Like any great artist Leonard Cohen took the tools he had and created something new- a unique form of popular song, with all the aspiration of poetry, expressing the deepest yearnings of the human heart. For his entire career, over fifty years, Leonard Cohen has been on Canada’s radar- which is to say, he’s been a star since the very beginning. He was discovered early on by the CBC. Over all those years, across half a century, Leonard Cohen has been on countless CBC programs, on both radio and television, and always talking in full sentences. He’s recited his poetry and performed his songs for the CBC microphones; interviewers have asked him every conceivable question. It’s fair to say that on the CBC Leonard Cohen has produced a kind of running commentary on his own life and work while all this is still in progress. Deep in the CBC vaults are the many recordings of Leonard Cohen performances and conversations- a treasure-trove, a family album of snapshots that create a unique portrait, in real time, of the evolution of a major artist- in his own words. And it’s these archival recordings that go to make up these two programs.
Part 1: Magic is Alive
Description from the CBC site:
The first of two programs produced and presented by Philip Coulter that chart the life and career of one of Canada’s most enduring singer/songwriters, Leonard Cohen. Part one, Magic is Alive, takes us from Cohen’s first appearance on the Montreal scene in the 50’s up to the release of the first albums – Songs of Leonard Cohen and Songs from a Room in the late 60’s. It explores how his early poetry writing lead almost inevitably to the songs. Listen for Leonard the stand-up comic, and Leonard the hipster, reciting poetry over cool jazz in a 1950’s Montreal club!
Part 2: Waiting for the Miracle
Description from CBC site
Part two is called: “Waiting for the Miracle,” and takes us close to the present, exploring how Leonard Cohen’s songs evolve into ever-deeper spiritual explorations. Wait for his story of the perils of working with legendary producer Phil Spector (“He put his arm around my shoulder and shoved the nozzle of the .45 into my neck, cocked it and said ‘I love you Leonard.'”) Yikes Phil. Did I tell you how much I like “You’ve Lost that Lovin’ Feeling?”
Photo Credit: Peter Brosseau/Library and Archives Canada/PA-170174
Note: Originally posted Mar 14, 2014 at 1HeckOfAGuy.com, a predecessor of Cohencentric