Cars Of Leonard Cohen: How A Poet-Singer-Songwriter-Icon Chooses Car Radio Stations, Leonard Compares His Songs To Volvo Cars & Ford Trucks, TV Ads For Cars & More

Cars Of Leonard Cohen

is a series of posts about actual automobiles owned by or associated with Leonard Cohen, metaphorical cars he employed in his songs, and his thoughts about cars. All posts in this series are collected at as they go online. Today’s offering is a collection of already published Cohencentric automotive-adjunct posts.

Accessories

Leonard Cohen Compares His Songs To Volvo Cars & Ford Trucks

Leonard Cohen Corrections Agency: Suzanne Vs Volvo – The Appeal

Writing Songs In Cars

It’s so desperate here that it’s really not bad at all. And, besides, this is the only city in the world where I’ve ever written a song while sitting in a driveway in a parked car.

Leonard Cohen On Location: Los Angeles

Writing Songs To Be Heard In Cars

I want to write the sort of songs you hear on a car radio.

“I want to write lyrics that no one notices but they find themselves singing over a few days later without remembering where they heard them.” Leonard Cohen 1968

Hilux TV Commercial With Leonard Cohen Soundtrack

hiluxHilux “Good Chat” TV Ad Features Leonard Cohen’s You Got Me Singing

About Those Limousines Waiting In The Street

Leonard Cohen Explains Why There Are Two Limos In Chelsea Hotel #2

How A Poet-Singer-Songwriter-Icon Chooses Car Radio Stations

Leonard Cohen’s Formula For Choosing Car Radio Stations

Credit Due Department:  Volvo photo by AlfvanBeem – Own work, CC0, via Wikipedia Commons. Ford photo by I, Lglswe, CC BY-SA 3.0,via Wikipedia Commons.

Cars Of Leonard Cohen: Tour Trucks

Cars Of Leonard Cohen

is a series of posts about actual automobiles owned by or associated with Leonard Cohen, metaphorical cars he employed in his songs, and his thoughts about cars. All posts in this series are collected at as they go online.

Keep On Truckin’

It’s a short trip from Leonard Cohen’s tour busses to his tour trucks. We have some impressive photos, but first, a Leonard Cohen truck story.

The Austin Hayride

The narrator is Susan Musmanno, one of the 1970 backup singers for Leonard Cohen that year. “Bubba” is Elkin Fowler, guitarist in the Tour band.

So Hartford was my first Leonard Cohen concert. I don’t remember it as vividly as the next concert, which was in Austin. Since we didn’t have a road manager for the first couple of concerts, Bubba was asked by Bob [Johnston] to take on certain responsibilities, such as limos, transportation, etc. Bob, being a Texan, wanted to give Leonard a big, Texas-style welcome. So, through a friend at University of Texas in Austin, Bubba lined up a flatbed truck with hay, cornstalks, etc., and that’s how we all rode from the airport to the hotel, all of us sitting on bales of hay.1

Martyn Lloyd shot photos and identified the trucks used on the 2013 Leonard Cohen Old Ideas Tour when they were at Motorpoint Arena, Cardiff, Wales for the Sept 3, 2013 show (the day the photos were taken).

Leonard Cohen 2013 Old Ideas Tour: 2013 Stardes Tour Truck R15 STA
Photo atop post

Stardes DAF XF 105.510 Super Space Cab tour truck, reg. no. R15 STA, at the Motorpoint Arena, Cardiff. The truck was one of six at the venue for the Leonard Cohen ‘Old Ideas’ Tour 2013

Leonard Cohen 2013 Old Ideas Tour: Stardes Tour Truck R60 STA

Stardes DAF XF 105.460 Super Space Cab tour truck, reg. no. R60 STA (Blue Peter), at the Motorpoint Arena, Cardiff. The truck was one of six at the venue for the Leonard Cohen ‘Old Ideas’ Tour 2013. This truck has previously been to the Motorpoint Arena with The Wanted in 2012 and The Script in 2011.

Leonard Cohen 2013 Old Ideas Tour: Rock ‘n Roll Trucking Tour Truck PE RR 124

Rock ‘n Roll Trucking DAF XF 105.410 Super Space Cab tour truck, reg. no. PE RR 124, at the Motorpoint Arena, Cardiff. The truck was one of six at the venue for the Leonard Cohen ‘Old Ideas’ Tour 2013.

