Leonard Cohen Video Of The Day: The Partisan – Live On French TV, 1970


The Partisan

The Partisan, a song from the French Resistance written by Anna Marly and Emmanuel d’Astier in 1943,1 has been and continues to be one of Leonard Cohen’s most popular songs, especially in French-speaking countries and in Poland.2

Leonard Cohen On The Joe Dassin Show

On May 13, 1970, Leonard Cohen performed The Partisan on French TV’s Joe Dassin Show – “Arpèges sur Joe Dassin.” Mr Dassin is the host who introduces the Canadian singer-songwriter at the beginning of the video.

Leonard Cohen – The Partisan
May 13, 1970 – French TV, Paris

Note: Originally posted Feb 24, 2013 at 1HeckOfAGuy.com, a predecessor of Cohencentric


  1. There is some confusion about the proper credits for this song. LeonardCohenSite notes, “… as it can be read in Anna Prucnal ‘s LP “Avec Amour”, the actual credit is

    Original: La complainte du Partisan
    paroles: Emmanuel d’Astier de la Vigerie also undernamed “Bernard”
    musique: Anna Marly

    Leonard ‘s cover: The (song of the French) Partisan
    paroles: E. d’Astier de la Vigerie, adaptation Hy Zaret
    musique: Anna Marly
    Ed. Raoul Breton.” []

  2. The Partisan has been featured on this site several times, including Best Performance Of Leonard Cohen’s The Partisan and Rare 1970 Leonard Cohen Partisan & Regina Videos. []

Hear Complete 1970 Leonard Cohen Vienna Concert

Leonard Cohen – Live at Konzerthaus, Wien
May 9th, 1970
Radio Broadcast

A reposting of the radio broadcast of the 1970 Vienna show that is certainly listenable but not exemplary. Perhaps the most interesting track is #16, the recitation of the poem, Travel, from Spice-Box Of Earth

Loving you, flesh to flesh, I often thought
Of travelling penniless to some mud throne
Where a master might instruct me how to plot
My life away from pain, to love alone
In the bruiseless embrace of stone and lake.

Lost in the fields of your hair I was never lost
Enough to lose a way I had to take;
Breathless beside your body I could not exhaust
The will that forbid me contract, vow,
Or promise, and often while you slept
I looked in aw beyond your beauty.

I know why many men have stopped and wept
Half-way between the loves they leave and seek,
And wondered if travel leads them anywhere–
Horizons keep the soft line of your cheek,
The windy sky’s a locket for your hair.


— First Set —
01 Bird on the Wire
02 So Long, Marianne
03 You Know Who I Am
04 Dead Song (poem)
05 Lady Midnight
06 One Of Us Cannot Be Wrong
07 The Stranger Song
08 Joan Of Arc
09 Tonight Will Be Fine
— Second Set —
10 The Partisan
11 Sisters Of Mercy
12 Diamonds In The Mine
13 Story Of Isaac
14 Famous Blue Raincoat
15 Sing Another Song, Boys
16 Travel (poem)
17 Hey, That’s No Way To Say Goodbye
18 Suzanne
19 Please Don’t Pass Me By

Hear Earliest Recorded 1970 Leonard Cohen Concert: Frankfurt

Leonard Cohen in concert at Jahrhunderthalle, Frankfurt on May 6, 1970. Good quality audience recording for 1970. (Leonard played Leeds two weeks later on May 19; Leonard Cohen Live At Leeds 1970: Download Audience Recording)


01. [3:56.31] Un As Der Rebbe Singt – solo
02. [4:18.24] Bird On The Wire
03. [6:49.22] So Long Marianne
04. [3:43.05] You Know Who I Am
05. [0:19.08] Dead Song (poem)
06. [3:34.48] Lady Midnight
07. [4:36.22] One Of Us Cannot Be Wrong
08. [5:29.10] The Stranger Song – solo
09. [5:40.74] Joan Of Arc
10. [6:13.68] Tonight Will Be Fine
11. [4:59.54] The Partisan
12. [5:56.08] Sisters Of Mercy
13. [4:45.46] Diamonds In The Mine
14. [4:16.59] Story Of Isaac
15. [6:11.16] Famous Blue Raincoat
16. [7:04.41] Sing Another Song, Boys
17. [0:39.15] Celebration (poem)
18. [3:00.53] Hey, That’s No Way To Say Goodbye
19. [3:56.45] Suzanne
20. [13:49.24] Please Don’t Pass Me By

