“Etude Op. 10, No. 1” By Chopin Is On Leonard Cohen’s Jukebox

jukebox700Note: Originally posted April 12, 2013 at 1HeckOfAGuy.com, a predecessor of Cohencentric

The Original Leonard Cohen’s Jukebox

Biggest Influence on My Music – The jukebox. I lived beside jukeboxes all through the fifties. … I never knew who was singing. I never followed things that way. I still don’t. I wasn’t a student of music; I was a student of the restaurant I was in — and the waitresses. The music was a part of it. I knew what number the song was.

– Leonard Cohen (Yakety Yak by Scott Cohen, 1994)

Leonard Cohen’s Jukebox: Over the years, Leonard Cohen has mentioned a number of specific songs he favors. Leonard Cohen’s Jukebox is a Cohencentric feature that began collecting these tunes for the edification and entertainment of viewers on April 4, 2009. All posts in the Leonard Cohen’s Jukebox series can be found at The Original Leonard Cohen’s Jukebox Page.
etude

Chopin Breaks Into Leonard Cohen’s Top Ten

The fourth entry on Leonard Cohen’s Top Ten Songs of 1988, a listing found in “Leonard Cohen – In Eigenen Worten” (In His Own Words) by Jim Devlin, is Chopin’s “Etude Op.10 No. 1 in C.”

The description of this piece offered by Wikipedia follows:

Étude Op. 10, No.1 in C major, composed by Frédéric Chopin, is a technical study in reach and arpeggios for the piano. It also focuses on stretching the fingers. Sometimes it is known as the “Waterfall” étude. It was composed in 1829, and first published in 1833, in France, Germany, and England. In a prefatory note to the 1916 Schirmer edition the American music critic James Huneker (1857–1921) compared the “hypnotic charm” that these “dizzy acclivities and descents exercise for eye as well as ear” to the frightening staircases in Giovanni Battista Piranesi’s prints of the Carceri d’invenzione.

After viewing a performance of this piece, I concur with the “dizzy acclivities and descents exercise for eye as well as ear” part. Watch this.

Chopin’s Etude Op10 No.1 Performed By Valentina Lisitsa
Video from ValentinaLisitsa

Credit Due Department: Florian earns a tip of the Cohencentric fedora for submitting the reference from “Leonard Cohen – In Eigenen Worten” (In His Own Words) by Jim Devlin, which includes Leonard Cohen’s Top Ten songs of 1988.1

Note: Originally posted June 9, 2010 at 1HeckOfAGuy.com, a predecessor of Cohencentric

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  1. Of the several members of LeonardCohenForum who responded to my request for help in finding instances of Leonard Cohen favoring a specific song performed by a specific artist, Florian was far and away the most prolific. []

KD Lang’s Cover Of “Hallelujah” Is On Leonard Cohen’s Jukebox

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Note: Originally posted May 13, 2012 at 1HeckOfAGuy.com, a predecessor of Cohencentric

Leonard Cohen’s Jukebox

Biggest Influence on My Music – The jukebox. I lived beside jukeboxes all through the fifties. … I never knew who was singing. I never followed things that way. I still don’t. I wasn’t a student of music; I was a student of the restaurant I was in — and the waitresses. The music was a part of it. I knew what number the song was.

– Leonard Cohen (Yakety Yak by Scott Cohen, 1994)

Leonard Cohen’s Jukebox: Over the years, Leonard Cohen has mentioned a number of specific songs he favors. Leonard Cohen’s Jukebox is a Cohencentric feature that began collecting these tunes for the edification and entertainment of viewers on April 4, 2009. All posts in the Leonard Cohen’s Jukebox series can be found at The Original Leonard Cohen’s Jukebox Page.

