The Leonard Cohen – Joni Mitchell Nexus Of Nakedness

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“Won’t you let me see your naked body?”

Adrian Du Plessis, Allison Crowe’s Personable Manager and a 1960s & 1970s music aficionado has observed a serendipitous confluence between

1. A DrHGuy.com Leonard Cohen quotation entry: Q: Is there anything greater in life than the sight of a naked beautiful woman? Leonard Cohen: “Not too many.”

and, appearing the same day,

2. A posting by another Facebook friend of a photo (displayed atop this post) of a naked Joni Mitchell from the inside cover of her 1972 album, For The Roses.

Is this concurrence a mere coincidence? Well, of course it is, but it’s an interesting coincidence. So, let’s add one more pertinent quote, this one from Joni Mitchell:

He [Leonard Cohen] owns the phrase “naked body,” for example; it appears in every one of his songs.1

Note: Originally posted February 9, 2014 at DrHGuy.com, a predecessor of Cohencentric

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  1. Will You Take Me As I Am: Joni Mitchell’s Blue Period by Michelle Mercer. Free Press; 1st Edition, April 7, 2009 []

Stranger Song, Indeed – Leonard Cohen, Judy Collins, Joni Mitchell, & The Man On An Acid Trip

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Judy Collins Helps Leonard Cohen, Joni Mitchell, And The Man Coming Down From An Acid Trip

While “the man coming down from an acid trip” plays a role in a strange story in Judy Collins’ newly published book, Sweet Judy Blue Eyes – My Life In Music,1 he is at most the fourth strangest element in the single paragraph that deals with him, Leonard Cohen, Joni Mitchell, and Judy Collins herself.

In a few pages of  Sweet Judy Blue Eyes, Judy Collins has written accounts of her connections with Leonard Cohen and Joni Mitchell. Most of the information has been previously published in books about or interviews with Collins, Cohen, and Mitchell.  Nonetheless, the unique perspective has led me to excerpt the book’s sections dealing with Joni Mitchell and Leonard Cohen, including explanations of the role Judy Collins played in promoting the careers of Cohen and Mitchell. (Also see Judy Collins Describes Leonard Cohen’s 1st Concert Appearance 1967)

We begin with an anecdote that offers some new (at least to me) and odd (again, at least to me) content and is set forth in an even odder, downright eccentric construction:

Joni and Leonard met for the first time at that concert [the Newport afternoon concert] and began a love affair. Still, everyone was a little off-center. I remember being in bed with a man I did not know who was coming down from an acid  trip and wanted me to “comfort him,” no sex involved. Leonard sat in the room with us, singing “The Stranger Song” softly  to himself, not paying any attention at all to what was happening on the bed. The Chelsea Hotel indeed! I trusted Leonard completely in very intimate situations and although we never had an intimate exchange of that kind ourselves, he was a constant ally I could take into battle with no fear of betrayal. Joni wrote “That Song About The Midway” about Leonard, or so she says. Sounds right: the festival, the guy, the jewel in the ear.

If I were still grading Freshman Composition papers (my work/study job in college), this paragraph would be covered in red ink, my scrawls asking, first of all, why a sentence about Joni and Leonard meeting and beginning a love affair is followed immediately in the same paragraph with the non sequitur, “Still, everyone was a little off-center,” and then by a scene portraying the narrator in bed with and (asexually) comforting  a man coming down from an acid trip while Leonard sings a song while “[without] paying any attention at all to what was happening on the bed.” There is more, but let’s not linger over violated principles of narrative exposition.

It doesn’t require the services of a hot-shot shrink (my job after coming to my senses and opting for medical school rather than a post-graduate English Lit program) to detect signs that Judy Collins may have some unresolved anger directed toward Joni Mitchell and that Leonard Cohen is somehow involved.

Continue Reading →

  1. Judy Collins. Crown Archetype, October 18, 2011 []

Bob Dylan’s “Tangled Up In Blue” Is On Leonard Cohen’s Jukebox

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Leonard Cohen’s Jukebox

Biggest Influence on My Music – The jukebox. I lived beside jukeboxes all through the fifties. … I never knew who was singing. I never followed things that way. I still don’t. I wasn’t a student of music; I was a student of the restaurant I was in — and the waitresses. The music was a part of it. I knew what number the song was.

