“I was completely empty – and out of that came songs that were very intimate & very personal.” Leonard Cohen On Writing The Songs For His First Album

I did 15 or 20 concerts [in 1967], but I had used up the tiny energy I’d recovered and that really wiped me out. I lost all sense of the career as writer, the career as poet. I wasn’t the hero of my legend. I was completely empty – and out of that came songs that were very intimate & very personal.quotedown2

Leonard Cohen


From Poet Writer Singer Lover Cohen by Paul Grescoe. Canadian Magazine: February 10, 1968. Originally posted Apr 10, 2014 at DrHGuy.com, a predecessor of Cohencentric

Nancy Priddy: Backing Vocalist On Songs Of Leonard Cohen

Nancy Priddy – Singer, Actress, Mother, & Leonard Cohen Backing Vocalist

Nancy Priddy is now probably better known as Nancy Applegate aka mother of actress Christina Applegate. She was also an actress herself, appearing on several television series, including Bewitched, The Waltons, and Matlock.  She was a member of The Bitter End Singers in 1964, a short lived folksinging group along with Lefty Baker, Tina Bohlmann, Bob Hider, Norris O’Neill, and Vilma Vaccaro. In 1968, she released the album You’ve Come This Way Before, now regarded as a classic of psychedelic folk. Leonard Cohen fans, however, are likely to be most interested in her role as a vocalist on Leonard Cohen’s first album, Songs Of Leonard Cohen.

Nancy Priddy explains how she came to be recruited to perform on that album in her response to an inquiry about the female backing singers on Cohen’s first three albums sent to MOJO’s “Ask Fred” column. Jim Williams, who wrote the inquiry to MOJO, provides the text of Priddy’s reply, which was published in the November 2005 issue of MOJO, in a LeonardCohenForum post:

A friend of mine saw an Ask Fred question concerning the voices behind Leonard Cohen on his first three albums. Well I don’t know about the second or third but I certainly do about the first, which contained Hey, That’s No Way To Say Goodbye, Suzanne and So Long, Marianne.

At that time I was writing with John Simon, the album’s producer, who was a very good friend. When Columbia informed him that they would put no further money into the project, John told me we’d have to finish the album together. I was delighted to do that – so I provided the female voice on the record. I believe John song with me on So Long, Marianne, but I certainly did Suzanne and Hey, That’s No Way To Say Goodbye.

John and I loved Leonard’s songs, and when we played our additional vocals to him he seemed to love our work in return. I often think about the first time John played Leonard’s work for me in that darkish studio, late night in New York. Little did any of us know what would happen with those songs – especially the record label!

Video: Nancy Priddy – You’ve Come This Way Before 

Note: Originally posted Mar 9, 2012 at 1HeckOfAGuy.com, a predecessor of Cohencentric

Songs Of Leonard Cohen #2 On Uncut’s 50 Best Singer-Songwriter Albums


2. Leonard Cohen
Songs Of Leonard Cohen
(Columbia, 1967)

A key album for any singer-songwriter intent on turning real life experiences into song, Cohen’s debut is scattered with names, places and events explicitly drawn from his first 33 years. “Suzanne” recalls his ritualistic – and platonic – meetings in Montreal with Suzanne Verdal, while the titular woman of “So Long, Marianne” is Marianne Jensen, his lover and muse for much of the ’60s. “Sisters Of Mercy”, which dramatises a night spent with two women in an Edmonton hotel room, is the first of countless Cohen songs seeking spiritual salvation from a sensual encounter. His songs turned inward to much darker effect on Songs Of Love And Hate, but his debut album set the standard.

Uncut’s 50 Best Singer-Songwriter Albums by Tom Pinnock (Uncut: June 12, 2015)

Songs of Leonard Cohen Wins Slaight Family Polaris Heritage Prize (Jury Vote)1960-1975

slaight-heritage-prizeThe Polaris Prize Facebook Page has announced that Leonard Cohen has won the Slaight Family Polaris Heritage Prize jury vote for the period of 1960-1975 for the album Songs of Leonard Cohen


The Heritage Prize is an offshoot of the Polaris Prize. It is our version of a Hall of Fame for Canadian albums. It attempts to answer the question “what would have won or been nominated for Polaris before it started in 2006?” It is a music obsessive bar room conversation come to life.

How it works is a select group of Canadian music media and historians gather together each year to create a vote-curated list of 10 Short List-nominated albums per era. Two albums per era, one chosen by public vote and one chosen by juror vote, will be designated as Heritage Prize winners each year.

The other 1960-1975 nominees follow:

  • The Band: Music From Big Pink (1968)
  • The Band: The Band (1969)
  • Robert Charlebois & Louise Forestier: Lindberg (1968)
  • Gordon Lightfoot: Lightfoot! (1966)
  • Joni Mitchell: Court And Spark (1974)
  • The Oscar Peterson Trio: Night Train (1963)
  • Jackie Shane: Live! (1967)
  • Neil Young: Everybody Knows This Is Nowhere (1969)
  • Neil Young: After The Gold Rush (1970)

For more information, see Slaight Family Polaris Heritage Prize