“[Hallelujah] really been done to its ultimate blissful state of perfection”

kd

In the case of this song, the evidence of Leonard Cohen’s approbation comes from his long-time backup singer and partner, Anjani Thomas:

After hearing KD Lang perform that song at the Canadian Songwriter’s Hall of Fame in 2006 we looked at each other and said, “Well, I think we can lay that song to rest now! It’s really been done to its ultimate blissful state of perfection.”1

KD Lang – Hallelujah
2006 Canadian Songwriter’s Hall of Fame

Credit Due Department: Photo of KD Lang by Charlie Llewellin from Austin, USA – kd lang, CC BY-SA 2.0, https://commons.wikimedia.org/w/index.php?curid=15062259

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  1. Anjani Thomas: “Sometimes You Just Get Very Lucky!” by Alan Pedder (Wears the Trousers Magazine. 8 July 2008) []

"Your Cheatin’ Heart" By Hank Williams Is On Leonard Cohen’s Jukebox

jukebox700

Note: Originally posted May 13, 2009 at 1HeckOfAGuy.com, a predecessor of Cohencentric

Leonard Cohen’s Jukebox

Biggest Influence on My Music – The jukebox. I lived beside jukeboxes all through the fifties. … I never knew who was singing. I never followed things that way. I still don’t. I wasn’t a student of music; I was a student of the restaurant I was in — and the waitresses. The music was a part of it. I knew what number the song was.

– Leonard Cohen (Yakety Yak by Scott Cohen, 1994)

Leonard Cohen’s Jukebox: Over the years, Leonard Cohen has mentioned a number of specific songs he favors. Leonard Cohen’s Jukebox is a Cohencentric feature that began collecting these tunes for the edification and entertainment of viewers on April 4, 2009. All posts in the Leonard Cohen’s Jukebox series can be found at The Original Leonard Cohen’s Jukebox Page.

Hank Williams & Leonard Cohen In The Same Neighborhood

HankWilliams1951concert

I suspect that most viewers drawn to read a post titled “Your Cheatin’ Heart” Is On Leonard Cohen’s Jukebox already know of Cohen’s respect for Hank Williams, that song’s author and Cohen’s cohabitant in “The Tower Of Song.”

I said to Hank Williams: how lonely does it get?
Hank Williams hasn’t answered yet
But I hear him coughing all night long
A hundred floors above me
In the Tower of Song

– From “Tower Of Song” by Leonard Cohen

The problem is that the Cohencentric’s Leonard Cohen’s Jukebox feature is song-specific by nature. That Cohen has repeatedly spoken positively of Hank Williams is all well and good, but for the purposes of this post, it would have been far more helpful had Cohen commented, for example, “If I had a jukebox, it would certainly have ‘Jambalaya’ on it” or “I just heard ‘I’m So Lonesome I Could Cry,’ and I dig it the most.”

Happily, Cohen has indicated, albeit indirectly, his admiration for the Hank Williams masterpiece, “Your Cheatin’ Heart.” In the following excerpt from A Teacher of the Heart: Leonard Cohen Shares the Wealth,  Leonard Cohen begins by explaining an apparent incongruity noted by the interviewer, Pat McGuire, about in his (Cohen’s) evaluation of his own poetry, segues into the contrasting prose-writing habits of Thomas Wolfe (throwing in Wolfe’s word per night rate and his use of kitchen appliances for a writing desk) and Flaubert, and neatly concludes with his longing to be as speedy a song writer as Hank Williams.1

[Pat McGuire] Let Us Compare Mythologies is being reissued. How do you feel about your first book of poetry?

[Leonard Cohen] It’s been downhill ever since. There are some really good poems in that little book.

[Pat McGuire] But you’ve said, “Last thought, best thought.” Is that a contradiction?

[Leonard Cohen] Well, those poems were not “First thought, best thought.” Even at that stage of the game. I was just in a different school. Thomas Wolfe used to write 30,000 words a night. He was a very tall man; he’d work on top of the refrigerator. And then there’s Flaubert, who writes the first thing over and over again in Madame Bovary until he gets the tone right. I don’t see any of these things as virtues, I just see it as the expression of one’s nature. If I could do it that way, I’d rather be with Thomas Wolfe. Take Hank Williams. He wrote “Your Cheatin’ Heart” in 20 minutes as a test. The publisher didn’t think he could do it, and they locked him in a room and he came back and gave them “Your Cheatin’ Heart.” I’d like to do that. [emphasis mine]2

While not made explicit, Cohen’s appreciation of “Your Cheatin’ Heart” is, I contend, made clear from the tone, syntax, and content.

