Until last year the best show I’d seen was hands down the 2001 Austin Music Awards in 2001 when John Cale of the Velvet Underground did a duet with Alejandro Escovedo of Leonard Cohen’s Hallelujah which is my favorite song of all time and if ANY of you say that Jeff Buckley’s whiny-ass version was superior to the original even though the original had those awful cheesy synths, I will BAN YOU FOREVER SO DON’T TEST ME ON THIS OKAY.
Today’s Monday Hotness is responsible for the single best live performance I’ve ever seen (including theater, ballet AND that Vietnamese lady who did a trick I totally thought was an urban legend and which I can never, EVER unsee). He put on a three hour show and then came out for SEVEN encores of two or three songs each.
The man, the legend, the only guy I’d leave the Archbishop for: Leonard Cohen.
He was a successful Canadian poet for a decade before he recorded his first album, “Songs of Leonard Cohen” in 1967.
Cohen didn’t fit in with the naivete of the folk movement and his next releases including “Songs from a Room” and “Songs of Love and Hate” (two sentimental favorites) grew increasingly dark and introspective.
“New Skin for the Old Ceremony” released in 1974 is probably his babymakin-est album and in the song Chelsea Hotel #2 he sings a song recalling an unnamed woman “you were famous, your heart was a legend” who had provided him an Intimate Service in the famous hotel.
In a rare moment of indiscretion (at least of that variety) Cohen revealed the mystery woman was Janis Joplin who, having died four years before the album’s release, never got the chance to defend herself. Cohen said revealing her name was the one great regret of his career.
The in my early 20’s I explored his catalog (I’d like to put a knowing “If you know what I mean” but sadly it was not to be) and fell in love with pretty much everything he ever did because if there’s one thing I love it’s a mystic with a dirty mind.
and let’s make no mistake, for all his sainted melancholy, Mister Cohen is a dirty, dirty bird as I suspect all great spiritual men are (what, you think I like the Archbishop because I’ve got an eyebrow fetish?)
I mean RIGHT?
The one misstep in his discographical career is the production of Various Positions where the Evil Synthesizers of 80’s Death do their best to ruin several of the best songs in the English language including Hallelujah (and again, do NOT test me) and If it Be Your Will.
I’ve had several religious experiences in my life –including the weekend Andre proposed and took me to the top floor shoe salon at Saks Fifth Avenue ON Fifth Avenue and told me I could have everything I wanted– but only two have ever come close to sitting in Row A for Leonard Cohen’s first concert in the United States in 16 years, and all spiritual matters aside, when you’re a 75 year old Buddhist folk singer and sweet young things are still throwing their bras at you? That’s some serious Hotness. Amen.