Celebrating 50 years of ‘Songs of Love and Hate’

50 years ago, Leonard Cohen released his album Songs Of Love And Hate. In celebration of this milestone, a special edition of Songs of Love and Hate will be released on vinyl, on November 26th, for Record Store Day.

This special RSD 50th anniversary edition of Leonard Cohen’s third studio album is pressed on 180g opaque white vinyl, includes a brand new 8-page 12×12 lyric booklet. The audio has been sourced from the original analogue tapes via a new direct digital transfer and the album jacket replicates the original package.

Click here to find your nearest local record store.

Celebrating 50 years of ‘Songs of Love and Hate’

SONGS OF LOVE AND HATE

LEONARD COHEN - SONGS OF LOVE AND HATE - 50TH ANNIVERSARY

RELIVE THE MAGIC OF THIS ICONIC ALBUM EVERYWHERE YOU ENJOY MUSIC

SONGS OF LOVE AND HATE LIVE PERFORMANCES

Songs of Love and Hate was Leonard Cohen’s 3rd studio album, and released on March 19th, 1971. Although this album was not an immediate commercial success, this album quickly became a milestone in Cohen’s career, and was considered “iconic”, even now, 50 years later. To celebrate this important history, we gathered here a few anecdotes on the songs of this album:

1. AVALANCHE

The first song on the album, “Avalanche” was produced by Bob Johnston. Johnston also produced Leonard’s previous album, Songs From A Room. The song made Rolling Stone’s’ “25 Songs That Are Truly Terrifying.” The song “finds Cohen playing his classic role of stygian bard to perfection. Over rolling flamenco guitar and swelling strings, he portrays a hunchback living at the bottom of a gold mine: ‘Your laws do not compel me/To kneel grotesque and bare,’ he sneers. Even as the song edges into dark obsession and, eventually, pure horror (‘It is your turn, beloved/It is your flesh that I wear’), Cohen’s voice maintains a trancelike composure.” – Rolling Stone, October 15, 2019

Artist Nick Cave first covered the song on his 1984 album From Her To Eternity. Consequence of Sound said about the cover, “This time around, Cave opts for a more minimalist approach, paring away the dark atmosphere of the first cover to leave a delicate piano ballad brimming with melancholy.”  –  January 10, 2015

When asked by Steven Blush who has done the best job with his music and who has butchered it, Leonard turns the question on its head. He said, “There have probably been some who have butchered it, but I’ve generally liked the job that people have done with it. I guess you could say Nick Cave butchered my song, ‘Avalanche,’ and if that’s the case, let there be more butchers like that.” — Seconds, June/July 1993

2. LAST YEAR’S MAN

London’s Corona Academy provided the children’s vocals on “Last Year’s Man.” Leonard has never performed this particular song in front of a live audience.

On the back cover of 1975’s The Best Of Leonard Cohen, Leonard says, “I don’t know why but I like this song. I used to play it on a Mexican twelve-string until I destroyed the instrument by jumping on it in a fit of impotent fury in 1967. The song had too many verses and it took about five years to sort out the right ones. I like the children in this version. I always wait for them if I have to listen to it.”

In Pitchfork’s review of the album, they name “Last Year’s Man,” along with “Avalanche” and “Famous Blue Raincoat,” demonstrating Leonard in “his finest, subtlest form…[These songs] alone justify the album’s classic status. Despite its relative flaws, it’s an indispensable document in the development of one of the 20th century’s most enduring artists. Cohen potently captures the pull between safety and the unknown, love and freedom, spirituality and sensuality: a panoramic view of human experience, rendered through the work of one exceptional artist.” — Brian Howe, May 4, 2007

Sputnik Music says, “’Last Year’s Man’ uses the chord sequence to great effect. The major chords are immediately countered with the minor chords in such a way that it leads the listener on an emotional rollercoaster; the major chords are placed in the sequence in a way that lifts the soul, whereas the minor chords brings it crashing back down; and the fact that soul was lifted just seconds previously makes the crash all the more bitter. The lyrics are depressing in nature; it talks about failure, and desperation amounting to nothing. It is very hard not to be moved at some core point of the soul by this song (as long as you pay attention to the lyrics), and the chords echo the lyrics to tremendous effect. This song really does leave the listener very low.” – Gur Samuel, October 9, 2005

3. DRESS REHEARSAL RAG

“Dress Rehearsal Rag” was featured in the 2003 film The Favourite Game by Bernar Hébert, based on the novel by Leonard Cohen. The film was produced by Michel Ouellette for Cine Qua Non Films.