Leonard Cohen 2013 Old Ideas Tour Trucks

Group of four Stardes/Rock ‘n Roll Trucking tour trucks at the Motorpoint Arena, Cardiff. There were six trucks in total at the venue for the Leonard Cohen ‘Old Ideas’ Tour 2013.

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  1. The Picaresque 1970 Leonard Cohen Tour – A Firsthand Account – Cohencentric []

Cars Of Leonard Cohen: Came So Far On Busses

Bus from Lucca to Hamburg (2013) – Photo by Szilvia Szanto

Cars Of Leonard Cohen

is a series of posts about actual automobiles owned by or associated with Leonard Cohen, metaphorical cars he employed in his songs, and his thoughts about cars. All posts in this series are collected at as they go online.

I see you in the subway and I see you on the bus

From Ain’t No Cure For Love By Leonard Cohen

Photo by Szilvia Szanto

As we saw in the last Cars Of Leonard Cohen post, Leonard Cohen certainly rode in and shared his limousines. But, he more often shared trips in full sized busses, airport/hotel shuttles, and similar vehicles.

In 2010, for example, he arrived at Lissadell House in a mini-bus.

Walsh described the natural grace and humility of the man who had arrived at Lissadell on the morning of the first concert, July 31st, 2010, in a 20-seater mini-bus. “No airs, no arrogance, just a desire to please his ‘friends’, that’s how he referred to his fans, as his friends.” I’d always been a fan of his music. But even so, he was a huge figure, so I had been expected him to pull up in a limousine. But no, Leonard Cohen was not like that. ‘What this?’ I wondered as a white bus arrived. ‘Where’s Leonard Cohen?’. He was in the bus. He was so thrilled to be at a place he associated with Yeats.”1

Leonard Cohen & Emily Bindiger on tour bus – 1974

“Traveling with Leonard, there’s a quiet, monastic tone to the whole thing. You’re just respectful of his space and his sense of contemplation. He would carry his own guitar; sit in the front of the bus…” Sharon Robinson2

The Glamorous Life Of Musicians On Tour: The tour road manager, Sid McGinnis, and Leonard Cohen pictured after the tour bus broke down on the Autobahn in 1976.

Photo property of John Miller

You’ll find Mr Cohen playing a support role in Dino Soldo’s Travel Day for Leonard Cohen Band (10/14/2009).

Leonard Cohen worked on songs and poems on busses, as noted in this excerpt from Various Positions by Ira Nadel.

And Leonard even wrote a poem called The Bus.

The Bus
From Flowers for Hitler By Leonard Cohen

I was the last passenger of the day,
I was alone on the bus,
I was glad they were spending all that money
just getting me up Eighth Avenue.
Driver! I shouted, it’s you and me tonight,
let’s run away from this big city
to a smaller city more suitable to the heart,
let’s drive past the swimming pools of Miami Beach,
you in the driver’s seat, me several seats back,
but in the racial cities we’ll change places
so as to show how well you’ve done up North,
and let us find ourselves some tiny American fishing village
in unknown Florida
and park right at the edge of the sand,
a huge bus pointing out,
metallic, painted, solitary,
with New York plates.

Travel Day London to Kingston – Photo by J.S. Carenza III

The big finish for this post is this Tour Bus excerpt from The Song of Leonard Cohen by Harry Rasky, featuring not only Leonard Cohen but also Joshu Sasaki Roshi, Sharon Robinson, Jennifer Warnes, John Bilezikjian, Roscoe Beck, and Steve Meador. (Thanks to Tom Sakic, who uploaded this video to YouTube.)


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  1. Leonard Cohen’s Yeats pilgrimage: how the singer was drawn to Lissadell by Eileen Battersby. Irish Times: Nov 12, 2016. []
  2. ‘He Called Me His Dharma Sister’ by Sharon Robinson. Texture []

Cars Of Leonard Cohen: The (Nonmetaphorical) Limousines Wait In The Street

Cars Of Leonard Cohen

is a series of posts about actual automobiles owned by or associated with Leonard Cohen, metaphorical cars he employed in his songs, and his thoughts about cars. All posts in this series are collected at as they go online.

