Tag Archives: Joni Mitchell

Photos Of Leonard Cohen, Joni Mitchell, Buffy Sainte-Marie At The 1967 Mariposa Festival

The 1967 Mariposa Folk Festival

The seventh iteration of the Mariposa Folk Festival in 1967 at Innis Lake Campground brought together a number of musical legends, including three of special interest to Leonard Cohen fans: Leonard Cohen himself, Joni Mitchell (Joni Mitchell and Leonard Cohen co-hosted a Songwriter’s Workshop on August 13, 1967), and Buffy Sainte-Marie. In researching a related topic, I came across some striking photos of these musicians at the Festival. I’ve posted  one photo of each singer here and  plan to publish a more extensive gallery of images with additional information about the Festival tomorrow.

Click on images for best viewing.

Leonard Cohen

Joni Mitchell & David Rea

Buffy Sainte-Marie


Credit Due Department: The Mariposa Festival ad atop this post was originally published in The Broadside July 5, 1967 and was found at the excellent Joni Mitchell Chronology (marking done by me). The photo of Leonard Cohen is cited as follows: John Sharp, “Mariposa Folk Festival,” in York University Libraries | Clara Thomas Archives & Special Collections online exhibits, Item #1877 (accessed March 15, 2012). The photo of Joni Mitchell and David Rea was found at York University’s digital library. The photo of Buffy Sainte-Marie is cited as follows: Sharp, “Mariposa Folk Festival,” in York University Libraries | Clara Thomas Archives & Special Collections online exhibits, Item #1402 (accessed March 15, 2012).

New & Improved Posts Featuring Leonard Cohen, A.E. Housman, And Joni Mitchell

In addition to creating new Heck Of A Guy entries, I spend a considerable amount of time and effort updating and revising already published posts. Most often, this involves routine tasks, such as correcting typos, replacing embedded videos that are no longer available, and re-coding dead links. More rarely, egregious errors are found and put right. The most recent example of this sort was a photo that should have featured A.E. Houseman that was actually a shot of his brother, Laurence Housman.

On occasion, however, I have the opportunity to substantially  improve a post, typically because new data or materials have become available.  Such is the case for at least  two posts, each of which is several years old.

Today’s post, indeed, is devoted to alerting readers to these newly refurbished classics.

A.E. Housman On Toads And Unicorns

Left to Right: Laurence Housman, A.E. Housman

OK, substituting a photo of A.E. Housman for the incorrectly labeled shot of his little bro, Laurence, probably doesn’t notably enhance the post, but this March 18, 2009 entry is worthwhile reading, regardless of whomever is portrayed in the picture.

The post spotlights two Housman poems, “The Use And Abuse Of Toads” and “Inhuman Henry or Cruelty to Fabulous Animals,” which are rarely found in Freshman English Lit anthologies or, in fact, rarely associated with A.E. Housman.  For starters, both are considered children’s literature.  But children’s verse, as practiced by the Brits, is a far cry from, say, the Walt Disney version of fairy tales. British poetry for children often has a – well, a vicious streak.

“The Use And Abuse Of Toads” resonates with sibling discord, internecine sadism, and collateral damage.  And, while “Inhuman Henry” has been (non-pejoratively) described as silly, it hardly seems random chance that Housman chose a lion and unicorn, heraldic emblems for England and Scotland and the objects of legions of literary allusions,  for his poetical menagerie. But, it is delightfully silly.