– Leonard Cohen (Yakety Yak by Scott Cohen, 1994)

Leonard Cohen’s Jukebox: Over the years, Leonard Cohen has mentioned a number of specific songs he favors. Leonard Cohen’s Jukebox is a Cohencentric feature that began collecting these tunes for the edification and entertainment of viewers on April 4, 2009. All posts in the Leonard Cohen’s Jukebox series can be found at The Original Leonard Cohen’s Jukebox Page.

Bob Dylan Returns To Leonard Cohen’s Jukebox

 

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Already represented by “I And I” on the list of songs praised by Leonard Cohen,1 Bob Dylan scores again with “Tangled Up In Blue,” which was released in 1975 on Dylan’s Blood On The Tracks album,  “Tangled Up In Blue” was ranked #2 in the list of Leonard Cohen’s favorite songs in 1985.2

Interestingly, as a side note, Cohen’s one-time paramour, Joni Mitchell,3 is also associated with this song. According to Ron Rosenbaum, writing in The Best Joni Mitchell Song Ever (Slate, Dec. 14, 2007),

Bob Dylan once told me that he’d written “Tangled up in Blue,” the opening song of the much-celebrated Blood on the Tracks, after spending a weekend immersed in JM’s Blue (although I think he may have been talking about the whole album, not just the song).

Bob Dylan – Tangled Up In Blue
From the film, Renaldo and Clara

Bob Dylan Songs On Leonard Cohen’s Jukebox

Leonard Cohen-Bob Dylan Interface

All posts about Leonard Cohen’s & Bob Dylan’s opinions of each other, their meetings, and comparisons by others can be found at

Note: Originally posted Apr 27, 2010 at 1HeckOfAGuy.com, a predecessor of Cohencentric

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  1. See Bob Dylan’s “I And I” Is On Leonard Cohen’s Jukebox []
  2. From Leonard Cohen – In Eigenen Worten (in his own words) by Jim Devlin, a listing found by Florian at LeonardCohenForum []
  3. See Leonard Cohen and Joni Mitchell: Just One Of Those Things []

Joni Mitchell’s “A Case Of You” Is – Intriguingly – On Leonard Cohen’s Jukebox

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The Original Leonard Cohen’s Jukebox

Biggest Influence on My Music – The jukebox. I lived beside jukeboxes all through the fifties. … I never knew who was singing. I never followed things that way. I still don’t. I wasn’t a student of music; I was a student of the restaurant I was in — and the waitresses. The music was a part of it. I knew what number the song was.

– Leonard Cohen (Yakety Yak by Scott Cohen, 1994)

Leonard Cohen’s Jukebox: Over the years, Leonard Cohen has mentioned a number of specific Fsongs he favors. Leonard Cohen’s Jukebox is a Cohencentric feature that began collecting these tunes for the edification and entertainment of viewers on April 4, 2009. All posts in the Leonard Cohen’s Jukebox series can be found at The Original Leonard Cohen’s Jukebox Page.

Joni Mitchell And A Case Of Who?

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The formal documentation of Leonard Cohen’s approbation of “A Case Of You” by Joni Mitchell comes from “Leonard Cohen – In Eigenen Worten [In His Own Words]” by Jim Devlin,1 in which the song was ranked #2 in the list of Leonard Cohen’s favorite songs in 1988.

As one might infer from the above photo, however, there is more to the story than a personal hit parade listing. After all, #1 on that 1988 compilation was a tune by George Jones and #3 was by Bob Dylan, but I haven’t found a photo of George or Bob happily hugging Leonard like that.

As it turns out, Leonard Cohen and Joni Mitchell, both of whom are iconic Canadian singer-songwriters who came of age professionally in the late 1960s with roots in the folk movement of that era, also shared a short-lived romantic liaison which is summarized in this excerpt from  what has become one of the most-read Heck Of A Guy/Cohencentric posts, Leonard Cohen and Joni Mitchell: Just One Of Those Things:

For a few weeks in 1967 and 1968, Joni Mitchell and Leonard Cohen had a fling, the consequences of which continue to echo in their work.

