Sharon Weisz Talks About Her Photo Of Leonard Cohen Eating A Banana That Became The I’m Your Man Cover Art

im-your-man-5092c4f9f06bd

 

Q: Why did he eat a banana?
Sharon Weisz: I guess he was hungry.

 

How did you meet Leonard Cohen?

Sharon Weisz: I met Leonard Cohen in 1986 when I was hired to market Jennifer Warnes’ Famous Blue Raincoat album, which was an album of Leonard Cohen songs.

Do you remember your first meeting?

Sharon Weisz: I had planned a filmed interview with Entertainment Tonight for Jennifer Warnes, and the producer asked if Leonard could also participate, which he agreed to do. Jennifer decided that the interview should take place in a recording studio in the San Fernando Valley where she had taken Leonard. I met them at the studio and it was the first time I met Leonard in person. I had spoken to her several times over the phone and we had noticed that we lived very close to each other. Therefore, at the end of the interview, Jennifer asked me to bring Leonard home. My first meeting with Leonard was in my car on Highway 405 during rush hour for over an hour.

Where was the photograph taken from the album cover?

Sharon Weisz: Jennifer Warnes’ record company had decided to make a video clip for her version of First We Take Manhattan. The location was the former assembly plant of Ford Motor Company in Los Angeles. It is a gigantic building on the water that has been used for many film and television shootings. The upper floor where cars were once assembled has large floor-to-ceiling windows that provide natural light, and there is a lift at the bottom large enough to accommodate a car. I was at the other end of the room taking pictures of the video shoot when I saw the elevator door open. Leonard emerged and began to walk slowly to where the shoot was taking place. I noticed that he was peeling a banana while walking and when it appeared fully, I turned and took a picture with the banana and went back to what I was doing.

DrHGuy Note: The Jennifer Warnes video referenced by Sharon Weisz can be viewed below.

Why did he eat a banana?

Sharon Weisz: I guess he was hungry. The road had been long …

It was an easy “session”?

Sharon Weisz: People are shocked when they discover that it was not a “session” at all. In fact, it was only an image. The rest of the pictures I took that day were from Jennifer or Jennifer and Leonard during the shoot. When I had the contact board, I laughed when I saw Leonard’s picture with the banana. I ordered an 8×10 print and sent it with a note explaining that I thought he would like this particular photo. He phoned me about a week later to ask if it would bother me  to put it on the front of his album. He later named it my most famous photograph. I think he was right.

Also see Leonard Cohen answers “Why do you have a banana in your hand on [I’m Your Man]?”

From [1988 – 2018] Everybody knows Leonard Cohen (Soul Kitchen: Aug 21, 2018). Via Google Translate.

“The song that is going to survive in this landscape today has got to have a certain kind of power, of strength. You don’t put your philosopher at the head of the army.” Leonard Cohen On The Strategic Position Of I’m Your Man

im-your-man-5092c4f9f06bd

What’s great about the best folk and country music is the clarity, the removal of anything extraneous from the point. And listening to I’m Your Man, I hear that in your own writing again, those succinct narrative and musical qualities.

quoteup2
That’s what I’ve been working on for the last few years. I think The Book of Mercy was the final statement of the mystical, religious being. I don’t have to talk about religion anymore – it’s gone underground. I don’t think popular music is a good place to explore a lot of those ideas. The song that is going to survive in this landscape today has got to have a certain kind of power, of strength. You don’t put your philosopher at the head of the army. This is a time for a very strategic position – to the marketplace, and to the whole psychic landscape. Muscle is indicated, a kind of phalanx. A lot of other things have to be put behind the front line. If your heart has really been threatened with cynicism – one’s own, I’m talking about, not CBS’, [laughter] with the greed, the skepticism, the general devaluation of all spiritual currency that faces us today, a position has to be taken that is appropriate in the face of this real assault.quotedown2

Leonard Cohen

 

Leonard Cohen’s Nervous Breakthrough by Mark Rowland, Musician, July 1988.

“The true position is not a Sunday School position. It is not the platform you thought you had developed to present yourself as the guy you want people to know about. But the thing is, it is the way a guy feels when he’s trying to get a girl back.” Leonard Cohen

 

It sounds like this album [I’m Your Man] was like your personal psychologist, where you go in and say, ‘This is what I’m feeling,’ and the therapist says okay but keep talking, and ultimately, you discover that your real feelings are completely the opposite.

quoteup2
Right, right. The true position is not a Sunday School position. It is not the platform you thought you had developed to present yourself as the guy you want people to know about. But the thing is, it is the way a guy feels when he’s trying to get a girl back. [laughter]quotedown2

Leonard Cohen

 

From Leonard Cohen’s Nervous Breakthrough by Mark Rowland. Musician, July 1988.