Read this post at

A.E. Housman On Toads And Unicorns

Leonard Cohen, Ventures Induced To Enter Wrong Hall At 2008 Rock and Roll Hall of Fame Induction

Cohen Turns Back - Gets Help

Leonard Cohen Heads To The Wrong Hall

When Leonard Cohen was inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame in 2008, the internet was awash in (much deserved) accolades and acclaim for the Canadian singer-songwriter. Here at Heck Of A Guy, however, I chose to focus on Cohen, along with The Ventures and John (Don’t Call Me “Cougar”) Mellencamp being run through a maze before being allowed on stage. The first shot fired was in the form of the extract below, addressed to those hosting t he show:

Unsolicited Advice To VH1-C Production Crew & Waldorf Event Planners

Here’s a wacky idea – what if, when the honorees leave the waiting area (AKA the Waldorf Hotel kitchen) to mount the stage, the direction to their mark on the stage were made clear? Now, no one enjoys slapstick antics, not unlike that practiced by the Keystone Cops in their heyday, more than me. Watching the Ventures mill about before someone standing idly by pointed them toward the stage was a hoot. Even watching my man, Leonard, walk through the door into the bright lights only to realize that he was face to face with the live and TV audience with no means of determining the correct route to the stage gave me a tiny jolt of Schadenfreude-infused delight. And, when I saw John Mellencamp nearly sprint the wrong way, toward the backstage area, … well, let’s just say, a knee was slapped and mirth prevailed. Heck, I’ll even admit to being a little disappointed when someone literally took Madonna’s arm to guide her to the stage.

Still, you might want to consider adding a navigational aid to assure that the show runs smoothly. I don’t see a need to pop for a GPS, but maybe you could – and I’m just blue-skying here – plant a big sign outside that door with an arrow pointing to the stage or instruct a flunky to stand outside the door through which the inductees enter and imitate a sign pointing unambiguously toward the stage.

 Part of Leonard Cohen’s journey that, with the kindness of strangers lurking in the hallway, ends up on the stage is shown above.

Now, this post (and the associated post dealing with Mellencamp) has been rendered even more entertaining with the addition of video clips (not available when this post was first published) showing  the actual wanderings of the stars.

Read this post at

Leonard Cohen, Ventures Induced To Enter Wrong Hall At Rock and Roll Hall of Fame Induction
(also )

Leonard Cohen and Joni Mitchell – Just One Of Those Things

Initially designated a “casual Saturday post,” this March 31, 2007 essay on the Leonard Cohen – Joni Mitchell relationship has not only evolved into a popular read but has also become a  frequently used reference.  Because of this continued interest in the topic, I’ve conscientiously revised and updated the post as new material becomes available.

Most recently, I’ve added material from Sweet Judy Blue Eyes – My Life In Music by Judy Collins (Crown Archetype, October 18, 2011) and replaced two audio tracks of Joni Mitchell singing “That Song About The Midway” and  “The Gallery,” both of which address her relationship with Leonard Cohen, with embedded videos of those songs.

Read this post at

Leonard Cohen and Joni Mitchell – Just One Of Those Things

Best Bootlegs: Joni Mitchell Sings Joni Mitchell ’70

Because I may not know music, but I know what you should like

… and where to find it1

Joni Mitchell In Concert – BBC 1970

This is, to my ears, Joni Mitchell at her best – when her voice was exquisite, and she was mature enough to allow herself to feel vulnerable now and again but still  young enough to devote herself primarily  to music. She performs an excellent selection songs from her first three albums and some material that would become part of her 1971 Blue Album.

The concert, played in intimate surroundings before a small audience was recorded September 3, 1970 at BBC Television Center – Shepherd’s Bush, London, England. It was originally broadcast October 9, 1970.

Track List: Joni Mitchell Sings Joni Mitchell

  1. Chelsea Morning
  2. Hunter
  3. Intro to ‘The Gallery’
  4. The Gallery
  5. Cactus Tree
  6. My Old Man
  7. For Free
  8. Intro to ‘Woodstock’
  9. Woodstock
  10. Introduction of dulcimer
  11. All I Want
  12. Intro to ‘California’
  13. California
  14. Intro to ‘Big Yellow Taxi’
  15. Big Yellow Taxi
  16. Both Sides Now

Viewing Information

The concert can be seen viewed on videos embedded at The Sixties Archive2

I’ve included “The Gallery” below as an example. The introduction is as interesting as the song, involving Scientology and the problem of being “a lady to an artist” – especially if the artist has dumped the lady.  The lyrics themselves are – well, let’s go with “bittersweet.”  Viewers experiencing difficulty in identifying the artist/infidel lover may wish  to consult Leonard Cohen and Joni Mitchell: Just One Of Those Things.