Note: I can’t find documentation that “Your Cheatin’ Heart” was written in 20 minutes as a test. According to Wikipedia, it was “Hey Good Lookin'” that Hank wrote in 20 minutes. Another site, The Life And Times Of Hank Williams, offers this anecdote:

One famous rumor:  ”Fred Rose” not quite believing that Hank had written the material that was presented before him, sent him off to the side with a story line to write a song to and giving him 30 minutes in which to do so…Hank emerged 20 minutes later with ”Mansion on the Hill”… which of course became a huge hit for him..

And there are numerous references to Hank Williams declaring “If a song can’t be written in 20 minutes, it ain’t worth writing.”

Hank Williams -Your Cheatin’ Heart

 

Credit Due Department: By Hank_Williams_publicity.jpg: MGM Recordsderivative work: GDuwenTell me! [Public domain], via Wikimedia Commons

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  1. In a  parallel, better known anecdote, Cohen ruefully compares his years of effort on “Hallelujah” to Bob Dylan’s claim that he wrote a song Cohen admired in a few minutes.  That story is a matter for another post. []
  2. A Teacher of the Heart: Leonard Cohen Shares the Wealth by Pat McGuire. Filter Magazine. June 26, 2007 []

“The Movies Are A Mother To Me” By Loudon Wainwright III Is On Leonard Cohen’s Jukebox

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Note: Originally posted May 2, 2014 at 1HeckOfAGuy.com, a predecessor of Cohencentric

Leonard Cohen’s Jukebox

Biggest Influence on My Music – The jukebox. I lived beside jukeboxes all through the fifties. … I never knew who was singing. I never followed things that way. I still don’t. I wasn’t a student of music; I was a student of the restaurant I was in — and the waitresses. The music was a part of it. I knew what number the song was.

– Leonard Cohen (Yakety Yak by Scott Cohen, 1994)

Leonard Cohen’s Jukebox: Over the years, Leonard Cohen has mentioned a number of specific songs he favors. Leonard Cohen’s Jukebox is a Cohencentric feature that began collecting these tunes for the edification and entertainment of viewers on April 4, 2009. All posts in the Leonard Cohen’s Jukebox series can be found at The Original Leonard Cohen’s Jukebox Page.

“A Great Song By Loudon Wainwright”

loudon-1

Long before the Wainwrights and the Cohens were connected by the birth of Viva Katherine Wainwright Cohen, the daughter of Lorca Cohen and Rufus Wainwright, Leonard Cohen admired one of the songs from the first album released  (in 1970) by Loudon Wainwright III:1

Vicki Gabereau: Do you go to movies? Did you when you were a kid? Obviously you’re note a movie fanatic.

Leonard Cohen: I’m not a fanatic but there’s a great song by Loudon Wainwright [III], “Movies Are A Mother To Me.” It’s a nice place to cool out in.2

Loudon Wainwright III – The Movies Are A Mother To Me
From the Recovery Album

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  1. It was also released on the Recovery album. a collection of “re-covers” from his first four albums: Loudon Wainwright III (1970), Album II (1971), Album III (1972) and Attempted Mustache (1973) []
  2. Radio Interview by Vicki Gabereau. Interview: May 1984; Broadcast: Sept 6, 1984. Variety Tonight, CBC.  Leonard Cohen On Leonard Cohen by Jeff Burger (Chicago Review Press: April 1, 2014) []

"Don’t Go Home With Your Hard-On" Cover By McComb & Peters Is On Leonard Cohen’s Jukebox

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The Original Leonard Cohen’s Jukebox

Biggest Influence on My Music – The jukebox. I lived beside jukeboxes all through the fifties. … I never knew who was singing. I never followed things that way. I still don’t. I wasn’t a student of music; I was a student of the restaurant I was in — and the waitresses. The music was a part of it. I knew what number the song was.

