Leonard Cohen Lyrical Map Project: Locations In The Works Of Leonard Cohen

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Leonard Cohen Lyrical Map

The Leonard Cohen Lyrical Map, when complete, will show every location found in the songs, poems, and prose of Leonard Cohen. Clicking on a map marker displays the song or poem referencing that location along with any necessary explanations, pertinent information. and a performance video (if available) of the song or poem.

The project comprises five phases.

  • Phase 1: Songs written or co-written by Leonard Cohen
  • Phase 2. Songs performed by Leonard Cohen but written by others
  • Phase 3: Poems written by Leonard Cohen
  • Phase 4: Poems performed by Leonard Cohen but written by others
  • Phase 5: Prose written by Leonard Cohen

The map atop this post reflects progress through Phase 2, displaying Locations In Songs Written Or Co-Written By Leonard Cohen, Songs Covered By Leonard Cohen In Concert, And Songs Casually Covered By Leonard Cohen

Three Lyrical Maps are now online:

Map Markers And Information

All geographical locations (e.g., cities, streets, bodies of water) are shown by the standard Google marker shown below).

markerBuildings (e.g., Chelsea Hotel, Bill’s Bar) are indicated by representative images. such as the cathedral icon for Our Lady Of The Harbour shown below.

cathedral

The blue circles with numbers indicate more than one marker in the same area. Zooming in on that area reveals the separate markers.

stacked3The same area after zoom shows one marker in Berlin and two in London.

stacked2Criteria

Locations: Locations include countries, cities, states, cities, streets, bodies of water, buildings, structures, and anything that Google can locate on Earth.1 Geographical terms must be used as locations in the lyrics; e.g., “Babylon” in “You where the whore and the beast of Babylon” (from Is This What You Wanted) is not a map location because “whore and the beast of Babylon” names a person rather than a place (on the other hand, “Babylon” in “And I had no strength In Babylon” from By The Rivers Dark is used as a location and is a valid entry). A location need not be specifically named if the reference is clear; e.g., it’s clear that the river in “Suzanne takes you down to her place near the river is the St. Lawrence River in Montreal and in the same song, “our lady of the harbour” is another name for Notre-Dame-de-Bonsecours. The exact location may be referenced in more than one work and each of those references should be listed as a separate location (e.g., Boogie Street, aka Bugis Street, Singapore is referenced in two songs, Boogie Street and A Thousand Kisses Deep).

Songs: Songs include all songs written, co-written, or performed by Leonard Cohen that have been released or performed in public (e.g., concerts and TV appearances). Songs, for example, written by others but covered by Leonard Cohen in concerts are eligible; songs performed only in soundchecks (including Red River Valley, Streets Of Laredo, and Ride Around) are not. Towns mentioned in specialized modifications of songs., such as Hampstead being mentioned in a performance of I Can’t Forget, are not eligible. It’s a practical thing. If Hampstead (orTownsville) is counted, all the  “I didn’t come to _________ to fool ya” versions of Hallelujah should also be included.- which would be a mess. I have also (mostly arbitrarily) excluded locations expressed in formats such as Canadian, Belgian, French, etc. Songs are divided into three categories:

  1. Songs Written Or Co-Written By Leonard Cohen
  2. Songs Written By Others Covered By Leonard Cohen In Concert
  3. Songs Written By Others Casually Covered By Leonard Cohen (These are songs, such as Regina and The Banana Song, never covered in concert but covered only on TV or radio and songs such as Red River Valley, performed only in soundchecks.)

The bottom of this page contains lists of the locations found. The locations already positioned on the map are marked with a “p” in the third column. The lists can be downloaded as PDF files via the Download links at the lower left of each list.

Note: When researching mapping software for this project, I discovered the folks at Slate had published a similar map in 2013 for locations in Bob Dylan’s songs: Bob Dylan’s World.

Song Locations Sorted By Location

Updated: February 15, 2016

Download (PDF, 54KB)

Song Locations Sorted By Song Title

Updated: February 15, 2016

Download (PDF, 53KB)

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  1. Maybe I will later map a Leonard Cohen Universe Map featuring such celestial bodies as the Milky Way (The Letters), the moon (Closing Time),  and the sun (True Love Leaves No Traces), but for now I’m stuck with the currently used world map. []