Downloading Information

Soundaboard has ripped the audio from the video files, in Flac, MP3, and M4A (note that audio is 2 channel mono), making them available for download in any of these formats at Joni Mitchell – England 1970.3

  1. This post is part of the Heck Of A Guy Best Bootlegs Series. An explanation of this project is included in the first post in this category: Best Bootlegs: Otis Redding – A Soupçon Of Soul. []
  2. Technical details from the site follow:

    PAL DVD, reconstruction of complete BBC 1970 b/cast in original order (48′ 44” edit here)
    from the best known sources (incl. edited 2007 digital broadcast)

    Video: 720×576, VBR (mixed VBR/CBR, 8500kbps max), interlaced, TFF
    Audio: LPCM (48kHz, 16 bit, 1536kbps, 2 channel mono) []

  3. The actual download is from Hotfiles.com as a single zip file. []

Dave Van Ronk On How To Write A Song – 1st, Get Drunk With Leonard Cohen & Joni Mitchell

Dave Van Ronk at 1963 Newport Folk Festival

Dave Van Ronk And The Folk Music Scene

Dave Van Ronk was an integral part of the acoustic folk revival of the 1960s, not only because of his own work which included old English ballads, Bertolt Brecht, blues, gospel, rock, New Orleans jazz, and swing, but also because the Mayor of  MacDougal Street, as he was known, presided over the coffeehouse folk culture, influencing, helping, and inspiring many folk performers such as Bob Dylan, Tom Paxton, Patrick Sky, Phil Ochs, Ramblin’ Jack Elliott and Joni Mitchell. Joni Mitchell, in fact, held that his rendition of her song “Both Sides Now” (which he called Clouds) was the finest ever.

From left to right: Mimi Fariña, Dave Van Ronk, Joan Baez, Leonard Cohen, Judy Collins, Chad Mitchell (on guitar).

Last Call By Dave Van Ronk – With Collaboration Of Leonard Cohen & Joni Mitchell

Dave Van Ronk originally released his song, Last Call, on his album Songs For Ageing Children in 1973. When he released a different version of  the song on Going Back To Brooklyn in 1994, Van Ronk included  the story of how the song came to be in the liner notes.

He claimed that he spent the night drinking with Leonard Cohen and Joni Mitchell at the Chelsea Hotel, and the next morning the lyrics to this song had been scribbled out although none if the three drinking buddies remembered writing it.

Van Ronk elaborated on the circumstances in his live introductions to the song, explaining that the lyrics were found  in his notebook in a handwriting none of them recognized. Since it was in his notebook the other two informed him that he obviously wrote it.1

While the story may be apocryphal, some of the lyrics of “Last Call” do have a Cohenesque quality to them, like an Irish version of “Closing Time.”

Last Call by Dave Van Ronk

And so we’ve had another night
of poetry and poses,
and each man knows he’ll be alone
when the sacred gin mill closes.

And so well drink the final glass
each to his joy and sorrow
and hope the numbing drink will last
til opening tomorrow.

And when we stumble back again
like paralytic dancers
each knows the question he must ask
and each man knows the answer.

And so well drink the final drink
that cuts the brain in sections
where answers do not signify
and there aren’t any questions.

I broke my heart the other day.
It will mend again tomorrow.
If I’d been drunk when I was born
I’d be ignorant of sorrow.

And so well drink the final toast
that never can be spoken:
Here’s to the heart that is wise enough
to know when it’s better off broken.

What Dave Van Ronk Learned From Leonard Cohen and Joni Mitchell

This extract is from The Mayor of MacDougal Street: A Memoir by Dave Van Ronk, Elijah Wald, Lawrence Block2 (click on image to enlarge):

Credit Due Department: The photo atop this post  was  taken by John Byrne Cooke. The photo of a room full of folk singers was taken by by Daniel Kramer and was contributed by Dominique BOILE.

