Leonard Cohen’s Old Ideas Hits “Best Album Of 2012” Lists

First, Old Ideas Hits the Charts

Leonard Cohen found himself in unfamiliar territory when his Old Ideas album quickly and decisively garnered high rankings on the sales charts in countries around the world.1 The chart below, for example, show the Feb 2, 2012 iTunes Store Top 10 albums by country.

iTunes Top Albums By Country – Feb 2, 2012

Now, Old Ideas Hits The Best Of 2012 Lists

Now it’s the time of year when music journals and other institutions announce their choices for the best album of the year.  Here’s how Old Ideas is doing so far.

Old Ideas By Leonard Cohen – Uncut’s Album of the Year 2012

Leonard Cohen’s Old Ideas Is #5 On Spinner’s 50 Best Albums Of 2012

Posted Dec 7, 2012 at Spinner’s 50 Best Albums Of 2012. Spinner had also listed Old Ideas in its July 9, 2012 post, The Best Albums of 2012 So Far — And How to Enjoy Them!:

Leonard Cohen, Old Ideas: The 77-year-old legend’s voice has deepened so richly over the years that it would be a pity not to listen to this album by sipping a finely aged scotch and contemplating life.

Spinner’s Top 5 Albums for 2012 follow:

1. Fiona Apple, The Idler Wheel Is Wiser Than the Driver of the Screw and Whipping Cords Will Serve You More Than Ropes Will Ever Do
2. Frank Ocean, Channel Orange
3. Japandroids, Celebration Rock
4. Kendrick Lamar, good kid, m.A.A. d city
5. Leonard Cohen, Old Ideas

Leonard Cohen’s Old Ideas Is #4 On American Songwriter’s Top 50 Albums Of 2012

From American Songwriter’s Top 50 Albums Of 2012 (American Songwriter December 4th, 2012):

4. Leonard Cohen: Old Ideas

The album title is Leonard Cohen’s little joke, implying that his latest album will have more of the same explorations of love, sex, faith, death, and all the other weighty topics he has assayed over his long recording career. Old Ideas is far from derivative of past glories though. Cohen’s self-deprecating humor perfectly balances out the philosophical stuff. Take “Going Home,” in which the singer imagines himself as God and describes his servant Leonard as “a lazy bastard living in a suit.” As usual, the instrumentation is pretty spare, allowing Cohen’s fathoms-deep voice to take center stage. That instrument is still surprisingly potent, especially when it shows its vulnerability on the questing “Show Me The Place.” Leonard may feel that God has a harsh opinion of him, but we mortals can’t help but be swayed by these Old Ideas.

Leonard Cohen’s Old Ideas #4 On MOJO’s Best LPs of 2012

Continue Reading →

  1. See Leonard Cohen’s Old Ideas Hits The Charts – And Why That Matters (Maybe) []

“I think this particular record invites one to be swept along with it, even if you happen to have written it yourself.” Leonard Cohen Old Ideas Album Released Jan 31, 2012

The Old Ideas album was released Jan 31, 2012, more than seven years after Leonard Cohen’s previous studio album. It was enthusiastically received by critics (see Leonard Cohen’s Old Ideas Hits “Best Album Of 2012” Lists) and by music lovers, whose purchases made Old Ideas #1 on the charts across the world (see Leonard Cohen’s Old Ideas Hits The Charts – And Why That Matters (Maybe))

Old Ideas Billboard – Times Square NYC

Leonard Cohen – Show Me The Place

The first Old Ideas track pre-released was Show Me The Place.

Titular quote is from The Wisdom Of Leonard Cohen by Kevin Perry. GQ: Jan 19, 2012. Billboard photo by Kezban Özcan. Originally posted Aug 7, 2013 at DrHGuy.com, a predecessor of Cohencentric

New Images For Old Ideas – Leonard Cohen Photos By Dominique Issermann

While I’ve previously posted the photo atop this post and the one immediately below, both of which Sony has released as part of the marketing campaign for Leonard Cohen’s forthcoming Old Ideas album, I was only able today [Jan 5, 2012, the original posting date] to confirm they were indeed taken by Dominique Issermann. It seems only right to re-post them as a belated Credit Due Department item. Besides, it’s as good a rationale as any to offer these nifty shots again.

The Dominique Issermann photo shown below  has also been used in the Old Ideas promotion, but it has been previously published at least as early as August 24, 2009 when it illustrated State of Grace – Leonard Cohen’s Return.by Sasha Frere-Jones (New Yorker).

