The Tangled Credits Of Passing Through On The Leonard Cohen Live Songs Album

creditlc3Although many fans believe Passing Through to be the work of Leonard Cohen, the song was actually written in 1948 by Richard Blakeslee. Dominique BOILE explains the credit issues with Leonard Cohen recordings of Passing Through. These notes were first published (in French) Feb 9, 2010 on the French Leonard Cohen site administered by Patrice Close.1

Passing Through (sometimes called Passing Thru), released on the Live Songs album, holds a special place among the songs of Leonard Cohen.

On the original 33 rpm vinyl Live Songs LP (Holland: 1973), the 45 rpm vinyl record (Germany), and the 45 rpm promo, only Leonard Cohen is credited for the song.

creditlc1creditlc2

On the 33 rpm vinyl Live Songs LP (Israel: 1973), however, we find Passing Through “Composed by R. Blakeslee – Arranged by L. Cohen.” More precisely, we find “Composed by R. Blakeslee – Arranged by L. Cohen” listed beneath the list of six songs on Side 1 without an indication of which song those credits reference.

isra

 

And on the 45 rpm vinyl released in 1973 the credits for Passing Through read “R. Blakeslee. – Arr L. Cohen.”

On the 1973 Live Songs UK cassette, the only Passing Thru credit is “Arr: L. Cohen.”

ukcassetteOn the 1973 Live Songs Holland cassette, the Passing Thru credit is shared:  “R. Blakeslee – arr: L. Cohen.”

hollandcass

The Lyrics Of Leonard Cohen (Omnibus Press. UK: 2009) references Passing Through with “Words & Music by Leonard Cohen.”

lyrics-of-Leonard-CohenMaurice Ratcliffe, writing in both The Complete Guide To The Music Of Leonard Cohen (Omnibus Press, UK: 1999) and Leonard Cohen The Music And The Mystique (Omnibus Press, UK: 2012) notes “‘Passing Through’ was written by Richard Blakeslee, although Cohen claims an arranger’s credit for this version.”

Ratcliffe2Even the A Thousand Covers Deep:Leonard Cohen Covered By Other Artists section of LeonardCohenFiles, which lists “only songs written by Leonard Cohen” and omits those written by others (like The Partisan, The Lost Canadian etc.), includes Passing Thru.

Passing Through was first released by Pete Seeger (Pete Seeger and Sonny Terry at Carnegie Hall. Folkways Records – 1958) or Cisco Houston (The Folkways Years 1944-1961).

You can hear a beautiful version of “Passing Through” on vinyl LP 33 rpm “The Earl Scruggs Revue Volume One Anniversary Special” produced by Bob Johnston (CBS reference 80821-1975 – Printed In Holland). The verses of the song are interpreted, in turn and in order, by: Joan Baez, Leonard Cohen,  Buffy Sainte Marie, Ramblin’ Jack Elliott, and The Pointer Sisters!  This 1975 album was the first time Leonard Cohen appeared on a record other than his own, excluding his poetry. (Shown below is the 2008 re-mastered CD by BGO Records:Great Britain.)

frnt

___________________________________

  1. Passing Through (ou Passing Thru) que l’on trouve sur l’album Live Songs est une chanson particulière dans l’oeuvre de Leonard Cohen.  Sur le disque vinyle 33 tours original de 1973 – Made In Holland – Leonard Cohen est crédité comme étant l’auteur et le compositeur de cette chanson.

    Sur le même vinyle 33 tours de 1973 Made In Israël on peut lire : Composed by R. Blakeslee – Arranged by L. Cohen.

    Par contre, sur le 45 tours vinyle de cette même époque, il est indiqué sous le titre (R. Blakeslee – Arr. L. Cohen).

    Dans le livre The Lyrics Of Leonard Cohen : Passing Through (words and music by Leonard Cohen).

    Dans The Complete Guide To The Music Of Leonard Cohen il est noté “Passing Through was written by Richard Blakeslee, although Cohen
    claims an arranger’s credit for this version”.

    C’est effectivement une chanson écrite en 1948 par Richard Blakeslee.

    Elle a été chantée par Pete Seeger (album Pete Seeger and Sonny Terry at Carnegie Hall – Folkways Records – 1958)
    ou encore Cisco Houston (The Folkways Years 1944 – 1961).

    On peut entendre une très belle version de Passing Through sur le 33 tours vinyle The Earl Scruggs Revue Volume One Anniversary Special
    produit par Bob Johnston (référence CBS 80821 – 1975 – Printed In Holland).
    Les couplets de cette chanson sont interprétés, tour à tour et dans l’ordre, par :
    Joan Baez – Leonard Cohen – Buffy Sainte Marie – Ramblin’ Jack Elliott et The Pointer Sisters !

    A noter : c’était, en 1975, la première apparition de Leonard Cohen sur un disque autre que le sien (si on exclut les disques de poèmes). []

One Reply to “The Tangled Credits Of Passing Through On The Leonard Cohen Live Songs Album”