– Leonard Cohen (Yakety Yak by Scott Cohen, 1994)

Leonard Cohen’s Jukebox: Over the years, Leonard Cohen has mentioned a number of specific songs he favors. Leonard Cohen’s Jukebox is a Cohencentric feature that began collecting these tunes for the edification and entertainment of viewers on April 4, 2009. All posts in the Leonard Cohen’s Jukebox series can be found at The Original Leonard Cohen’s Jukebox Page.

David McComb And Adam Peters – I’m Your Fan

imyourfan
In September 1991, a number of artists influenced by Leonard Cohen’s music were assembled by Christian Fevret, editor of Les Inrockuptible, the best known rock magazine in France, to put out I’m Your Fan,1 a tribute album with the professed goal of introducing Cohen’s work to a younger generation.

Among the musicians participating in this project were David McComb, best known as the lead singer for The Triffids, & Adam Peters, a member of both The Triffids and Echo & The Bunnymen, who together performed “Don’t Go Home With Your Hard-On” from Death of a Ladies’ Man,  the album resulting from the Leonard Cohen – Phil Spector collaboration.

Leonard Cohen On Don’t Go Home With Your Hard-On By David McComb & Adam Peters

Leonard Cohen was interviewed about the album for the Austrian magazine “Basta:”2

Question: Some songs [from I’m Your Fan] keep very close to your original arrangements, some of them sounds totally different. Do you discover here new qualities in your own compositions?

Cohen: I was interested, with what technical means these songs would be worked up today. That gives me new ideas for arrangements and production. One song on that new album I like more than my own original version, ‘Don’t go home with your hard on’, done by David McComb & Adam Peters. [Emphasis mine]

The Story Of David McComb, Adam Peters, & The Triffids

TheTriffids_Belgium1985

The Triffids live in Belgium, 1985.

Cohen’s praise for the McComb and Peters version of “Don’t Go Home With Your Hard-On” was pointed out to me by UrPal, a contributor to LeonardCohenForum and a moderator of  The Triffids web site. At that time, I might have correctly identified The Triffids as a rock band on a multiple choice test. After reading up on the group and its individual members, especially David McComb, I became intrigued by the songs and the history of these musicians. Consequently, I asked UrPal to provide the essential information about David McComb, Adam Peters, and The Triffids in order to include it in this post.  I am pleased to report that he graciously agreed, with the following result:

David McComb was the charismatic lead singer and songwriter of legendary post-punk ’80s Australian band The Triffids. Emanating from Perth (the most remote city in the World), The Triffids built a loyal following and released two albums and several singles in Australia before traveling to England in 1985 to pursue wider fame and glory, with Nick Cave and The Go-Betweens as fellow passengers of the moment.

Their blistering live performances soon saw The Triffids being hailed as darlings of the British and European music press. John Peel, the preeminent British DJ, became an early champion of the band, broadcasting three sessions of their songs in rapid succession. The classic album Born Sandy Devotional was released soon after, featuring their touchstone song, “Wide Open Road,” which has since been recognised as one of Australia’s Songs of The Millennium. Major label, Island Records, then signed the band and released two albums, Calenture and The Black Swan, as well as a series of singles. Also during this time, The Triffids picked up fame across Europe, touring extensively and performing at major festivals, including Glastonbury and its continental equivalents, and headlining several.

Despite the enthusiasm and admiration of rock journalists (David Fricke of Rolling Stone amongst them), fellow musicians (from Nick Cave through Michael Stipe and Bono to Lenny Kaye), and music producers (Pixies’ producer Gil Norton and Smiths’ producer Stephen Street produced their records), The Triffids never hit pay dirt with major hit records and high public recognition. Independent music was still in a nascent state and had yet to merge into the mainstream. After five years of creative genius from McComb and with the nineties looming, the band called it quits and headed home to Australia to pursue more settled lives.