Introduced to each other backstage at Judy Collins’s songwriter’s workshop2 at the 1967 Newport Folk Festival  by Judy Collins herself,3  who was, in large part,  responsible for jump-starting the musical careers of both singer-songwriters, Cohen and Mitchell were officially an item by the time the two of them co-hosted a workshop at the Mariposa Folk Festival.4 Their romance ignited, flared, and exhausted itself within weeks. Depending upon the source and the skew of ones perspective, preferences, and prejudices, Cohen either terminated the relationship himself for unspecified reasons or incited Mitchell to end it because of his interest in other women.

Also included in that post is a discussion of songs Mitchell wrote which have been identified by some as having been inspired by her relationship with Leonard Cohen: “Rainy Night House,” “That Song About The Midway,” “The Gallery,” and “A Case Of You.”5  It seems significant that, by my unofficial and unscientific count, the word most commonly used by politic writers to describe the mood of all these songs is “bittersweet.”

This commentary on the psychological provenance of “A Case Of You” is also from Leonard Cohen and Joni Mitchell: Just One Of Those Things:

In his 1996 biography, “Joni Mitchell,”  Brian Hinton offers his “own uninformed guess …  that ‘A Case Of You’  is also about Leonard Cohen.” Mitchell herself, according to Sheila Weller, told “a confidante in the mid-1990s that it was about Leonard Cohen” but told Estrella Berosini the song was about another lover, James Taylor.6 In any case, the chorus does have a Cohen sort of ring to it.7

Oh you are in my blood like holy wine
And you taste so bitter but you taste so sweet
Oh I could drink a case of you
I could drink a case of you darling
Still I’d be on my feet
And still be on my feet

Regardless of the origins, it is a wonderful song that evokes and resonates with the joys and vicissitudes of love once embraced and then lost. That Leonard Cohen lists it as one of his favorite songs 20 years after the romance that appears to have spawned it is – well, like most Leonard Cohen behaviors, it’s intriguing.

Joni Mitchell Performs “A Case Of You”

Joni Mitchell – A Case Of You
Video from

Credit Due Department: Photo  of Joni Mitchell by Matt Gibbonshttp://www.flickr.com/photos/ultomatt/3126812062/, CC BY 2.0, – Wikipedia

Note: Originally posted May 4, 2010  at 1HeckOfAGuy.com, a predecessor of Cohencentric

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  1. This invaluable reference was offered by Florian at LeonardCohenForum. []
  2. Will You Take Me As I Am: Joni Mitchell’s Blue Period by Michelle Mercer. Free Press; 1st Edition, April 7, 2009 []
  3. Girls Like Us: Carole King, Joni Mitchell, Carly Simon–And the Journey of a Generation by  Sheila Weller. Atria: April 8, 2008 []
  4. Will You Take Me As I Am: Joni Mitchell’s Blue Period by Michelle Mercer. Free Press; 1st Edition, April 7, 2009 []
  5. On a tangential note, both Cohen and Mitchell wrote songs called “Winter Lady.” A comparison of the two works can be found at “Winter Lady” By Leonard Cohen Meets “Winter Lady” By Joni Mitchell. []
  6. Girls Like Us: Carole King, Joni Mitchell, Carly Simon–And the Journey of a Generation by Sheila Weller. Atria: April 8, 2008. P 314 []
  7. The complete lyrics of “A Case Of You” can be found at http://www.lyricsfreak.com/j/joni+mitchell/a+case+of+you_20075257.html []

Video: Leonard Cohen Recites “Jungle Line” by Joni Mitchell (From Herbie Hancock’s River Album)

River-The-Joni-LettersRiver: The Joni Letters album is Herbie Hancock’s re-imagining of Joni Mitchell’s work. Leonard Cohen performs Mitchell’s “Jungle Line.”

Leonard Cohen – The Jungle Line
From River: The Joni Letters album by Herbie Hancock