“I Am Eliezer” – Leonard Cohen’s Email Correspondence With Cantor Gideon Zelermyer

Tamar forwards these scans of and information about “I Am Eliezer”: The Jewish Correspondence Of Leonard Cohen (Note: The article is in Hebrew; the references in this post are in English via Google Translate) by Yaniv Halily (Yediot Aharonot: Feb 6, 2017)

The article concerns the correspondence between Leonard Cohen and Cantor Gideon Zelermyer of Shaar Hashomayim Synagogue, (both Leonard’s great-grandfather, Lazarus Cohen, and his grandfather, Lyon Cohen, served as President of Congregation Shaar Hashomayim). Cantor Gideon Zelermyer and the Shaar Hashomayim Synagogue Choir sang on “You Want It Darker” and “Seemed A Better Way.”  (See Howard Bilerman Tells Story Behind Recording Cantor Gideon Zelermyer And Shaar Hashomayim Synagogue Choir For Leonard Cohen’s You Want It Darker)

The emails include those dealing with Leonard’s request that the Choir and Cantor perform on the You Want It Darker album. Leonard’s thoughts on Judaism, and the relationship between the correspondents.

The article survives computer translation fairly well and is a worthwhile read. The full piece, in Hebrew, can be accessed at “I Am Eliezer”: The Jewish Correspondence Of Leonard Cohen

Observer Ranks All Leonard Cohen Studio Albums

Certain perennials bloom intermittently in the Leonard Cohen garden of musical journalism.  Along with articles listing “X Things You Didn’t Know About Leonard Cohen,” “The Y Best Songs Of Leonard Cohen,” and “The Z Best Covers Of Hallelujah,” an enduring favorite is “Leonard Cohen Albums Ranked.” The most recent specimen of that category can be viewed at Every Leonard Cohen Album, Ranked by Justin Joffe (Observer: May 25, 2017).

“Leonard’s songs sounded to me like I’d heard them before in a dream, even as I sat there listening to them for the first time” How Peter Lewis of Moby Grape Discovered Leonard Cohen

Harvey Kubernik, author of author of Leonard Cohen: Everybody Knows (see Q&A With Harvey Kubernik) and 1967: A Complete Rock Music History of the Summer of Love, writes with the story of how musician Peter Lewis of Moby Grape came to be enthralled by Leonard Cohen.

Harvey Kubernik: I do have one question. Bob Johnston thew staff producer at Columbia Records did some producing with you and a few albums with Leonard Cohen. Did you meet Leonard 1967-1972 at Columbia or in a studio? Did you dig his records.

Peter Lewis: I just missed meeting Leonard. I first got turned on to him in New York. It must have been 68′ or 69′ when my marriage was falling apart. We were playing the Fillmore East or Village theatre. When the set was over I remember meeting Linda Eastman backstage. She was there with her camera to take pictures of the band.

I think see saw how downright lonely I was. She was one of those rare creature you meet sometimes in life who just “knows” what to do and took pity on me. When we got to her apartment that night she went to her turntable and put on Leonard’s first record. Of course “Susanne”, “That’s No Way to Say Goodbye” etc. came to me like the soundtrack of my life at the time.

Later, Bob Johnson produced our last album for Columbia “Truly Fine Citizen”, in Nashville. When the record was finished he asked me if I wanted to stay after the others went home. He said he liked my voice and wanted to introduce me to Johnny Cash, Dylan, Leonard Cohen etc.

Why did I go home with the others and not take my shot at the time? It may have been some crazy idea that Many Grape wasn’t finished yet.

Anyway, I never stopped listening to and admiring Leonard Cohen. He was the first artist I became fully conscious of, after Dylan, who could make the music fit the lyrics in a way that seemed already familiar. Anyway it all started that night at Linda’s. Leonard’s songs sounded to me like I’d heard them before in a dream, even as I sat there listening to them for the first time.

I got your 1967 book from Carol. It brought everything back in a rush. So much of what I remember about that time now got focused on my own personal experience. I had forgotten how it felt to be part of something that big.

2009 Leonard Cohen Kansas City Show Ranked #1 In Concert Chris’ “Top 20 Favorite Shows Of The Year”

1. Leonard Cohen 11-9 at The Midland Theater, KC

After the first song ended I said to my buddy that “it’s so good it feels fake.” I had no idea how good this show would be. The dude’s 75 but as spry as any indie band kid skipping on and off stage. The production and musicianship on stage was remarkable and the crowd hung on every word. Thanks Mr. Cohen.

From Top 20 Favorite Shows Of The Year, Kc And Elsewhere – Concert Chis: December 18, 2009. This photo of the marquee taken by Joey Carenza.

“In this Leonard Cohen world right now, the song Suzanne really represents everything that is mysterious…about great Canadian songwriting” Rufus Wainwright on “the song that defines Canada”


Tell us about the song that defines Canada for you?

In this Leonard Cohen world right now, the song Suzanne really represents everything that is mysterious, shall we say, about great Canadian songwriting. I like it, because there’s an esoteric quality to it — where you don’t quite know what they’re singing about, or who it’s about, or where it takes place. It’s this kind of dreamlike quality. So I’d have to go with Suzanne, right now.quotedown2

Rufus Wainwright


From Q&A: Rufus Wainwright on his family, being a Montrealer and proud Canadian – CBC News: May 21, 2017.

Leonard Cohen Opus Album Starbucks Release Hits Billboard 200 – Jan 2015

Excerpt from Leonard Cohen’s Starbucks Greatest Hits ‘Opus Collection’ Reflects Sales Influence of Coffee Empire (Music Times: Jan 30, 2015)

Leonard Cohen fans may have been surprised to find out that the stirring vocalist had a new set that debuted on the Billboard 200 this week. That’s because Opus Collection is a Starbucks exclusive series that packages the greatest hits from supposedly coffee-house friendly performers and then sells them at the chain’s locations. The good news: Folks are apparently still willing to buy physical format albums. The bad news: Don’t expect any unreleased music on this set.

Opus Collection serves as a fairly standard “greatest hits” collection, featuring “Hallelujah” and other Cohen standards you might expect, as well as a live version of “Dance Me To The End of Live” (a version previously released on other compilations from the performer). Its 20 tracks are a great starting point for anyone who just happens to take interest while ordering their morning coffee. Plus, Cohen makes much more sense in a Starbucks setting than say, The Beegees, who have also gotten the Opus Collection treatment in the past.

Week of 01/30/2015
WHO: Leonard Cohen
WHAT: Opus Collection
SPOT: 177

Note: Originally posted Feb 12, 2015 at DrHGuy.com, a predecessor of Cohencentric