But, as with the best of music, their songs continue to linger in the hearts and minds of those who heard them and make new converts with each generation. McComb died in seeming obscurity in 1999, but recent reissues of The Triffids’ back catalogue has coincided with McComb and the band being acknowledged through lifetime achievement awards, hall of fame inductions, TV documentaries, films and a tribute stage show performed thus far at Sydney Festival (2008) and Perth International Arts Festival (2009). Books featuring David McComb’s poetry (“Beautiful Waste”) and a series of essays by writers, musicians and colleagues (“Vagabond Holes”) are due for publication later this year by Fremantle Press. Meanwhile, fans of the band are campaigning to save from demolition the heritage 19th Century mansion known as The Cliffe in which McComb was raised and The Triffids first rehearsed: http://savethecliffe.info/

Adam Peters is probably best known for his strings contributions as a cellist and his orchestrations on Echo & The Bunnymen’s classic album “Ocean Rain”, and performed a similar role on The Triffids’ UK recordings. Around the time The Triffids split he became a musical collaborator of McComb’s. They released a single together on Island Records called “I Don’t Need You.” Peters has also worked with other notable acts, including Siouxsie & The Banshees and Lloyd Cole.

Incidentally, the guitarist on the McComb/Peters version of DGHWYHO is renowned lead guitarist of Echo & The Bunnymen, Will Sergeant.

Video

David McComb & Adam Peters – Don’t Go Home With Your Hard-On

 

Credit Due Department: Photo of “TheTriffids Belgium1985“. Licensed under CC BY 3.0 via Wikipedia.

I want to offer special thanks and a tip of the Cohen chapeau to UrPal, who takes music seriously, thoughtfully, and enthusiastically and from whose posts on LeonardCohenForum and The Triffids web site I’ve learned much. Writing concisely, clearly, and meaningfully for a blog audience as he has done in the section on The Triffids  is, as those who have contributed content to Cohencentric will attest, no simple or easily accomplished task. It is, however, an appreciated one.

Note: Originally posted July 15, 2009 at 1HeckOfAGuy.com, a predecessor of Cohencentric

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  1. The track list for I’m Your Fan follows:
    1. The House Of Love: Who By Fire
    2. Ian Mcculloch: Hey, That’s No Way To Say Goodbye
    3. Pixies: I Can’t Forget
    4. That Petrol Emotions: Stories Of The Street
    5. The Lilac Time: Bird On The Wire
    6. Geoffrey Oryema: Suzanne
    7. James: So Long Marianne
    8. Jean-Louis Murat: Avalanche Iv
    9. David Mccomb & Adam Peters: Don’t Go Home With Your Hard-On
    10. R.E.M.: First We Take Manhattan
    11. Lloyd Cole: Chelsea Hotel
    12. Robert Foster: Tower Of Song
    13. Peter Astor: Take This Longing
    14. Dead Famous People: True Love Leaves No Traces
    15. Bill Pritchard: I’m Your Man
    16. Fatima Mansions: A Singer Must Die
    17. Nick Cave And The Bad Seeds: Tower Of Song
    18. John Cale: Hallelujah []
  2. This excerpt was found at LeonardCohenFiles []

Joni Mitchell’s “A Case Of You” Is – Intriguingly – On Leonard Cohen’s Jukebox

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The Original Leonard Cohen’s Jukebox

Biggest Influence on My Music – The jukebox. I lived beside jukeboxes all through the fifties. … I never knew who was singing. I never followed things that way. I still don’t. I wasn’t a student of music; I was a student of the restaurant I was in — and the waitresses. The music was a part of it. I knew what number the song was.

– Leonard Cohen (Yakety Yak by Scott Cohen, 1994)

Leonard Cohen’s Jukebox: Over the years, Leonard Cohen has mentioned a number of specific Fsongs he favors. Leonard Cohen’s Jukebox is a Cohencentric feature that began collecting these tunes for the edification and entertainment of viewers on April 4, 2009. All posts in the Leonard Cohen’s Jukebox series can be found at The Original Leonard Cohen’s Jukebox Page.

Joni Mitchell And A Case Of Who?

jon

The formal documentation of Leonard Cohen’s approbation of “A Case Of You” by Joni Mitchell comes from “Leonard Cohen – In Eigenen Worten [In His Own Words]” by Jim Devlin,1 in which the song was ranked #2 in the list of Leonard Cohen’s favorite songs in 1988.

As one might infer from the above photo, however, there is more to the story than a personal hit parade listing. After all, #1 on that 1988 compilation was a tune by George Jones and #3 was by Bob Dylan, but I haven’t found a photo of George or Bob happily hugging Leonard like that.