Originally posted Jan 5, 2012 at DrHGuy.com, a predecessor of Cohencentric

What’s Behind That Leonard Cohen Billboard On Times Square?

The Morale-Boosting Leonard Cohen Old Ideas Billboard

Leonard Cohen fans, especially those familiar with the lackluster promotions of his previous albums, were heartened when an impressively large and vivid billboard promoting his Old Ideas album appeared on 42nd street in Manhattan.

This extract from The Harlem River Dispatch – Leonard Cohen Makes “Old Ideas” New Again posted by Wesley at By Way Of Beauty gives elegant expression to the thoughts of many Cohen  admirers in response to the advertisement:

Last night on 42nd street in Manhattan, I saw a three-story-high billboard promoting Leonard Cohen’s latest album Old Times, which has been on prominent display beside the exterior of The Foxwoods theater. While most ad spaces in Times Square are reserved for wan and vapid looking models posing in their skivvies, this particular billboard features a 77 year-old beatnik sitting languorously in a lawn chair – surely a sharp contrast to what one usually sees or experiences while scurrying through the crossroads of the world.

Having been a fan of Mr. Cohen’s music for quite some time now, I was as puzzled as I was elated to see an ad for his album in that setting. He always seemed to me an artist you had to seek out in dusty vinyl collections – not one the industry would peddle alongside your Katy Perrys or Cee Lo Greens.

Now that I have finally listened to the album, I’m grateful that its marketing execs believed in Cohen’s material enough to advertise it the way they did, for Cohen’s music and the message it contains truly deserves the attention of our cock-eyed culture.

Or, as the less articulate of us might put it, “It’s about time.”

But, is it simply a case of the powers that be finally recognizing true genius and promoting it at “The Crossroads of the World?”

Behind The Scenes

Now, The New York Post has provided information about what is – literally and figuratively – behind that billboard.

Times Square Theatre 1920

As most New Yorkers already know, the physical space on the other side of the billboard is occupied by the Times Square Theatre (shown above), a building constructed in 1920 which has stood vacant for 20+ years.

So, how did that empty building become the easel for the bigger than life commercial portrait of Leonard Cohen?

Steve Cuozzo, writing in The Long-Dark Times Square Theater Is – Finally! – Getting A Multimillion-Dollar Makeover (New York Post, March 21, 2012), describes the purchase of the Times Square Theatre and the consequent plans for that space:

Climaxing a long effort to find the right user for the 1920s-vintage colonnaded venue, landlord New 42nd Street has signed a long-term lease with Broadway 4D Theatres. What the company calls Broadway Sensation — a 4D Musical Spectacular is expected to launch by late spring or early summer 2013. …

Broadway 4D is the brainchild of Beverly Hills entertainment lawyer Robert Kory, who also manages singer-songwriter Leonard Cohen. (A huge ad for Cohen’s latest album currently adorns the theater façade.) … [emphasis mine]

It thus appears that it wasn’t simply a matter of “marketing execs believ[ing] in Cohen’s material enough to advertise it the way they did.” I.e., it seems unlikely that the placement of the billboard was dictated purely by marketing considerations but also had to do with the serendipitous ownership of the Times Square Theatre by Robert Kory, who similarly and simultaneously serendipitously serves as Leonard Cohen’s business manager.

Ah, disillusionment can be a drag. It’s always discouraging to discover that your burning bush isn’t consumed by the flames because it’s actually a repurposed Yule Log video.

On the other hand, there is nothing scandalous or Machiavellian about  this story – and it is a heck of a billboard in a great location.  And, I’m still gratified that this image was the center of attention just as the Old Ideas album itself caught the attention of the public and hit the top of the charts.

If there is a moral for this tale, it’s something on the lines of

Paying attention to the man behind the curtain
(or billboard) is not a risk-free strategy

Bonus: Broadway 4D

The article also helpfully explains Broadway 4D:

Broadway 4D is described as “a 3D film enhanced show incorporating in-theater special effects” — such as the use of scents, climatic changes and extravagant sound. Songs from Broadway musicals by the likes of Rodgers and Hammerstein and Andrew Lloyd Weber will be performed by stars of Hollywood and the Great White Way. …

In an amazing coincidence, it turns out that I’m working on a screenplay for “a 3D film enhanced show incorporating in-theater special effects.” Robert, have your people call my people. We’ll do lunch.

Credit Due Department: Billboard photo taken and shared by Kezban Özcan.

