Lou Reed On Leonard Cohen: “A figure whose body of work achieves greater mystery and depth as time goes on”

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Without question one of the most important and influential songwriters of our time, a figure whose body of work achieves greater mystery & depth as time goes onquotedown2

Lou Reed
On Leonard Cohen

 

From Lou Reed’s introduction of Leonard Cohen at Cohen’s 2008 Rock And Roll Hall Of Fame induction. Photo by Man Alive! – Lou ReedUploaded by Yarl, CC BY 2.0, Wikipedia Commons. Originally posted October 28, 2013 at DrHGuy.com, a predecessor of Cohencentric

Hear Leonard Cohen Talk About Life In The Chelsea Hotel, His Depression, & Meeting Lou Reed

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In these previews to the broadcast of Leonard Cohen’s never-been-released conversation with Bill Flanagan at Manhattan’s Chelsea Hotel in 2006, hear the Canadian singer-songwriter talk about his early career. The broadcast of the full interview airs Wednesday, Dec. 7 at 7 pm ET on SiriusXM VOLUME (Ch. 106). 

More information at Hear Bill Flanagan’s never-before-heard interview with Leonard Cohen

Life In The Chelsea Hotel

 

Leonard Cohen On Meeting Lou Reed

Leonard Cohen On His Depression

Credit Due Department: Photo by Historystuff2 (Own work) [CC BY 3.0], via Wikimedia Commons

Video: Leonard Cohen Inducted Into The Rock & Roll Hall Of Fame – 2008

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We’re so lucky to be alive at the same time Leonard Cohen isquotedown2

Lou Reed – 2008 Rock & Roll
Hall Of Fame Induction

 

Leonard Cohen, Still Classy After All These Years

Leonard Cohen, dapperly dressed in a black tux, thanked Lou Reed for his introduction and acknowledged that his induction into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame was “such an unlikely event” and “not a distinction that I coveted or even dared dream about.”

In a classic self-effacing moment, Cohen then solemnly observed,

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I am reminded of the prophetic statement by Jon Landau in the early 1970s: ‘I have seen the future of rock’n’roll, and it is not Leonard Cohen’1quotedown2

 

Leonard Cohen, who may have been the only speaker, including Jan Werner, Chairman of the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame and MC for the ceremony, to speak without notes (Lou Reed carried loose papers, a notebook, and a copy of Cohen’s “Book of Longing” to the podium), then recited the lyrics of “Tower of Song” and promptly surrendered the stage to Damien Rice for his cover of Cohen’s “Hallelujah.”

For more about the 2008 Rock & Roll Hall Of Fame Induction, see Leonard Cohen Inducted Into Rock & Roll Hall Of Fame – 2008

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  1. Cohen was, of course, riffing on the famous proclamation Jon Landau wrote in 1974 as a Rolling Stone contributing editor, “I’ve seen the future of rock n’ roll, and it’s name is Bruce Springsteen.” Leonard Cohen is too much of a gentleman (thank goodness, I’m not) to point out that within a year or two of that statement, Mr. Landau was Springsteen’s producer and manager – and still on the Rolling Stone masthead. []

“I got ambushed in New York by the folk renaissance” Leonard Cohen Tells How He Met Jackson Browne, Lou Reed, & “Aryan Ice Queen” Nico

Nico at Lampeter University (Nov 1985)

Nico at Lampeter University (Nov 1985)

Things To Do In New York If You’re Leonard Cohen

Leonard Cohen provides, in his own words, an  entertaining synopsis of  his time in New York during the 1960s, including the kind words Lou Reed had for him and the less kind words of dismissal he received from Nico:1

In 1966 I borrowed some money from a friend in Montreal and came down to the great empire, America, to try to make my way. I had written a few books and I couldn’t make a living. I played in a country band and I loved country music and I had a few songs I thought were country songs and I was on my way ultimately to Nashville but I got ambushed in New York by the folk renaissance — and got my first public appearance at the Newport Folk Festival. In New York I found this huge explosion of things and I was interested in this enlightened community being promoted in the east side of New York and I would go down there but I couldn’t locate it.

I walked into a club called the Dome and I saw someone singing there who looked like she inhabited a Nazi poster; it was Nico, the perfect Aryan ice queen.

And there was a very handsome young man playing for her; he turned out to be Jackson Browne.

Jackson Browne

Jackson Browne

I just stood there and said forget the new society, this is the woman I’ve been looking for. I followed her all around New York.

She led me to Max’s Kansas City. I met Lou Reed there and he said something very kind to me which made me feel at home. I had no particular clout in that scene. I was just a guy who was a little older than the other guys, just sniffing around like everybody else. I was very lonely and mostly interested in finding a girl. Lou came over and introduced himself and said, “I love your book.” I never knew anybody knew my books because they only sold a few thousand copies in America. We were sitting at a table and some guy was bugging me, in a polite sort of way, and I was responding in a polite sort of way, and Lou Reed said to me, “Hey, man, you don’t have to be nice to this guy. You don’t have to be nice to anybody. You’re the man who wrote ‘Beautiful Losers.’”

Lou Reed holding a gun during a 1977 photo shoot.

Lou Reed holding a gun during a 1977 photo shoot.

Nico eventually told me, “Look, I like young boys. You’re just too old for me.”

Credit Due Department: Lou Reed photo: By Arista Records/Photo by Mick Rock. – ebayfrontback, Public Domain, https://commons.wikimedia.org/w/index.php?curid=30585465. Nico photo: By GanMed64 – Flickr: Nico (The Velvet Underground) – Lampeter University – November 1985, CC BY 2.0, https://commons.wikimedia.org/w/index.php?curid=27794898. Jackson Browne photo: By Helge Øverås – Norberak egina, CC BY 3.0, https://commons.wikimedia.org/w/index.php?curid=3473573

Note: Originally posted Mar 2, 2012 at 1HeckOfAGuy.com, a predecessor of Cohencentric

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  1. From Yakety Yak by Scott Cohen 1994 []