As it turns out, Leonard Cohen and Joni Mitchell, both of whom are iconic Canadian singer-songwriters who came of age professionally in the late 1960s with roots in the folk movement of that era, also shared a short-lived romantic liaison which is summarized in this excerpt from  what has become one of the most-read Heck Of A Guy/Cohencentric posts, Leonard Cohen and Joni Mitchell: Just One Of Those Things:

For a few weeks in 1967 and 1968, Joni Mitchell and Leonard Cohen had a fling, the consequences of which continue to echo in their work.

Introduced to each other backstage at Judy Collins’s songwriter’s workshop2 at the 1967 Newport Folk Festival  by Judy Collins herself,3  who was, in large part,  responsible for jump-starting the musical careers of both singer-songwriters, Cohen and Mitchell were officially an item by the time the two of them co-hosted a workshop at the Mariposa Folk Festival.4 Their romance ignited, flared, and exhausted itself within weeks. Depending upon the source and the skew of ones perspective, preferences, and prejudices, Cohen either terminated the relationship himself for unspecified reasons or incited Mitchell to end it because of his interest in other women.

Also included in that post is a discussion of songs Mitchell wrote which have been identified by some as having been inspired by her relationship with Leonard Cohen: “Rainy Night House,” “That Song About The Midway,” “The Gallery,” and “A Case Of You.”5  It seems significant that, by my unofficial and unscientific count, the word most commonly used by politic writers to describe the mood of all these songs is “bittersweet.”

This commentary on the psychological provenance of “A Case Of You” is also from Leonard Cohen and Joni Mitchell: Just One Of Those Things:

In his 1996 biography, “Joni Mitchell,”  Brian Hinton offers his “own uninformed guess …  that ‘A Case Of You’  is also about Leonard Cohen.” Mitchell herself, according to Sheila Weller, told “a confidante in the mid-1990s that it was about Leonard Cohen” but told Estrella Berosini the song was about another lover, James Taylor.6 In any case, the chorus does have a Cohen sort of ring to it.7

Oh you are in my blood like holy wine
And you taste so bitter but you taste so sweet
Oh I could drink a case of you
I could drink a case of you darling
Still I’d be on my feet
And still be on my feet

Regardless of the origins, it is a wonderful song that evokes and resonates with the joys and vicissitudes of love once embraced and then lost. That Leonard Cohen lists it as one of his favorite songs 20 years after the romance that appears to have spawned it is – well, like most Leonard Cohen behaviors, it’s intriguing.

Joni Mitchell Performs “A Case Of You”

Joni Mitchell – A Case Of You
Video from

Credit Due Department: Photo  of Joni Mitchell by Matt Gibbonshttp://www.flickr.com/photos/ultomatt/3126812062/, CC BY 2.0, – Wikipedia

Note: Originally posted May 4, 2010  at 1HeckOfAGuy.com, a predecessor of Cohencentric

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  1. This invaluable reference was offered by Florian at LeonardCohenForum. []
  2. Will You Take Me As I Am: Joni Mitchell’s Blue Period by Michelle Mercer. Free Press; 1st Edition, April 7, 2009 []
  3. Girls Like Us: Carole King, Joni Mitchell, Carly Simon–And the Journey of a Generation by  Sheila Weller. Atria: April 8, 2008 []
  4. Will You Take Me As I Am: Joni Mitchell’s Blue Period by Michelle Mercer. Free Press; 1st Edition, April 7, 2009 []
  5. On a tangential note, both Cohen and Mitchell wrote songs called “Winter Lady.” A comparison of the two works can be found at “Winter Lady” By Leonard Cohen Meets “Winter Lady” By Joni Mitchell. []
  6. Girls Like Us: Carole King, Joni Mitchell, Carly Simon–And the Journey of a Generation by Sheila Weller. Atria: April 8, 2008. P 314 []
  7. The complete lyrics of “A Case Of You” can be found at http://www.lyricsfreak.com/j/joni+mitchell/a+case+of+you_20075257.html []