Not All Of Leonard Cohen’s Limousines Were At The Chelsea Hotel

Limousines were a routine, albeit not inevitable, mode of transport for Leonard Cohen – at least when things were going well commercially.

quoteup2
People [Columbia Records] have been very kind. My phone calls are rapidly answered. Limousines receive me at the airport. There are flowers in my hotel. So I know something’s going on, and it’s quite agreeable.1quotedown2

Leonard Cohen

 

And, another example from 1971:

Bob Johnston, friend, producer, and keyboards, and Ron Cornelius, guitar and moustache for the Army, wandered in to tell of the arrival of the limousines.2

And Leonard made Harvey Kubernik’s first limo ride a memorable one:3

This image atop this post and the animated gif below are from the documentary film, Songs From The Life Of Leonard Cohen (1988). The animation shows Leonard in the limo, sliding the window down to peer out at the poster for his own July 6, 1988 Carnegie Hall Concert.

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  1. Leonard Cohen at Home in 1992: Singer-Songwriter on Pop Success, New Love by David Browne  (Rolling Stone: November 11, 2016) []
  2. Ladies and Gents, Leonard Cohen by Jack Hafferkamp (Rolling Stone: Feb 4, 1971) []
  3. Leonard Cohen: A Remarkable Life by Anthony Reynolds. (Omnibus Press: Oct 1, 2010) []

“This old car isn’t leaving the garage again” Leonard Cohen Says Goodbye To Philip Glass


quoteup2
Leonard Cohen. I knew him for many years. The last time I spoke to him I asked him when he was next coming to New York. I hadn’t seen him in a while. He said: ‘This old car isn’t leaving the garage again.’ At the time I didn’t really understand him. I think he was really saying goodbye. I never saw him again. He died about a week laterquotedown2

Philip Glass

 

Philip Glass: “I knew many great people. So many of them are gone now” by Jane Graham The Big Issue: Feb 6, 2018

Also see Video: Philip Glass on Working with Leonard Cohen

Cars Of Leonard Cohen: Poets In Cars Getting Lost

is a series of posts about actual automobiles owned by or associated with Leonard Cohen, metaphorical cars he employed in his songs, and his thoughts about cars. All posts in this series are collected at as they go online.

Irving Layton & Leonard Cohen Drive To Toronto

[Irving] Layton frequently brought Cohen along on reading or promotional tours [in the 1950s]. On one of their frequent car trips to Toronto, they became so engrossed in talking about poetry that they didn’t notice they were running out of gas. Fortunately, they were not far from a farmhouse, where they found help. Several years later they were again driving to Toronto and again ran out of gas. Uncannily, it was in front of the same farmhouse. They sheepishly told their story to the woman in the farmhouse who remembered them from years past. She summed up the entire episode with one word: “Poets!”

Excerpted from Various Positions: A Life of Leonard Cohen by Ira B. Nadel

Cars Of Leonard Cohen: Leonard’s Car Talk – Homogenization By Car

Leonard Cohen On Homogenization By Car

Video automatically begins at the pertinent section

Cars Of Leonard Cohen

is a series of posts about actual automobiles owned by or associated with Leonard Cohen, metaphorical cars he employed in his songs, and his thoughts about cars. All posts in this series are collected at as they go online.

The Cars Of Leonard Cohen: «Autophonie» au MAC – 1963 Chevrolet Impala

Cars Of Leonard Cohen

is a series of posts about actual automobiles owned by or associated with Leonard Cohen, metaphorical cars he employed in his songs, and his thoughts about cars. All posts in this series are collected at as they go online.

MAC’s Leonard Cohen Autophonie Exhibit: 1963 Chevrolet Impala

The MAC’s ongoing Leonard Cohen exhibit will, according to «Autophonie» au MAC, ambiance sonore inspirée de Leonard Cohen by Ismaël Houdassine (HuffPost: March 13, 2018) via Google Translate  include a 1963 Chevrolet Impala1 listening station:

Autophonie is illustrated by two original proposals. The first, a telephone booth transformed into a recording studio, is installed inside the museum. Visitors are invited to enter to pick up the receiver to reveal a memory or testimony related to Cohen, who died in November 2016. The other, located outside the walls, is a Chevrolet Impala 1963 car with the function of listening station. Indeed, sitting on the seat of the vehicle, one can choose the stations on the radio which captures the rhythms coming from the telephone booth.

DrHGuy Note: It’s worth noting that Leonard liked to use his car as a listening station as well. See The Cars Of Leonard Cohen: 1990(ish) Honda Sedan & Screening Studio

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  1. Note: the Impala pictured atop this post is representative only; it is not the Impala used by the MAC []