Leonard Cohen Down Memories Laine: Droll, Deadpan Version – ZDF-TV 1979

rockpopThis is the fourth post in the Leonard Cohen Down Memories Laine series examining “Memories” by Leonard Cohen.

Now, this is fun …

ZDF-TV Rockpop Special Memories Video

Leonard Cohen – Memories
ZDF-TV Studio in München, Deutschland: October 31, 1979
Part of a set recorded for later broadcast1

OK, if you don’t recognize that this is a funny video after viewing it – and an amazing number of folks don’t – I probably can’t persuade you. Nonetheless, my humanitarian obligation to you as a fellow inhabitant of this planet is to at least attempt to rescue you from your tragic misperception. So, we’ll be taking a look at  Leonard’s humor, the backup singers (Jennifer Warnes and Sharon Robinson) choreography, and the inspirational Frankie Laine. Buckle up.
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  1. According to the YouTube notes, the band at that taping included “Leonard Cohen – vocals, acoustic guitar, blues harp, Sharon Robinson – vocals, Jennifer Warnes – vocals, Mitch Watkins – guitars, Roscoe Beck – bass, Raffi Hakopian – violin, John Bilezikjian – oud, mandolin, Paul Ostermeyer – wind, Bill Ginn – keyboards, Steve Meador – drums.” Leonard Cohen Live lists the the complete set taped that day as follows: “1. Bird On The Wire, 2. The Guests, 3. So Long, Marianne, 4. The Window, 5. Famous Blue Raincoat, 6. Passin’ Through, 7. Memories, 8. The Guests (2), 9. Suzanne, -. The Partisan.” That same source notes that “tracks #1-2 were broadcasted on ZDF-TV ‘Rock-Pop,’ November 10, 1979” and “tracks #3-9 were broadcasted on ZDF-TV ‘Rock-Pop Special,’ December 2, 1979.” []

Jennifer Warnes On Leonard Cohen’s “Jenny Sings Lenny” Cover Art


“This is, in fact, the true cover and unofficial title”

During the recording of the album that would be released as Famous Blue Raincoat in Spring 1986, Leonard Cohen and Jennifer Warnes had dinner at Mario’s Italian Restaurant in Hollywood. Leonard pulled a pen from his breast pocket, moved his plate aside, and drew the sketch shown above on his white paper placemat.

To me, this little drawing was sacred and private, and I secretly resisted it into an advertisement. Leonard, however, has never forgiven me for not using it on the cover. But among those of us who worked on this recording, of which I am deeply proud, this is, in fact, the true cover and unofficial title.quotedown2

Jennifer Warnes


From Jenny Sings Lenny by Jennifer Warnes in Take This Waltz: A Celebration of Leonard Cohen, Edited by Michael Fournier and Ken Norris (The Muses Company, Quebec, Canada: 1994)

Jennifer Warnes: “It wasn’t love at first sight between Leonard [Cohen] and me.”

jennifer warnes image De Telegraaf December 24 1992 pixels_low

No, it wasn’t love at first sight between Leonard and me. I already knew his work well when I first met him in a hotel elevator in Hartford, Connecticut, where I was singing at the local university auditorium and he was performing in the concert hall. I had always pictured that, whenever we met, I would start an intellectual discussion about life and work, from which he would deduce that I am a sophisticated person. But at the actual moment, of course, I behaved like any fan – not to say like a groupie – and I was treated accordingly. So, I was surprised when, two years later, I was asked to join his band as a background singer. Although I came to the audition with trepidation, I was hired – without Leonard recognizing me. During the tour we have shuddered over this many times: imagine if we had remained two ships that sailed past one another in the night! To make a long story short: we are friends for life. I’m convinced that Leonard has loved all his singers, but Laura Branigan and I are, if he is asked for favorites, always mentioned. quotedown2

Jennifer Warnes


Jennifer Warnes “Ik heb een ego als de Eiffeltoren” [Jennifer Warnes ‘I have an ego as big as the Eiffel Tower’] door Jip Golsteijn (De Telegraaf: December 24, 1992)

Contributed and translated by Anja Deelen

Hear Jennifer Warnes BBC Interview About Leonard Cohen, Roscoe Beck, New Album …

jwifJennifer Warnes is interviewed by Spencer Leigh at BBC Radio Merseyside – March 20, 2016. The broadcast will be available for 21 more days.