  1. Music Musings and Miscellany []
  2. The Mayor of MacDougal Street: A Memoir by Dave Van Ronk, Elijah Wald, Lawrence Block. Da Capo Press, April 12, 2005 []

Stranger Song, Indeed – Leonard Cohen, Judy Collins, Joni Mitchell, & The Man On An Acid Trip

Judy Collins and Leonard Cohen at Forest Hills 1968

 Judy Collins Helps Leonard Cohen, Joni Mitchell, And The Man Coming Down From An Acid Trip

While “the man coming down from an acid trip” plays a role in a strange story in Judy Collins’ newly published book, Sweet Judy Blue Eyes – My Life In Music,1 he is at most the fourth strangest element in the single paragraph that deals with him, Leonard Cohen, Joni Mitchell, and Judy Collins herself.

In a few pages of  Sweet Judy Blue Eyes, Judy Collins has written accounts of her connections with Leonard Cohen and Joni Mitchell. Most of the information has been previously published in books about or interviews with Collins, Cohen, and Mitchell.  Nonetheless, I have excerpted below the book sections dealing with how Judy Collins and Joni Mitchell met, how Judy Collins and Leonard Cohen met, and Leonard Cohen’s first public appearance, all of which include explanations of the role Judy Collins played in promoting the careers of Cohen and Mitchell.

We begin, however, with an anecdote that offers some new (at least to me) and odd (again, at least to me) content and is set forth in an even odder, downright eccentric construction:

Joni and Leonard met for the first time at that concert [the Newport afternoon concert] and began a love affair. Still, everyone was a little off-center. I remember being in bed with a man I did not know who was coming down from an acid  trip and wanted me to “comfort him,” no sex involved. Leonard sat in the room with us, singing “The Stranger Song” softly  to himself, not paying any attention at all to what was happening on the bed. The Chelsea Hotel indeed! I trusted Leonard completely in very intimate situations and although we never had an intimate exchange of that kind ourselves, he was a constant ally I could take into battle with no fear of betrayal. Joni wrote “That Song About The Midway” about Leonard, or so she says. Sounds right: the festival, the guy, the jewel in the ear.

If I were still grading Freshman Composition papers (my work/study job in college), this paragraph would be covered in red ink, my scrawls asking, first of all, why a sentence about Joni and Leonard meeting and beginning a love affair is followed immediately in the same paragraph with the non sequitur, “Still, everyone was a little off-center,” and then by a scene portraying the narrator in bed with and (asexually) comforting  a man coming down from an acid trip while Leonard sings a song while “[without] paying any attention at all to what was happening on the bed.” There is more, but let’s not linger over violated principles of narrative exposition.

It doesn’t require the services of a hot-shot shrink (my job after coming to my senses and opting for medical school rather than a post-graduate English Lit program) to detect signs that Judy Collins may have some unresolved anger directed toward Joni Mitchell and that Leonard Cohen is somehow involved.  The juxtaposition of those last three sentences is unmistakably telling (as is that devastating phrase casually dropped into the second line, “or so she [Joni Mitchell] says”):2

I trusted Leonard completely in very intimate situations and although we never had an intimate exchange of that kind ourselves, he was a constant ally I could take into battle with no fear of betrayal. Joni wrote “That Song About The Midway” about Leonard, or so she says. Sounds right: the festival, the guy, the jewel in the ear.

All this lends a special poignancy to a phrase that has become a mantra for Judy Collins in recent interviews and on-stage banter with her audiences; it appears in this book in its most complete form:

I have always been grateful that I did not fall in love with Leonard in the way that I fell in love with his songs. I could have, certainly.

 Judy Meets Joni – Judy Loses Joni

Al Kooper introduced Joni Mitchell to Judy Collins. (Click on images to enlarge)

Judy Meets Leonard

Mary Martin introduced Leonard Cohen to Judy Collins.

