennifer Warnes (see Video – Leonard Cohen & Jennifer Warnes Sing Silent Night 1979).

An Early Christmas Gift To Leonard Cohen
From Dr Heck

The Duchess has an embroidered pillow displaying the message “This House Believes In Santa Claus.” Likewise, DrHGuy believes it’s not too late to salvage Mr Cohen’s career1 and offers two Leonard Cohen holiday collection proposals: “I’m Your Santa” and “Songs From A Sleigh.”

Merry Christmas, Leonard

Songs From A Sleigh

I’m Your Santa




  1. No, we don’t have a pillow that say that; you’ll have to take my word on it []

Leonard Cohen Writes Queen’s Quarterly To Praise Milton Wilson, Express Thanks For Being Published, & Buy 25 Copies Of Recent Canadian Verse (1959)


This letter from Leonard Cohen to Glen Shortliffe of Queen’s Quarterly (click on image to enlarge), dated 7 June 1959, was written in connection with the appearance of some of Cohen’s poems in  that journal. I don’t pretend it’s especially significant, but I do find it heartening that some things – such as the implicit expectation (or requirement) that a writer purchase copies of a professional or literary  journal in which one is published – remain constant.

From Queen’s Quarterly: Fostering Canadian Cultural Identity by Whitney Bell:

While many Canadian periodicals are short-lived, Queen’s Quarterly has endured to become the oldest academic quarterly in Canada. It has built its success on the writings of its Canadian contributors. This study explores the Quarterly’s relationship with authors and the journal’s influence on Canada’s cultural development. Queen’s Quarterly was founded by George Munro Grant, Sir Sanford Fleming, John Watson, and others in 1893. It is the oldest scholarly quarterly in Canada. … Expanding the Quarterly’s national appeal was a path followed by later editors including Malcolm Ross, who attempted to further widen the geographical breadth of readership, and Glen Shortliffe, who showcased Canadian poets after noting a lack of stimulating poetry in the Quarterly. To reinvigorate the journal’s poetical content he commissioned Milton Wilson, one of Canada’s foremost poetry scholars, to compile a collection of Canadian works. In 1959 the selection was published with an unprecedented amount of space dedicated to poetry, with thirty-four poems written by both emerging poets, like Alden Nowlan, and more established writers including Irving Layton. Some of Leonard Cohen’s early poetry was also featured in this collection. 

Found at Historical Perspectives on Canadian Publishing