Jennifer’s fans assess this as one of her best interviews (and I agree).

Linda Sturgess, who alerted me to this interview, writes:

She talks of many things and, of course, about her long relationship with Leonard Cohen – with comments like “he brings the excitement of the written world to music” and he “speaks to the soul.” The interview is interspersed with a lot of good music. I loved this – her mention of how there used to be “road records” – listening to an album while on a road trip in a car – the love of “the hour spent with an artist that was unbroken.”  She mentions the upcoming the upcoming album that she is working with Roscoe Beck and others – a “collection of tunes that resonate with her life.”

The interview can be heard at BBC Radio Merseyside – Jennifer Warnes

Credit Due Department: Thanks to Linda Sturgess who alerted me to this interview

Video: Leonard Cohen Performs Sisters of Mercy With Donna Washburn & Jennifer Warnes – 1972


Backup singers Donna Washburn & Jennifer Warnes are positioned to share Leonard Cohen’s microphone after sound system problems caused theirs to malfunction.

Leonard Cohen – Sisters of Mercy
From Bird On A Wire Documentary: 1972 Tour

Jennifer Warnes Reissues The Well, Works On New Project With Roscoe Beck, Sings On Leonard Cohen’s Forthcoming Album

well2These are pertinent excerpts from Jennifer Warnes reissues ‘The Well’ while recording new material (The Examiner: March 21, 2016), but the entire article is worthwhile reading:

“My fans keep asking for new material,” she told him. “I can’t keep reissuing Famous Blue Raincoat!.” But since The Well had never been released in Europe, it’s come out now ahead of a new album she’s working on for release by BMG International later this year… She’s reteamed with her Famous Blue Raincoat co-producer Roscoe Beck. “We really know how to do this, though we haven’t done it together in 30 years!” she says, then turns contemplative…

But “the truth is,” she concludes, “a bunch of us are pushing forward because we were meant to do this—and we really don’t need a cultural movement to believe in ourselves.”  To this end, she sang with Leonard Cohen in December for his recording project, and is working on her own book project. [bolding mine]

“Singing with Leonard Cohen was a big adventure” Jennifer Warnes

jennifer warnes image De Telegraaf December 24 1992 pixels_low

Singing with Leonard Cohen was a big adventure. These days no artist of any importance starts touring without having rehearsed for six weeks. A premiere audience typically sees a show that already has been performed thirty times in a desolate factory hall or airplane hangar. After another thirty rehearsals everyone can play his or her part in their sleep. But rehearsing with Leonard came down to participating in three long group discussions about music and receiving a cassette to take home. Once we were touring, every evening we were summoned to Leonard’s dressing room to play and sing for half an hour. Leonard then decided who made the most powerful impression, and that person would get the leading part that evening. And every evening the band and vocalists looked forward with excitement and anxiety to the moment when Leonard would perform for the first time another new version of a song he was working on. The audience loved it as much as he did, but we were wiped out afterwards, that much emotion was invested in such an improvisation. One evening, we discovered that we had been working on the same song for some time. So that was no throw-away song! Every day another brilliant couplet was added. Finally it boiled down to “Chelsea Hotel,” still a milestone in Leonard’s oeuvre.quotedown2

Jennifer Warnes

Jennifer Warnes “Ik heb een ego als de Eiffeltoren” [Jennifer Warnes ‘I have an ego as big as the Eiffel Tower’] door Jip Golsteijn (De Telegraaf: December 24, 1992)

Contributed and translated by Anja Deelen