Judy On Leonard’s First Appearance As A Singer

Leonard Cohen’s professional singing debut came about when Judy Collins invited him to perform at the April 30, 1967 SANE Against Vietnam War Concert At New York City Town Hall.

Credit Due Department: The photo atop this post was taken by Suzanne Szasz and is also from Sweet Judy Blue Eyes – My Life In Music by Judy Collins. In the book the caption is “With Leonard Cohen, Forest Hills, New York, 1968.  It seems likely this photo was taken on June 29, 1968, the date Judy Collins and Arlo Guthrie performed at the Forest Hills Music Festival. 3

Previous Judy Collins Posts

  1. Judy Collins. Crown Archetype, October 18, 2011 []
  2. Note: It gives me no joy to point out the bitterness Judy Collins expresses in this passage. I have been and continue to be an admirer of Judy Collins and have repeatedly acknowledged the pivotal role she played in jump-starting Leonard Cohen’s career as a singer-songwriter.  As evidence of this, I offer, at the end of this post, a list of previous blog entries I’ve written about Collins for the reader’s review. Sadly, evidence of her anger and feelings of betrayal seems glaringly obvious in the words she wrote. []
  3. It’s All The Streets You Crossed Not So Long Ago []

“Winter Lady” By Joni Mitchell & “Winter Lady” By Leonard Cohen – The Video

The Leonard Cohen – Joni Mitchell Match-up

Note: Most of today’s Heck Of A Guy entry is drawn or adapted from “Winter Lady” By Leonard Cohen Meets “Winter Lady” By Joni Mitchell, which I posted here almost three years ago. There is, however, one significant addition – a video which includes Joni Mitchell and Leonard Cohen, each performing his or her own song with the title, “Winter Lady.” (At the time of the original posting, I was unaware of the availability of the Joni Mitchell version on a bootleg.)

Leonard Cohen and Joni Mitchell have much in common. Both are Canadian, both are respected singer-songwriters who came of age professionally in the late 1960s, both have roots in the folk movement, and both ran with the same Bob Dylan-Judy Collins group of colleagues.

And, it turns out, for a brief time in 1967, they also shared the same bed during a short-lived romantic liaison described at Leonard Cohen and Joni Mitchell: Just One Of Those Things.

And, in 1966 Joni Mitchell wrote and sang a song called “Winter Lady,” a ballad which was never released on an album. while  Leonard Cohen, in 1967 (the year Mitchell and Cohen met and had their fling) copyrighted and performed a different song called “Winter Lady,” which was released on his first album, Songs of Leonard Cohen, in December 1967.1

Quelle coincidence, eh?

“Winter Lady” By Joni Mitchell And “Winter Lady” By Leonard Cohen – The Video

This video includes a recording of Joni Mitchell singing “Winter Lady” live at the Second Fret Club in Philadelphia on March 17, 1967 followed by Leonard Cohen performing “Winter Lady” from his first album, Songs of Leonard Cohen, released in December 1967.  The music playing during the introduction is Joni Mitchell’s “Rainy Night House,” which is based on a visit she and Leonard Cohen made to his parents’ home in Montreal while his mother was out of town.

Winter Lady – Joni Mitchell & Leonard Cohen Versions

Video from DrHGuy

Comparison and Contrast Of Mitchell’s And Cohen’s Respective Versions Of “Winter Lady”

The lyrics to both songs are available at

Rather than perform a tedious, line by line literary and psychological comparative analysis of the two sets of lyrics (and be assured/warned that I have repeatedly proven myself up to the demands of that task, especially the tedious part), I will content myself with a few observations on the differing themes of the two songs and urge readers to perform a side by side reading of the two sets of lyrics, a project requiring less than 5 minutes for which the rewards are ample.

