The Multiple (And Confusing) Recording Formats & Promotions Of Leonard Cohen’s 1988 I’m Your Man

Leonard Cohen Ad Reflects Competing Recording Formats & Diffuse Promotion Strategy

When I couldn’t determine the product that was being promoted by the advertisement from New Musical Express (January 30, 1988) shown below, I asked Dominique BOILE, who had contributed the ad. What I learned comprises today’s post.

My confusion arose from the mix of recordings listed on the ad: “First We Take Manhattan,” “Bird On The Wire,” “Sisters Of Mercy,” and “Suzanne.” The only commonality I could see was that all those were tracks on the Best of Leonard Cohen album, but that came out in 1975 so New Musical Express wouldn’t be carrying an ad for that in 1988. And I had no clue about the multiplicity of formats listed.

In his response, Dominique directed me to two reference numbers, one of either side of “CBS” at the bottom of the ad:651352 7 and 65132 6 (note: this second number is a misprint on the original ad; the correct reference number is 651352 6).

Then, he explained that the ad was promoting Leonard Cohen’s “I’m Your Man” album that would be released in February 1988 by pushing CBS 651352 7, aka the 7″ vinyl version of “First We Take Manhattan” taken from the forthcoming LP / Cassette / CD  “I’m Your Man.”

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Bob Dylan’s “Ballad Of A Thin Man” Is On Leonard Cohen’s Jukebox

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Leonard Cohen’s Jukebox

Biggest Influence on My Music – The jukebox. I lived beside jukeboxes all through the fifties. There was “The Great Pretender,” “Cross Over the Road.” 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 number of specific songs he favors. Leonard Cohen’s Jukebox is a Cohencentric 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 Original Leonard Cohen’s Jukebox Page.

Renik Van den Eynde points out that Leonard Cohen’s admiring use of Dylan’s lyrics from The Ballad Of A Thin Man qualifies it for Leonard Cohen’s jukebox:

I don’t know what is happening, and I don’t care what is happening, to tell you the truth, it’s none of my business. I know that the explanations that are available have their various degrees of interest, but nothing seems to be speaking to me personally about what is happening. I tend to, you know, let my attention wander from the various channels of information, whether they be newspapers, television, art, song, literature and even conversation; so something is happening, as Dylan says, but you don’t know what it is, do you Mr. Jones. So that’s the way I feel. So what is happening or what has happened to me or my writing or my lyrics, I’m not interested in the explanation, even my own, I’m only interested in the feeling that is just answering the appetite to describe moments and feelings that somehow has not been described in what is available.1

The referenced Dylan lyrics follow:

Because something is happening here but you don’t know what it is
Do you, Mr. Jones?
You raise up your head and you ask, “Is this where it is?”
And somebody points to you and says, “It’s his”

Bob Dylan – Ballad of a Thin Man
Desert Trip, Coachella: Oct 14, 2016

Bob Dylan Songs On Leonard Cohen’s Jukebox

Leonard Cohen-Bob Dylan Interface

All posts about Leonard Cohen’s & Bob Dylan’s opinions of each other, their meetings, and comparisons by others can be found at

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  1. From Interview with Leonard Cohenby Kari Hesthamar, Los Angeles, 2005 []

High Quality Video: Leonard Cohen, Featuring Webb Sisters Performing If It Be Your Will – Amsterdam 2013

Leonard Cohen, Featuring Webb Sisters – If It Be Your Will
Amsterdam: Sept 20, 2013
Video by Sharon Erde

Also see Video: The Extraordinarily Poignant Final Minutes Of Final Leonard Cohen European Concert – Amsterdam 2013

Two Photos: Leonard Cohen In The Kitchens Of His Hydra & L.A. Homes

Leonard Cohen: Hydra, 1970s

Posted by Adam Cohen on Facebook

Update: Dominique BOILE offers the information that this photo was taken in 1981 by the  Bruce Brown.

Leonard Cohen: Los Angeles, 2001

Leonard_Cohen_PolaroidPhoto by Chris Buck: Photos – Chris Buck’s 2001 Leonard Cohen Shoot: Rosicrucians, Photographic Destiny, & Pastrami Sandwiches With A Side Of Chopped Liver