Tag Archives: LC Honors

Video: Salman Rushdie Presents Leonard Cohen PEN Song Lyrics of Literary Excellence Award

First  PEN New England Song Lyrics of Literary Excellence Award Ceremony

This video from 26 February 2012 features Salman Rushdie’s speech, “At The Level Of The Line,” Shawn Colvin singing Leonard Cohen’s “Come Healing,” and Leonard Cohen’s acceptance speech.

Credit Due Department: Video uploaded by Ilia.  I was alerted to the video by Hermitage Prisoner

Leonard Cohen Wins Song Lyrics of Literary Excellence Award, Pays Homage To Chuck Berry

26 February 2012: Salman Rushdie presents PEN New England’s
Song Lyrics of Literary Excellence Award
To Leonard Cohen

Chuck Berry and Leonard Cohen were honored today by PEN New England for their contribution to the literature via their song lyrics. Leonard Cohen, gracious as always, characterized himself as a “footnote” to Berry.

Salman Rushdie To Present Leonard Cohen With Song Lyrics of Literary Excellence Award Today

 

According to messages broadcast last night on Twitter, Salman Rushdie, the British Indian novelist and essayist whose second novel, Midnight’s Children, won the Booker Prize, will make the presentation of PEN New England’s first annual Song Lyrics of Literary Excellence Award to Leonard Cohen today at the John F. Kennedy Presidential Library and Museum.

First, about 12 hours ago, was this tweet:

salmanrushdie Salman Rushdie
What are your favorite Leonard Cohen lines? I’m presenting him with a PEN Award for Song Lyrics of Literary Excellence in Boston tomorrow

 

It was followed a few hours later by this:

salmanrushdie Salman Rushdie
Thanks for the amazing array of favorite Leonard Cohen lines! Very helpful, and the size of your response shows how beloved his work is.

The 3:00 PM (Eastern) ceremony will be webcast at www.jfklibrary.org/webcast.

Other Song Lyrics of Literary Excellence Award Posts

Chuck Berry’s “Roll Over Beethoven” Is On Leonard Cohen’s Jukebox

lcjukebox

Leonard Cohen’s Jukebox

Biggest Influence on My Music – The jukebox. I lived beside jukeboxes all through the fifties. … I never knew who was singing. I never followed things that way. I still don’t. I wasn’t a student of music; I was a student of the restaurant I was in — and the waitresses. The music was a part of it. I knew what number the song was.

- Leonard Cohen (Yakety Yak by Scott Cohen, 1994)

Leonard Cohen’s Jukebox: Over the years, Leonard Cohen has mentioned a handful of specific songs he favors. Leonard Cohen’s Jukebox is a Heck Of A Guy feature that began collecting these tunes for the edification and entertainment of viewers on April 4, 2009. All posts in the Leonard Cohen’s Jukebox series can be found at the Leonard Cohen’s Jukebox Page.

fedoradivider

And Tell Tchaikovsky The News

Song By Prize-winning Chuck Berry Added To Favorites Of Prize-winning Leonard Cohen

As foreplay for the  February 26, 2012 ceremony at which PEN New England will bestow their first annual Song Lyrics of Literary Excellence Award on Chuck Berry and Leonard Cohen,1 Heck Of A Guy is is extraordinarily happy to add Chuck Berry’s classic “Roll Over Beethoven” to the Leonard Cohen’s Jukebox series.

This excerpt from Leonard Cohen shows there’s life in the old dog yet with launch of new album by Alex Needham (The Guardian, 18 January 2012), the report on Jarvis Cocker’s Jan 18, 2012 interview with Leonard Cohen,2 evidences Cohen’s approbation of Berry’s iconic tune:

The Pulp frontman [Jarvis Cocker] finished by asking how Cohen felt about being awarded the PEN New England award for literary excellence in song lyrics.

“The thing I liked about this award was that I’m sharing it with Chuck Berry,” said Cohen. “‘Roll over Beethoven and tell Tchaikovsky the news’ – I’d like to write a line like that.”3

Chuck Berry – Roll Over Beethoven 1972

  1. The 3 PM (Eastern) ceremony will take place at the John F. Kennedy Presidential Library and Museum, a live webcast of the program will be shown at the JFK Library’s website at www.jfklibrary.org/webcast. See Leonard Cohen To Attend PEN New England Song Lyrics of Literary Excellence Award Ceremony []
  2. Quoted in  Jarvis Cocker & Leonard Cohen Discuss Pen New England Song Lyrics of Literary Excellence Award []
  3. As ongoing readers may recall, this is not the first classic rock and roll line Leonard Cohen has wished he could emulate. In Leonard Cohen: Love’s Hard Man by Alan Franks (The Times Magazine, 13 October 2001), for example, Cohen discusses this (misidentified) Fats Domino lyric:

    When I ask him which songs he is most pleased with, he doesn’t name any of his own but quotes the Fats Waller1 standard: ‘The Moon stood still on Blueberry Hill.’

    “If I thought I could write lines like that, I’d be more than happy.”

    See “Blueberry Hill” Is On Leonard Cohen’s Jukebox []

Leonard Cohen To Attend PEN New England Song Lyrics of Literary Excellence Award Ceremony

“Leonard Cohen is expected to attend”

So reads the email received this morning from Karen Wulf, Director of PEN New England in response to my request for clarification about whether Leonard Cohen would appear at the February 26, 2012 Song Lyrics of Literary Excellence Award ceremony at the John F. Kennedy Presidential Library and Museum.