Note: Originally posted Mar 23, 2012 at 1HeckOfAGuy.com, a predecessor of Cohencentric

I Can’t Forget – The Exclusive 1st Look: March 2012 Leonard Cohen MOJO Cover

Introduction: I Can’t Forget

Because many folks have become Leonard Cohen fans since Leonard’s final concert – Auckland, December 21, 2013, I’m publishing key 1HeckOfAGuy.com and DrHGuy.com posts that originally came online during the 2008-2013 Tours to provide a sense of how it felt to be part of the World Of Cohen.during those halcyon days – and give those who were already Cohenites then the opportunity to relive the Golden Age Of Leonard. All such entries can be found at ,

Today’s I Can’t Forget Offering: When this image was originally posted Jan 27, 2012 at 1HeckOfAGuy.com, a predecessor of Cohencentric, it was the first worldwide public display of the March 2012 MOJO, which featured Leonard Cohen on the cover and included a extensive section on the Canadian singer-songwriter.

March 2012 MOJO Spotlights Leonard Cohen

A young Leonard Cohen, sporting a black mock turtleneck emblematic of the 1960s coffeehouse poet/folk singer and equipped with occupationally congruent beads, cigarette, and notebook (hidden by the CD in the above image) emits some serious existential angst from the cover of the March 2012 issue of MOJO magazine, which goes on sale January 31, 2012 – but is on display now at the Heck Of A Guy site. 1

Inside, a one on one interview of Leonard Cohen by Sylvie Simmons, whose biography, “I’m Your Man – The Life of Leonard Cohen,” is expected  to be published October 2012,2 is the centerpiece of a 14 page feature on the Canadian singer-songwriter, poet, novelist, and icon.

While the timing of  the article is a function of the release of Cohen’s new album, Old Ideas, the content ranges from Cohen’s early life to his connection with Zen teacher, Roshi (whose 105th birthday is just over a month away), to the 2008-2010 Leonard Cohen World Tour, to the Old Ideas album and beyond.

A separate two page section focuses on Songs Of Leonard Cohen, Cohen’s 1967 debut album.

A tribute CD  filled with covers of the tracks from the Songs of Leonard Cohen performed by Palace Songs, Low Anthem, Liz Green, Cass McCombs, and others completes the package.


  1. For those who are perplexed about how the Heck Of A Guy site came to host the first exhibition of the masterpiece that is the MOJO cover, here’s the story: Imagine the potential contribution that might be made to such a Leonard Cohen feature by, say, an unpaid intern assigned to the Assistant To The Assistant To The Assistant To The Art Director. Well, I would be the guy reporting to the unpaid intern. OK, I suspect MOJO doesn’t waste money funding salaries for “Assistant To” positions and I have no idea if the company uses interns, but you get the idea. After those services were rendered, it was simply a matter of whinging and begging until MOJO agreed to allow Heck Of A Guy to play Paul Revere to this especially insidious British invasion of the colonies. []
  2. The publishers of the Simmons biography are Jonathan Cape in the UK, Ecco in the US, and McClelland & Stewart in Canada. Several foreign language editions are due for publication at the same time. []

Listen To Complete Jan 2012 Jarvis Cocker – Leonard Cohen Interview

Cocker-Cohen Conversation Now Online

The enlightening and entertaining January 18, 2012 interview of Leonard Cohen by Jarvis Cocker was a highlight of the coming-out publicity party for the Old Ideas album. Unfortunately, only isolated clips from that session have remained available online.  Now, however, reader Jo Meul has spotted a Soundcloud recording of the January 29, 2012 edition of Jarvis Cocker’s Sunday Service, “Sincerely, L. Cohen,” which features Cocker’s January 18, 2012 interview of Cohen, selected Cohen songs, and commentary.

Anyone with an interest in Leonard Cohen who missed this when it was broadcast should take advantage of this second chance to be delighted. Those who have heard the interview before will find it as fascinating – and fun – now as it was then.

Preview: During the interview, Leonard Cohen calculates that the ideas in Old Ideas are 614 years old – except those which are older, advances his claim that giving up smoking has lowered his voice, explains his feeling that he has been “scraping the bottom of the barrel just trying to get the song together,” laments the loss of many of his notebooks and the masterpieces they contained,  and looks forward to meeting Chuck Berry, with whom he shared the PEN New England’s prize for Lyrics Of Literary Excellence.

Jarvis Cocker’s Sunday Service
Jan 29, 2012

Credit Due Department: Photo by Mariel Argüello – http://www.flickr.com/photos/monophonicgirl/6984741610, CC BY-SA 2.0, via Wikimedia Common. Originally posted Jun 23, 2012 at 1HeckOfAGuy.com, a predecessor of Cohencentric