On With The Show
Leonard Cohen’s concert in Lille, France generated outstanding photos, videos, and reviews.
Because time also is a degree in the estimation of love
The quotation is part of Leonard Cohen’s discussion of the nature of the his relationship with Janis Joplin portrayed in his song, “Chelsea Hotel #2.” The interview is found in “The Song Of Leonard Cohen” by Harry Rasky (1979).
That key line from the final version of Chelsea Hotel, “I don’t mean to suggest that I loved you the best,” and, indeed, the entire final verse on which the sense of the song turns, is absent from Chelsea Hotel #1.
I don’t mean to suggest that I loved you the best,
I can’t keep track of each fallen robin.
I remember you well in the Chelsea Hotel,
that’s all, I don’t even think of you that often.
In contradistinction to the confession, “I don’t even think of you that often,” the final verse of Chelsea Hotel #1, as it was played by Cohen in Tel Aviv in 1972,1 is a reluctant leave-taking:
Making your sweet little sound, I can hear you now
So, into the jukebox [?], choose your records
Listen all night now
Making your sweet little sound, baby,
Making your sweet little sound on the jukebox.
Guess I got nothing more to say to you, baby
I mean – so long, gotta leave you,
This is in keeping with my contention, previously presented at Video: Leonard Cohen’s Elegy For Janis Joplin – Chelsea Hotel #1 (Tel Aviv 1972), that Chelsea Hotel #1 is thematically a much different song than Chelsea Hotel #2:
Chelsea Hotel #1 focuses on the death of the singer’s (i.e., Leonard Cohen’s) lover (i.e., Janis Joplin), with whom the singer identifies primarily as an admired fellow artist and colleague and only secondarily as an object of affection or, at least, of reciprocated lust. In Chelsea Hotel #2, the situation is reversed with the key issue becoming the singer’s unambiguous examination of his own feelings for and perception of the woman at the Chelsea Hotel – even if doing so results in an ignoble self-characterization.
Chelsea Hotel #2, in fact, aligns well with other Leonard Cohen songs that mark the end of a romance, such as So Long, Marianne and Hey, That’s No Way To Say Goodbye, with unflinching observations on the psychological factors causing him to flee the relationship.
But in comparing Chelsea Hotel #1 and Chelsea Hotel #2, the kicker is that Cohen is kinder to and much more sentimental about the Janis Joplin of Chelsea Hotel #1, a singer “making a sweet little sound,” than he is to the Janis Joplin of Chelsea Hotel #2, a lover who affectionately jokes with Cohen (“You told me again you preferred handsome men/but for me you would make an exception”). He is also – and, not incidentally – far less protective of himself in the second version.
Leonard Cohen On Chelsea Hotel #2 (1979)
Uploaded by messalina79
The video of Chelsea Hotel #1 and an earlier discussion of the differences between the two versions of Leonard Cohen’s Chelsea Hotel song can be found at Video: Leonard Cohen’s Elegy For Janis Joplin – Chelsea Hotel #1 (Tel Aviv 1972)
Photo of Janis Joplin by Columbia Records (Billboard page 5) [Public domain], via Wikimedia Commons. Photo of Leonard Cohen by Peter Brosseau/Library and Archives Canada/PA-170174. Originally posted Aug 16, 2011 at 1HeckOfAGuy.com, a predecessor of Cohencentric
“Noise infiltrates the divine realm of music. Dreaded feedback rears its ugly head… Science has gone bad. The computers have betrayed us. There is no justice at the Xerox headquarters…”
As far as I can determine, no recording of the Nov 4, 1980 Leonard Cohen concert at the Beethovenhalle in Bonn, Germany has been available online – until now. A tape of one hour of the show has emerged, thanks to the generosity of a friend from Bonn, who recorded this song and 11 others with the permission of Leonard Cohen and his sound engineer. (The other songs will be posted soon; all recordings from this show are collected at.)
This (audio-only) video opens with Leonard taking notice of “dreaded feedback” from the microphone and extemporizing on the subject before breaking into Chelsea Hotel #2.
Why are there two limos [in Chelsea Hotel #2]?
One for each of us. We’re both waiting to leave. We’re both killing time or something.
From Having Lunch With Leonard Cohen by Jon Wilde, Sabotage Times. Dec 3, 2015 (the quote itself is taken from a 1988 interview).
Leonard Cohen Talks About, Performs Chelsea Hotel #2
From Song Of Leonard Cohen by Harry Rasky
Video from messalina79
Note: Originally posted September 2, 2014 at DrHGuy.com, a predecessor of Cohencentric
The last line seems like a slap in the face: ‘I remember you well at the Chelsea Hotel / That’s all. I don’t think of you that often.’
I don’t know why the truth compelled me to be so ungraceful or ungracious or even ungrateful in that final moment, but I guess that is the way it came out. I didn’t want it to be just one of those elegies; I thought it deserved the truth.
Note: This comment by Leonard Cohen supports the contention that, thematically, the earlier versions of Chelsea Hotel (aka Chelsea Hotel #1) is elegiac while Chelsea Hotel #2 focuses on Leonard’s own feelings for and perception of the woman at the Chelsea Hotel – even if doing so results in an ignoble self-characterization. See Video: Leonard Cohen’s Elegy For Janis Joplin – Chelsea Hotel #1 (Tel Aviv 1972)
Update: For more discussion of the significance of the differences between Chelsea Hotel #1 and Chelsea Hotel #2, including a video interview with Leonard Cohen addressing his relationship with Janis Joplin as portrayed in the songs, see “I don’t mean to suggest that I loved you the best” Leonard Cohen Talks About That Line From Chelsea Hotel #2.
From Sincerely, L. Cohen by Brian Cullman (Details for Men, January, 1993). Photo of Janis Joplin by Columbia Records (Billboard page 5) [Public domain], via Wikimedia Commons. Photo of Leonard Cohen by Peter Brosseau/Library and Archives Canada/PA-170174. Originally posted October 17, 2014 at DrHGuy.com, a predecessor of Cohencentric