Billboard’s 30th Anniversary Tribute To Leonard Cohen – November 28, 1998
The November 28, 1998 issue of Billboard contains a 14 page celebration of Leonard Cohen:
The tribute is a 14 page appendix in the middle of the magazine. A recent interview with Leonard written by with Susan Nunziata was also posted on Billboard’s own website, but there is more in the magazine – we can read comments from his co-workers and friends, like Phil Spector, Jennifer Warnes, and Steve Lindsey. Dylan Siegler writes about Leonard’s career. There are numerous stylish advertisements showing great photos of Leonard and his family. For instance the staff at Stranger Management, his promoters, record companies, financial advisors, music publisher, and TV/radio channels greet him. A touching ad is on page LC-12: photos from Leonard’s family album are presented with the text “With love from your family; Suzanne, Lorca, Adam and Esther”.1
The Nunziata interview is studded with gems, including Cohen’s acknowledgment of his debt to Jennifer Warnes:
Jennifer Warnes practically revived me from the dead in America by putting out Famous Blue Raincoat.… She’s been an invaluable help in my life.
And there is also a discussion of Cohen’s project with Phil Spector:
Of note was Cohen’s collaboration with Phil Spector on the album “Death of a Ladies’ Man”. The almost unimaginable combination of Spector and Cohen has been well documented. Spector’s obsession with guns, his heavy drinking, his tendency to surround himself with menacing henchmen, and his penchant to threaten musicians. The now infamous stories of Spector holding a gun to Cohen’s neck as a sign of his unswerving affection and his obsessive possessiveness of the master tapes, to the extent that Cohen was prevented from hearing the mixes before the album was released, are now legendary. The sound and style of Ladies’ Man were in such contrast to Cohen’s previous work that it came as a great disappointment to him.
However, with the intervention of time, Cohen has mellowed and warmed toward the album and has now developed a great affection for it, even to the extent that he has entertained the possibility of working with Spector again. Spector, for his part, expressed great admiration for Cohen, and warmly cherished the honor of working with Cohen and of sharing in the writing and production of “Death of a Ladies’ Man”. [emphasis mine]
The Cohen Cover Photo
The intriguing qualities of the interview notwithstanding, I am more taken with the ads placed in the Cohen tribute section by his business associates and family (seen in the following sections) and the spectacularly cluttered cover (seen atop this post).
While I understand the significance of the Cohen-authored books and albums comprising the border of the cover and the fact that no periodical is likely to sacrifice its own logo to highlight a cover photo, I am convinced the simple image of Leonard Cohen, freed of the clunky icons surrounding the image’s perimeter, is far more striking.
The Leonard Cohen Family Ad
Clearly the highlight of the ads is the touching collection of family photos with the inscription
With love from your family;
Suzanne, Lorca, Adam and Esther
Ad From Moses Znaimer
Moses Znaimer was the head of several Canadian specialty channels, including Much Music, MusiquePlus, MusiMAX, and MuchmoreMusic. His ad places Cohen on a background filled with images of music, Hebrew script, a rose, a statue emblematic of Eastern thought, and a list of Cohen’s roles: Poet, Singer, Songwriter, Rabbinical Student, Buddhist Adept, and Lover Of Women.
Ad From European Promoters
I first award this ad the prize for Funniest Tribute Ad because of its legend,
First we take Manhattan
Then we take a break
… and the accompanying pseudo-Polaroid of Cohen collapsed on the floor.
It also wins the award for Most Sincere Tribute Ad because of the openly self-serving signature lines:
We can’t wait to see you back on the road.
Love, Fleming, Steen, & your European promoters.
Ad From Greenberg & Associates Financial Advisors
Things change. In 2005, Cohen and his legal team would accuse Greenberg of failing to warn Cohen about his dangerous financial situation. 2
Ad From Stranger Music
Some things really change. The text reads,
“Like a bird on the wire
Like a drunk in a midnight choir
I have tried in my way to be free”
With great love and affection,
from Kelley [Lynch], Joan [Lynch], Jack [Lynch], and all your friends at Stranger Management, and from Steve Lindsey [arranger & producer]
The ad shows Leonard Cohen playing at University Of Rome in 1974 (see Rare Photos: Leonard Cohen’s 1974 Appearance At The University Of Rome – Performance & Book Promo).
View The Original Tribute
The entire Tribute section can be found at Google Books
Note: Originally posted Mar 24, 2011 at 1HeckOfAGuy.com, a predecessor of Cohencentric