Pitchfork offers an eclectic set of facts about Leonard Cohen via a narrated slideshow at Explore Leonard Cohen’s Songs of Leonard Cohen (in 5 Minutes)
From “7 Reasons Leonard Cohen Is the Next-Best Thing to God” by David Browne. Entertainment Weekly, Jan 8, 1993.
I had some trouble with my first record in getting the kind of music I wanted because I hadn’t worked with men for a long time. I had worked by myself and I forgot what was necessary to work with men. I forgot how to make your ideas known to other people. The fault was completely mine. I was unaware of the techniques of collective enterprise, I just didn’t know then. I’m a little more aware of them now.
An Interview with Leonard Cohen by Michael Harris. Duel: Winter 1969.
[Songs Of Leonard Cohen] wasn’t rock music or lyrical protest music, It was an individual sound. It wasn’t conscious. I didn’t have and still don’t have a strategy. It just didn’t feel like a career to me. I had this naive view that I would do what I did, the world would consider it to be of a certain value and pay me accordingly. That was as far as I looked into the matter. Although, as regards psychedelia, I’d been out of touch for a bit, to tell you the truth, I’d been out in Greece, living on Hydra. At that time I could live on Hydra for $1,100 a year and live a good life. So I’d come back to Canada and make a thousand bucks doing some job or other and then go back to Hydra and write and swim and sail. I bought a house there for $1,500. I still have it. All of this sounds very idyllic but it was naive and because I’d never set up a career — what Joni Mitchell later called the ‘star-stoking machinery’ — for myself, by the time the 70’s came round and everything had gotten hard-nosed and materialistic, I got wiped out. The records stopped selling, they stopped putting some of them out in America, markets dried out and by the time the 80’s arrived, I was pretty near broke.
Note: The Joni Mitchell reference is, of course, to her lyrics from Free Man In Paris:
But for the work I’ve taken on
Stoking the star maker machinery
Behind the popular song
From Porridge? Lozenge? Syringe? by Adrian Deevoy. Q Magazine: 1991. Found at LeonardCohenFiles.
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.
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 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