Joni Mitchell’s “Winter Lady”

Key to grasping the Joni Mitchell rendition of “Winter Lady” is its point of view: the song is written as though it were sung by a man beseeching a woman.2

I contend that this perspective is significant but not because of the musically transgendered role of a female vocalist singing a song written for a man. After all, Mitchell’s predecessors in the folk movement, such as Judy Collins and Joan Baez, began performing folk songs meant for men in the early 1960s, sometimes changing pronouns from masculine to feminine and sometimes singing them as originally written. And, there are similar examples in every imaginable genre, including but not limited to opera, blues, Broadway musicals, and rock. Janis Joplin’s 1970 role-reversal of “Me and Bobby McGee” was such a hit that many listeners forgot that Kris Kristofferson had originally written it to be sung by a man. Heck, I’m personally fond of Lizzie West’s cover of Cohen’s irredeemably masculine “I’m Your Man.”3

The more impressive aspect is that Joni Mitchell seems to have scripted the lines she longs to have sung to her, the lady with “hair all soft and loose like snowing.” This reading is not just the inevitable extrapolation from the woman-singing-a-song-written-for-a-man issue. Another of Mitchell’s own songs, for example, written from a man’s point of view which she (famously) sang, “Free Man In Paris,” is not addressed to a woman but is a man’s free-standing soliloquy of his own thoughts and feelings.4

And what is it that Winter Lady/Joni Mitchell wants to hear from the man? The answer is in the chorus:

“Oh Winter Lady I won’t hurt you
I won’t cheat you, I won’t desert you
Winter Lady you need loving
I need loving too
I need loving you”

Those lines are repeated twice, first preceded by “Do you [The Winter Lady] dream or wish on stars / To hear him [her lover] say, …” and at the end of the song by “Love’s too late, you’ve changed your mind / And it’s my [the narrator’s] turn to sing, … .”

While there is much in Joni Mitchell’s childhood history that may or may not be pertinent the wished-for promise not to hurt, cheat, or desert her, the impact of the events of her life just prior to her writing these lines in 1967 is impossible to fully discount:

In February of 1965, she gave birth to a daughter by a college ex-boyfriend. A few weeks after the birth, she married a Toronto folksinger, Chuck Mitchell.5 Shortly afterward, it became necessary for her to give her daughter up for adoption. Then, in the summer of 1965, the Mitchell’s moved to Detroit, where they performed as Joan and Chuck Mitchell. After a year and a half, the marriage broke up, and in. 1967, now known as Joni Mitchell, she moved to New York City.6

Leonard Cohen’s “Winter Lady”

Cohen’s lyrics, on the other hand, immediately and definitively describe an altogether different view of the situation, opening with the same lines that end the song:

Trav’ling lady, stay awhile
until the night is over.
I’m just a station on your way,
I know I’m not your lover.

That this terse, bald declaration, “I’m just a station on your way, / I know I’m not your lover” is sung gently over a fragile melody carried by flute and harpsichord renders it all the more striking.

The first verse is followed by the equally straightforward announcement that previously the narrator “lived with a child of snow” when he was willing to fight “every man for her.”

Now, however, the lines imply, times have changed – or perhaps the narrator himself has – because now his hope is only that the lady will “stay awhile / until the night is over,” having resigned himself to being “just a station on [her] way.” The naiveté of being a “soldier” fighting for an idealized “child of snow”7 of has given way to a world vision in which coming together, even for one night, knowing that nothing further can be promised, is preferable to fantasies that unquestioning, unswerving love, protection, and solicitude can be pledged forever.

By the way, doesn’t that stance sound familiar? I submit that Leonard Cohen’s lines in “Winter Lady” are the cognitive if not the stylistic equivalent of these lines excerpted from a 1964 ditty:

You say you’re lookin’ for someone
Who will promise never to part,
Someone to close his eyes for you,
Someone to close his heart,
Someone who will die for you an’ more,
But it ain’t me, babe,
No, no, no, it ain’t me, babe,
It ain’t me you’re lookin’ for, babe.

