Joan of Arc’s Death at the Stake by Hermann Stilke (1843)
With all the obvious consequences, it was clear that her genius was already formed and just waiting to manifest. She was fully formed: uneducated, uninformed, uninstructed. Fully formed and unneeding of any kind of influences. So she was able to pick her influences, as I understand. I am happy to have been one in whatever capacity it was. It was clear that she could pick and choose, and that there was no learning curve. The songs were complete! ‘Both Sides, Now,’ ‘The Circle Game,’ complete. Her beauty was so compelling, she certainly existed as a figure in my heart. I think that Joni was in ‘Joan of Arc.’
From Reckless Daughter: A Portrait of Joni Mitchell by David Yaffe. Sarah Crichton Books (October 17, 2017)
Note: Information about the Leonard Cohen – Joni Mitchell romantic relationship can be found at Leonard Cohen and Joni Mitchell – Just One Of Those Things …
Leonard Cohen on Joan Of Arc:
It is just a song about the total gift of total giving and the total consummation of the spirit in that kind of experience. It takes in the whole shot to be man and woman.1
For more about the background of Leonard Cohen’s Joan Of Arc is available at About Those Songs On Leonard Cohen’s Can’t Forget Album: Joan of Arc.
Other Leonard Cohen performances of Joan Of Arc featuring various backup singers are available at Joan of Arc – The Concert Performances.
Leonard Cohen – Joan Of Arc
Bonn: Nov 4, 1980
The 1980 Leonard Cohen Bonn Concert Recording
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 from this concert have been posted or will be posted soon; all recordings from this show are collected at.)
The supporting musicians for the 1980 Tour follow:
- Sharon Robinson – vocals
- Roscoe Beck – bass guitar
- John Bilezikjian – oud, mandolin
- Bill Ginn – keyboards
- Raffi Hakopian – violin
- Steve Meador – drums
- Paul Ostermayer – wind
- Mitch Watkins – electric guitar
Credit Due Department: Photo of Leonard Cohen and Sharon Robinson by Pete Purnell.
- Cohen Regrets by Alastair Pirrie. Beat Patrol: December 30, 2008. Originally written for the New Musical Express: March 10, 1973. [↩]
On her debut album “secrets” Allison Crowe included this Leonard Cohen song cover. Her vocals are accompanied by Jo Lundstrom (Rosehip Jam, Black Velvet Band) on accordion and Allison herself on piano. Crowe engineered the recording, with production by Rainer Willeke (of Victoria, BC’s Raindog Studios).
The video image of Allison Crowe is by Canada’s Billie Woods.
MOJO magazine’s December ’08 issue paid tribute to “Rock’s Greatest Poet” Leonard Cohen with a celebration of his “deep and moving music”. Of Allison Crowe’s contribution of “Joan of Arc” to its ‘All Star Tribute”, (featuring Judy Collins, Nick Cave, Katie Melua, Martha Wainwright, Dion and others), a cover-mount CD titled “Cohen Covered”, MOJO says: “Once famously described by the Vancouver Courier as possessing a style akin to ‘Elton John meets Edith Piaf’, the Canadian singer-songwriter Allison Crowe is renowned for her ability to blend control and melodrama. Certainly she does so on this spirited cover of Cohen’s ‘Songs of Love and Hate’ classic, a track which also powerfully showcases her considerable talent as a fine interpreter of song.”
“Any album that features a track from Leonard Cohen is certainly heading in the right direction. But when it is covered so beautifully, it makes you realise what an amazing lyricist Leonard Cohen is. Joan of Arc is the Cohen song covered on this album and it’s certainly in my top 10 of Cohen covers. It’s also my favorite track on (Secrets)” ~ Colin Meeks, indielaunchpad.com (USA)
Joan of Arc performed by Allison Crowe
Words & Music by Leonard Cohen
Note: Originally posted at DrHGuy.com, a predecessor of Cohencentric
[Joan of Arc] was a strange song indeed; it was out of myself and contained the notion of reverence. When I recorded that song I will admit to having a strong religious feeling. I don’t think it’ll happen again.
Cohen Regrets (1973) by Alastair Pirrie. Beat Patrol: December 30, 2008. [Originally written for the New Musical Express: March 10, 1973.] Originally posted Nov 13, 2013 at DrHGuy.com, a predecessor of Cohencentric
Interviewer: I had an impassioned argument with a woman who said that Joan Of Arc was a sexist song.
It might be but I think it is on the side of women. But more accurately I think it is just a song about the total gift of total giving and the total consummation of the spirit in that kind of experience. It takes in the whole shot to be man and woman.
From Pacifica Interview with Kathleen Kendall. WBAI Radio, New York City: December 4, 1974. Note: Originally posted Dec 15, 2014 at DrHGuy.com, a predecessor of Cohencentric
That’s what it’s all about. It says that none of this – you’re not going to be able to work this thing out – you’re not going to be able to set – this realm does not admit to revolution – there’s no solution to this mess. The only moment that you can live here comfortably in these absolutely irreconcilable conflicts is in this moment when you embrace it all and you say ‘Look, I don’t understand a fucking thing at all – Hallelujah! That’s the only moment that we live here fully as human beings.
The following description is from Leonard Cohen talks to RTÉ in 1988 at the RTE site:
From the RTÉ archives: Kildare-born novelist, short story writer, playwright, essayist and former RTÉ radio producer John MacKenna made two feature programmes in the RTÉ Radio Centre with Leonard Cohen in 1988, entitled ‘How the Heart Approaches What it Yearns’. Together, they offer a remarkable insight to Cohen’s life and work. Below, you can listen to them both in full. (From Leonard Cohen talks to RTÉ in 1988)
Note: A transcript of this broadcast is available at Transcript: 1988 RTE (LeonardCohenFiles)
The first programme ‘How the Heart Approaches What it Yearns’ is entitled ‘Isaac to Joan of Arc’ in which Cohen discusses his interest in and attitude to heroic figures in history. (From Leonard Cohen talks to RTÉ in 1988)
Programme 2 is entitled ‘If I Have Been Untrue’ and considers songs about people in the street. (From Leonard Cohen talks to RTÉ in 1988)