Signs Of Leonard Cohen: 1970 University Of Wisconsin “Bring Them Home” Homecoming Concert Poster

Of course, who else would the University of Wisconsin hire to play for their 1970 “Bring Them Home [from Vietnam]” Homecoming Concert other than Leonard Cohen?  See The 1970 Leonard Cohen University of Wisconsin-Madison Concert, The Anti-War Movement, & Joe Way

Note: Originally posted October 10, 2010 at DrHGuy.com, a predecessor of Cohencentric

Donna Washburn 1972 Leonard Cohen Tour Backup Singer – 1970? Not So Much

Leonard Cohen with band and backup singers, Jennifer Warnes & Donna Washburn

More Weirdness From The 1970 Leonard Cohen Tour

The final piece of the 1970 Leonard Cohen Tour Backup Singers puzzle is the role Donna Washburn played as backup singer that year.

It should surprise no one who has been following the Heck Of A Guy account of the to discover that, notwithstanding reports found on the official Leonard Cohen site, LeonardCohenFiles, LeonardCohenForum, and 1800+ other sites – including the usually astute Heck Of A Guy – declaring that she served as backup singer at the most famous of Leonard Cohen’s 1970 concerts, the number of times Donna Washburn sang backup to Leonard Cohen in 1970 was zero, zip, zilch, nada, …

She was, however, a backup singer during the Leonard Cohen 1972 tour although she is overshadowed by Jennifer Warnes, Cohen’s other female vocalist that year. And, Washburn had an interesting professional career prior to 1972. But, first, let’s clear up the mistaken notion that she sang backup for Cohen in 1970.

Another Cautionary Tale About Internet-abetted Press Releases

The problem arises from the official blurb for the 2009 release of the Leonard Cohen Live At The Isle of Wight 1970 CD/DVD  put out by Columbia/Legacy:

CD-DVD Cover art – Leonard Cohen Live At The Isle Of Wight 1970

This excerpt is taken from the copy of the press release from LeonardCohen.com but is identical to that found on hundreds of other sites:

The CD (and double-LP) of ‘Live At The Isle of Wight 1970’ represent the 77-minute concert set as performed by Cohen and his backup band: Bob Johnston (Cohen’s Nashville-based Columbia A&R staff producer), and Nashville musicians Charlie Daniels (electric bass, fiddle), Ron Cornelius (lead guitar), and Elkin ‘Bubba’ Fowler (bass, banjo). They were joined by backup singers Corlynn Hanney, Susan Musmanno, and Donna Washburn. [emphasis mine]

As noted above, that same phrase,”backup singers Corlynn Hanney, Susan Musmanno, and Donna Washburn,” is found by Google at the official Leonard Cohen site, LeonardCohenFiles, LeonardCohenForum, and 1800+ other sites – including this one.

While my attempts to discover through official channels why Donna Washburn was credited as a backup singer on the Leonard Cohen Live At The Isle of Wight 1970 CD/DVD were unrequited, Aileen Fowler aka Susan Musmanno (backup singer, along with Corlynn Hanney, on the 1970 Leonard Cohen Tour) offers helpful information:1

… there’s a third girl onstage in the Isle of Wight video; that was the only time I ever saw her. She was a friend of Ron Cornelius’s. I don’t recall ever seeing Donna except at the Isle of Wight. I am assuming that she is the girl sitting behind Ron in the video. She doesn’t appear to be miked, and looks like she is just jamming along. We never rehearsed with her. I can’t think that she would have been paid. And that was the only time she showed up on my watch. Why she got a backup singer credit for that performance at IOW is a mystery to me.

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  1. Aileen and her husband, Elkin Fowler, guitarist during the 1970 tour have been especially useful in filling in the blanks about the 1970 Leonard Cohen Tour. See “It was a crazy, crazy time” Leonard Cohen’s 1970 Backup Singers. []