“I never fell in love till I was a man of 52. And this new album is for her.” Leonard Cohen On Dedicating I’m Your Man Album To Dominique Issermann

“All These Songs Are For You, D.I.”

My Long-Overdue Love Letter to Leonard Cohen by Elizabeth Boleman-Herring (Huffington Post: July 2, 2012). The quotation is from a June 18, 1988 interview. The Dancing Couple Dedication image was contributed by Dominique BOILE

Leonard Cohen Identifies Himself As “One Of The First Punks,” Tells Bovine Sex Joke, Talks About Roshi, Nick Cave, Jennifer Warnes, Dominique Issermann, & More – 1988 Video Interview

Topics Covered In Interview With Christian Eckert (Munich 1988):

  • Leonard Cohen’s I’m Your Man album
  • Post-Modernist Disco
  • Leonard as one of earliest Punk Rockers
  • His young bull/old bull joke
  • Book of Mercy
  • “I don’t have time to think about politics”
  • How Jennifer Warnes’ Famous Blue Raincoat rehabilitated him
  • Leonard’s attitude covers of his work
  • Nick Cave rescuing his song “to let it fall apart again”
  • His computer
  • Living in a Portuguese section of Montreal\
  • Roshi
  • Gap between public and private life
  • Critics being on trial
  • Concerns about next tour
  • Dominique Issermann’s direction of First We Take Manhattan video

View video on YouTube

Leonard Cohen’s I’m Your Man Album On MiniDisc – Austria

Leonard Cohen’s music, increasingly relevant to our time, has been stored on and delivered by several once-modern media technologies no longer in common use. The popularity of recent posts on Leonard Cohen albums in Reel-To-Reel format has prompted a consideration of other obsolete media.

Note: For the record (chortle), my personal favorite obsolete media for Leonard’s songs is the flexi-disc: The Leonard Cohen Flexi-Disc: It’s A Record, It’s A Postcard, It’s Two Obsolete Technologies In One

Today, Dominique BOILE offers these images of the “I’m Your Man” album on MiniDisc. (Columbia: Manufactured in Austria)

Not sure what a MiniDisc is? See MiniDisc:1992-2013

Five Cohen albums were issued on MiniDisc:

  1. Leonard Cohen’s Greatest Hits (also issued as Best Of Leonard Cohen)
  2. I’m Your Man
  3. Cohen Live
  4. The Future
  5. More Best Of Leonard Cohen

Other posted Leonard Cohen MiniDisc albums are collected at MiniDisc

Note: Originally posted Feb 3, 2014 at DrHGuy.com, a predecessor of Cohencentric

“I assumed it was a mashup of Synclavier-era Frank Zappa with Leonard Cohen singing on top” Artists Talk About Leonard Cohen’s I’m Your Man Album

Leonard Cohen’s ‘I’m Your Man’ Album Turns 30: Artists Reflect on the ‘Dark,’ ‘Cheesy’ Masterpiece by Ron Hart (Billboard: Feb 2, 2018). I’ve excerpted one sample below, but the entire article is a worthwhile read and is available at the link.

Eric Slick, Dr. Dog

My friend Dave Dreiwitz (Ween) played I’m Your Man for me on a long drive through New Hope, PA. I thought it sounded wild. I had never heard his earlier acoustic stuff so I just assumed he was making songs like that all along. I recently heard “Jazz Police” at a thrift store and I assumed it was a mashup of Synclavier-era Frank Zappa with Leonard Cohen singing on top. I guess I forgot what “Jazz Police” really sounded like. I chortled for the entirety of that song. What a great tune. I think Leonard Cohen is kind of like Captain Beefheart or Laurie Anderson. As artists we almost look to them to ask, “Is it okay to make a record that sounds like this?” They’re the trailblazers, they pave the way. They allow the lesser artists to potentially make safer, albeit more financially successful records. Those lesser records carry the influence and help popularize the germ of the idea. I also have a low singing voice, so Leonard gives me hope that maybe one day somebody will write a thinkpiece about how low singing is under-appreciated. I look through Leonard’s work all the time and try to pay attention to the annotated Genius lyrics. It’s good to get into the rhythm of other people’s lyrics when you’re writing. I’ve also been thinking about I’m Your Man lately, and how i’m gonna steal a lot of those cheesy production techniques for my next record. I’m also a painfully slow writer, as was Leonard. I’m also Jewish. There’s so much we have in common, except he’s a brilliant poet, and I’m some doofus writing about how much I admire him as a fanatic. Can someone tell me where he was buying his suits, though? That’s the real burning question.