Nancy Priddy is now probably better known as Nancy Applegate aka mother of actress Christina Applegate. She was also an actress herself, appearing on several television series, including Bewitched, The Waltons, and Matlock. She was a member of The Bitter End Singers in 1964, a short lived folksinging group along with Lefty Baker, Tina Bohlmann, Bob Hider, Norris O’Neill, and Vilma Vaccaro. In 1968, she released the album You’ve Come This Way Before, now regarded as a classic of psychedelic folk. Leonard Cohen fans, however, are likely to be most interested in her role as a vocalist on Leonard Cohen’s first album, Songs Of Leonard Cohen.
Nancy Priddy explains how she came to be recruited to perform on that album in her response to an inquiry about the female backing singers on Cohen’s first three albums sent to MOJO’s “Ask Fred” column. Jim Williams, who wrote the inquiry to MOJO, provides the text of Priddy’s reply, which was published in the November 2005 issue of MOJO, in a LeonardCohenForum post:
A friend of mine saw an Ask Fred question concerning the voices behind Leonard Cohen on his first three albums. Well I don’t know about the second or third but I certainly do about the first, which contained Hey, That’s No Way To Say Goodbye, Suzanne and So Long, Marianne.
At that time I was writing with John Simon, the album’s producer, who was a very good friend. When Columbia informed him that they would put no further money into the project, John told me we’d have to finish the album together. I was delighted to do that – so I provided the female voice on the record. I believe John song with me on So Long, Marianne, but I certainly did Suzanne and Hey, That’s No Way To Say Goodbye.
John and I loved Leonard’s songs, and when we played our additional vocals to him he seemed to love our work in return. I often think about the first time John played Leonard’s work for me in that darkish studio, late night in New York. Little did any of us know what would happen with those songs – especially the record label!
Video: Nancy Priddy – You’ve Come This Way Before
Note: Originally posted Mar 9, 2012 at 1HeckOfAGuy.com, a predecessor of Cohencentric