Initially, PEN New England had indicated only that Chuck Berry would be present to receive his award and that “Leonard Cohen may attend.” Later announcements had been ambiguous.

The Song Lyrics of Literary Excellence Award

Ongoing readers may recall that the 17 January 2012 Heck Of A Guy post, Leonard Cohen & Chuck Berry Honored With First Annual Song Lyrics of Literary Excellence Award, and the 19 January 2012 post, Jarvis Cocker & Leonard Cohen Discuss Pen New England Song Lyrics of Literary Excellence Award, pointed out the lack of fanfare – or, for that matter, information – about the first  annual Song Lyrics of Literary Excellence prize being awarded to Mssrs. Cohen and Berry. As those posts noted, the only internet  source identifying  the winners of this award discoverable in repeated searches was then a press release, “New Leonard Cohen Song to Be Streamed by The New Yorker,” which Heck Of A Guy (and several other Cohen-affiliated sites) received from AJGpr, a Los Angeles based public relations firm working with the Old Ideas album marketing campaign.

On Sunday, February 26, PEN New England and the John F. Kennedy Presidential Library and Museum will be The 2012 Awards for Song Lyrics of Literary Excellence, which will be presented to Chuck Berry and Leonard Cohen. The forum will be from 3:00 p.m. to 4:00 p.m. and doors will open one hour before the program begins. Seating is on a first come, first served basis – once the main hall is full, the event will be streamed live in an overflow theater. Early arrival is encouraged, and seats are limited to two per person. A live webcast of the program will be shown at the JFK Library’s website at www.jfklibrary.org/webcast.

At that time, the following was found on the PEN New England website,

Bill Flanagan, novelist and music critic, chairs the Award Committee.  Members of the jury include Bono, Rosanne Cash, Elvis Costello, Paul Muldoon, Smokey Robinson, Salman Rushdie, and Paul Simon.  PEN New England chairman Richard Hoffman first announced the establishment of the award at last year’s “Lyrics & Literature” program, held at the John F. Kennedy Presidential Library, featuring Flanagan, Muldoon, and Simon.

That, gentle reader, was the total information publicly available.

Then, as noted in Song Lyrics of Literary Excellence Award: PEN New England Tells Tchaikovsky – & DrHGuy – The News, Ms Wulf forwarded me a Save The Date announcement but nothing more about the prize or the ceremony.

The Bad News – You’re Too Late To Watch The Award Ceremony Live

Late last week, a handful of sites began carrying  carrying a release from PEN New England about the Lyrics of Literary Excellence Award with instructions to “Click here to make a reservation and to view other upcoming forums.” Clicking as indicated brought up the following:

Song Lyrics of Literary Excellence

February 26, 2012 3:00 PM – 4:00 PM

PEN New England and the John F. Kennedy Presidential Library and Museum cordially invite you to the 2012 Awards for Song Lyrics of Literary Excellence presented to Chuck Berry and Leonard Cohen.

Seats are limited to two per person. Doors open one hour before the program begins. Seating is on a first come, first served basis. Once the main hall is full, the event will be streamed live in an overflow theater.

The screenshot below shows the text, the images of Mssrs Berry and Cohen, and the indicator (circled) that all seating accommodation in the main hall are “full.” (click to enlarge):

The Good News – You Can Watch The Webcast Of The Award Ceremony

In later bulletins from PEN New England, the line “Once the main hall is full, the event will be streamed live in an overflow theater” has been changed to

A live webcast of the program will be shown at the JFK Library’s website at www.jfklibrary.org/webcast.

So tune in to witness yet another event honoring Leonard Cohen, this one with a Chuck Berry kicker.

Song Lyrics of Literary Excellence Award: PEN New England Tells Tchaikovsky – & DrHGuy – The News

PEN New England, Heck Of A Guy, and The Song Lyrics of Literary Excellence Award

Although I had not planned to publish at this site during my honeymoon (see Heck Of A Guy Honeymoon Hiatus), I couldn’t resist posting this Save The Date announcement, which arrived during our wait for the flight to Maui, from Karen Wulf of PEN New England, who includes  this message:

Dear Heck of A Guy,
… Re: Leonard Cohen & Chuck Berry — Just visited your site… here’s some info and sorry you did not receive it earlier.

Ongoing readers may recall that the 17 January 2012 Heck Of A Guy post, Leonard Cohen & Chuck Berry Honored With First Annual Song Lyrics of Literary Excellence Award, and the 19 January 2012 post, Jarvis Cocker & Leonard Cohen Discuss Pen New England Song Lyrics of Literary Excellence Award, pointed out the lack of fanfare – or, for that matter, information – about the first  annual Song Lyrics of Literary Excellence prize being awarded to Mssrs. Cohen and Berry. As those posts noted, the only internet  source identifying  the winners of this award discoverable in repeated searches

is a press release, “New Leonard Cohen Song to Be Streamed by The New Yorker,” which Heck Of A Guy (and several other Cohen-affiliated sites) received from AJGpr, a Los Angeles based public relations firm working with the Old Ideas album marketing campaign.

So, not only did I discover that someone actually reads what I write in  these posts, but also that the responsive Ms Wulf from PEN New England thought the issue important enough to send the official notification my way.  OK, that may not seem a big deal, especially compared to the prospect of going to Maui on our honeymoon, but given that this site’s relationship to official sources of information can be accurately summarized as Nobody tells me nothin’,  it ain’t bad.