Bon Jovi Chows Down At Moishes Steakhouse, Checks Out Leonard Cohen Mural

Bon Jovi’s visit to one of Leonard’s Montreal haunts wasn’t their first connection with the Canadian singer-songwriter. Just after Leonard Cohen’s death, Bon Jovi tweeted

Leonard Cohen’s gone home. but he will live forever through his songs. thank you Leonard
JBJ

Bon Jovi, who famously covered Leonard Cohen’s Hallelujah, had this to say in a 2008 interview (no longer online):

You’re covering Leonard Cohen’s Hallelujah these days. . .
It’s a pleasure to sing that song. I’m jealous . . . what a song.

Is that a song you wish you’d written?
It’s right up there, man. It’s up there in the Top 10 of all time. The only thing that gives me any solace is that I read it took him five years to write it. It’s a masterpiece.

Do you like the Jeff Buckley version?
I do. I saw him in a bar, couldn’t have been more than 50 people there, no exaggeration, in Asbury Park, New Jersey. It was for that first EP (Live at Sin-E) with the coffee cup ring on it. He was this close to the bar. He could sing. The honest-to-God truth is that was the first time I heard Hallelujah.

I didn’t know Cohen’s version before that. I heard that song and went, ‘‘There’s the hit!” and my friend went, ‘‘You genius, it’s a Leonard Cohen song, you’re not so bright are you?” Nope, but at least I wasn’t the last one to know it was a Cohen song.

Thanks to Marie Cohen Viana, who alerted me to the Moishes Steakhouse Facebook image.

Leonard Cohen Crescent Street Montreal Mural – April 2, 2018

Baby, I’ve Been Here Before: Leonard Cohen Is Back On Crescent Street – Revisited

 

When Cohencentric published Baby, I’ve Been Here Before – Leonard Cohen Is Back On Crescent Street six months ago, the primary goal was to spotlight Marie M’s discovery that Crescent Street, the site of Montreal’s (second, then in process) Leonard Cohen mural, was also featured in the cover art for the Field Commander Cohen album. In other words, that entry was a premier example of the How About That? kind of post for which Cohencentric is notorious. The secondary agenda, however, was to counter the disparaging remarks from a few critics implying that Crescent Street was an inappropriate setting for the mural because that avenue is not the sort of place Leonard would have frequented. Consider, for example, this excerpt from Leonard Cohen and a tale of two Montreal murals by Robert Everett-Green (Globe and Mail: September 29, 2017):

The residential tower receiving this image is right across Crescent Street from a Hooter’s restaurant, in the midst of a strip of pubs, clubs and restaurants. Cohen’s gaze seems to rest on the Sir Winston Churchill Pub and the Copacabana Discothèque, neither of which seems particularly germane to his legend… It succeeds mainly in making Cohen look out of place, as he seldom did in life.

Now that the mural is complete, it’s time to revisit the Leonard Cohen On Crescent Street issue in order to make three points:

1. If the social media is any indicator, the Crescent Street mural is incredibly popular.

2. No one has challenged the assertion that Crescent Street, the site of the mural, appears on the cover of the Field Commander Cohen album. In fact, at least one other group has taken note of this – albeit without crediting either Marie M or Cohencentric (see Leonard Cohen Montreal Crescent St Mural – The Big Finish: Inauguration, Facts, Field Commander Cohen, & More).

The Le Fuzz Factor

3. Re the question, would Leonard Cohen have visited places like the Sir Winston Churchill Pub or the Copacabana Discothèque? Well, I don’t know about Copacabana Discothèque, a dance club which opened in 1999, some time after Leonard’s era of nightly club tours had passed. On the other hand, according to Poetry and Poppyseed by Tim Elliott (Taveller: Oct 22, 2011), Leonard frequented The Sir Winston Churchill:

The Sir Winston Churchill, a pub where Cohen drank so often that they put a plaque on his favourite chair, is no longer a hang-out for bohos but homesick Brits. When I ask the manager about Cohen, he says they removed the plaque five years ago in a renovation

Given that “front-row seats at the [Sir Winston Churchill] bar … were most frequently occupied by the likes of Nick Auf der Maur, Mordecai Richler and his friend/sparring partner Richard Holden, the latter’s former political comrade-turned-foil Gordon Atkinson, and radio icons George Balcan and Ted Blackman, among other local luminaries,”1 it would hardly be surprising to discover that Leonard showed up on occasion.

Now, there is credible evidence that Leonard did indeed hang out on Crescent Street. The following excerpt from Remembering Leonard Cohen: Close Friends, Collaborators & Critics on How He Changed Music Forever by Sasha Frere-Jones (Billboard: November 17, 2016) is Stephen Lack’s account of meeting his cousin, Leonard Cohen, at an “upscale hipster restaurant” on Crescent Street [underlining mine].

quoteup2
When I started to manifest artistic leanings in that upper-middle-class Montreal environment, the family kept saying, ‘If you’re going to be such an artist, you have to go downtown and meet your cousin Leonard.’ We’re 12 years apart, and I didn’t meet him until I was about 20. We were actually both members of the same fraternity, but I quit it and he was the president back in the day. Right at the beginning of my downtown existence, there were Leonard sightings in the distance. At first I just didn’t feel comfortable imposing myself on him. Then one day, I was at this place Le Fuzz on Crescent Street—the first upscale hipster restaurant I had ever been in. I remember the hamburger: It was thick, and $3.50! This was a huge commitment for a meal. All the downtown folks who were somewhere in between intelligentsia and outlaws went there—Leonard, writer Mordecai Richler, the film producer Derek Lamb. The day I met Leonard, I was sitting there right next to him as he was being interviewed. I leaned over and gave him a handshake and said, ‘I’m your cousin Stephen.’ And he looked over and said, ‘Oh, yes,’ meaning he had heard of me. That was it.quotedown2

Stephen Lack

 

Yep, Crescent Street wasn’t the kind of place Leonard Cohen would visit – except he did.

Credit Due Department: Mural photo by Michael Loftus.

_______________________

  1. Sir Winston Churchill Pub marks 50th anniversary — minus some characters who made it a landmark by Bill Brownstein, Montreal Gazette: February 14, 2017 []

Two Views Of Leonard Cohen Montreal Mural: In Snow & In Clear Skies – March 12 & 13, 2018

To change view, hover cursor on right of image; then, click arrow that appears. To change back to original view, repeat process on left side of image.

Leonard Cohen Montreal Crescent St Mural – The Big Finish: Inauguration, Facts, Field Commander Cohen, & More

 

The Leonard Cohen Montreal Crescent St Mural, based on a photo by Lorca Cohen, is now officially complete and inaugurated.

Video: Leonard Cohen Mural Is Complete

The video below offers a typical list of how about that facts: ($300,000 cost, 1,000 liters of latex paint, 300 cans of spray paint, etc) and the information that the mural is expected to last 20 years.

 

Leonard Cohen Mural Inaugurated On Crescent St.

Leonard Cohen mural inaugurated on Crescent St. (CTV Montreal: Nov 7, 2017) includes a video about the mural, including the choice of images and the discovery that Crescent Street is also featured on the Field Commander Cohen album cover. While I don;t know how the folks in Montreal came up with this information, I do know Marie M figured it out some time before it was posted here September 20, 2017 at Baby, I’ve Been Here Before – Leonard Cohen Is Back On Crescent Street. Serendipity strikes, eh?

Baby, I’ve Been Here Before – Leonard Cohen Is Back On Crescent Street