(From “It Ain’t Me, Babe” by Bob Dylan)

The Significance
In this case, I suggest that the significance of these ideas goes beyond my own amusement (although God knows, that has been sufficient justification for any number of entries in this blog), even if my interpretations of the songs are wrong.8

Consider this: Two singer-songwriters quickly develop an intense relationship early in their careers, live together, and, not long afterward, end the liaison. One had written a song called “Winter Lady” in the year or so preceding that relationship and the other writes, either during the relationship or soon after its completion, a recognizably similar “Winter Lady” with a critically distinctive theme. Both were influential in music circles when they wrote these songs and since than time, their impact has surged geometrically.

Such a spontaneously occurring glimpse into the creative process9 rarely presents itself,10 and the opportunity to observe this brief interaction of two parallel artistic universes shouldn’t be missed.

Update: Also see The Resonance Of Joni Mitchell’s “Wizard of Is” With Leonard Cohen’s “Suzanne”

  1. Cohen’s “Winter Lady” was also featured in the soundtrack for Robert Altman’s McCabe & Mrs. Miller. []
  2. Yes, theoretically, the narrator of the song could be a woman addressing another woman, but Joni Mitchell herself said “This is a love song that actually was intended for a man to sing to a woman. I wrote it that way. And then I decided I like to sing it anyway.” Source: WMMR Retrospective Transcription – January 29, 1974 And, it will require a mighty fancy argument to persuade me that Leonard Cohen wrote his “Winter Lady” as a Lesbian love song. []
  3. Acceptance of men singing songs written for women appears a more iffy proposition. And, I admit that the notion of Leonard Cohen performing, say, “I Enjoy Being A Girl” is a tad off-putting. []
  4. The genesis of “Free Man In Paris” is summarized in The Greatest Songs Ever! Free Man in Paris (Blender):

    “I wrote that in Paris for David Geffen,” Mitchell has explained, “taking a lot of it from the things he said.” Geffen and Mitchell went a long way back. He had been her agent at the start of her rise to fame in the ’60s, and by the time she wrote “Free Man in Paris,” he owned the record label for which she (along with the Eagles, Jackson Browne and Dylan) was recording. The pair were such close friends that they even shared a house, but despite wide speculation about a romantic entanglement, theirs was more akin to a Will & Grace relationship. The same article notes that When Joni Mitchell played the finished tapes of her 1974 album Court and Spark [which included “Free Man In Paris”] for her Asylum Records labelmate Bob Dylan, the venerated spokesman of his generation fell asleep. “I think Bobby was just being cute,” is how Mitchell figures it. []

  5. Interestingly, one of the two covers of Mitchell’s “Winter Lady” is by that same Chuck Mitchell []
  6. Source: Songwriters Hall Of Fame []
  7. OK, it’s possible that the “child of snow” is not the young, naive, idealized version of the “Winter Lady,” but a different woman altogether (e.g., Marianne Ihlen, with whom Leonard Cohen lived on the Greek island of Hydra prior to moving to New York), but that explanation carries the hint of tediousness, which I’m bound by oath to avoid in this post []
  8. Don’t worry; my interpretations aren’t wrong. I’m just being grandiosely modest again. []
  9. My hypothesis, I realize, presupposes that Leonard Cohen’s “Winter Lady” was written as a consequence of his exposure to Joni Mitchell’s “Winter Lady.” It is possible, I suppose, that, instead, both were inspired by a third and still earlier song (I’m thinking something in Middle English around Chaucer’s era) or that both wrote their songs independently in a bizarre coincidence or that Cohen originally set out to write a tune called “The Vintner’s Ladle” but after many revisions the title was corrupted into “Winter Lady.” Nonetheless, until someone points out that obscure 8 year old string in an forgotten corner on a forum in one of the Leonard Cohen Big Blogs that negates my entire thesis, my money is on Cohen’s “Winter Lady” being a consciously crafted response to Mitchell’s. []
  10. The only other example that comes to mind is Neil Sedaka’s “Hey Carol” and “Oh Neil,” the song Carol King wrote in response. This set belongs in the category of “answer songs,” i.e., songs that refer directly to another song, which doesn’t seem to be the same kind of phenomenon as the two “Winter Lady” songs. []