“’Dress Rehearsal Rag’… contains the sort of symbolistic lyrics that makes one wonder how the hell Cohen manages to get through life. It was certainly very depressing, with the use of incredibly screwed-up images. Cohen’s voice was its usual melancholic self, but seemed more hypnotic than ever. The overall quality of the track was brilliant.” – Roy Hollingworth, Melody Maker, January 2, 1971

Leonard met with Judy Collins in the mid-1960s hoping she would record one of his songs. He played Collins three different songs, “She promptly snapped up one for her next album: ‘Dress Rehearsal Rag.’ ‘Talk about dark,’ she told [Sylvie] Simmons, ‘a song about suicide. I attempted suicide myself at fourteen, before I found folk music, so of course I loved it. We were desperately looking for something unusual for my album and when I heard ‘Dress Rehearsal Rag,’ that was it.” Collins released the song in 1966. – I’m Your Fan: The Songs of Leonard Cohen

“There are songs like ‘Dress Rehearsal Rag’ that I recorded once and I will never sing. Judy Collins did a very beautiful version of it, better than mine. I would never do that song in concert, I can’t get behind it.” – Leonard Cohen, SongTalk, April 1993

4. DIAMONDS IN THE MINE

Prior to his performance of “Diamonds In The Mine” in Munich in March 1985, Leonard explained that the song was “an old song about how little there is. Even when there was a lot, there was little. But now that there is little, there’s even less.”

Background vocals for “Diamonds In The Mine,” as well as all other songs on the album were provided by Corlynn Hanney and Susan Mussmano. Both women also toured with Leonard in 1970. “Diamonds In The Mine” appears on Leonard’s album, Live At The Isle Of Wight 1970, on both record and DVD.

Francis Mus points out in her book, The Demons of Leonard Cohen, that normally Leonard just uses his background singers to “..enhance certain passages or to support his voice, but every now and then they are brought into the universe of his songs as fully fledged characters. In ‘Diamonds In The Mine’ he wants to inform his audience that his relationship can no longer be salvaged. ‘You tell them now,’ he sings in a commanding tone of voice, and to reinforce his message he has his backing singers repeat the verse.”

5. LOVE CALLS YOU BY YOUR NAME

“Love Calls You By Your Name” was a minor rewrite of an unpublished 1967 song called “Love Tries to Call You by Your Name.” Leonard introduced the song “Love Calls You By Your Name” to his Berlin audience in 1974 by explaining, “Here’s a song that searches out the middle place between the beginning and the end of things.”

Allegedly, in the song when Leonard calls out “Where are you, Judy?” and “Where are you, Anne?”, these were references to women he had relationships with in the mid-1950s. — Leonard Cohen, Untold Stories: The Early Years

The string arrangement was provided by Paul Buckmaster, who provided both the string and horn arrangements for songs on the album and acted as conductor.

6. FAMOUS BLUE RAINCOAT

In 1976, Cohen tells the tale of his blue raincoat. “I had a good raincoat then, a Burberry I got in London in 1959. Elizabeth thought I looked like a spider in it . . . . It hung more heroically when I took out the lining, and achieved glory when the frayed sleeves were repaired with a little leather . . . . I knew how to dress in those days. It was stolen from Marianne’s loft in New York sometime during the early ’70s. I wasn’t wearing it very much toward the end.” – Vogue, November 11, 2016

Speaking about the song “Famous Blue Raincoat,” Leonard told the BBC “The problem with that song is that I’ve forgotten the actual triangle. Whether it was my own – of course, I always felt that there was an invisible male seducing the woman I was with – now whether this one was incarnate or merely imaginary, I don’t remember… but secretly I’ve always felt that there was something about the song that was unclear.” — Leonard, BBC Radio 1 programme broadcasted August 7, 1994.

Jennifer Warnes singles out “Famous Blue Raincoat” as one of Cohen’s best melodies. “Leonard is not known for his great melodies, but he actually is a great melody writer,” she told Songfacts. “If you take the words off and just listen to the melodies, he’s really, really good. It’s just not known, because we’re so distracted by the poetry.” In 1987, Warnes released an entire album of Cohen’s songs called Famous Blue Raincoat.Songfacts

Paul Zollo asked Leonard about the song “Famous Blue Raincoat” and Leonard confessed, “That was one I thought was never finished. And I thought that Jennifer Warnes’ version in a sense was better because I worked on a different version for her, and I thought it was somewhat more coherent. But I always thought that that was a song you could see the carpentry in a bit. Although there are some images in it that I am very pleased with. And the tune is real good. But I’m willing to defend it, saying it was impressionistic. It’s stylistically coherent. And I can defend it if I have to. But secretly I always felt that there was a certain incoherence that prevented it from being a great song.” – SongTalk, April 1993

In a Rolling Stone readers’ poll from November 2014, “Famous Blue Raincoat” was voted as the third favourite Leonard Cohen song, only surpassed by “Suzanne” and “Hallelujah.”

7. SING ANOTHER SONG, BOYS

This is the only live song appearing on the studio album Songs Of Love And Hate. “Sing Another Song, Boys” was recorded during Leonard’s performance at the Isle of Wight Festival on August 30, 1970. The performance would later appear on Leonard’s Live At The Isle Of Wight 1970 album and DVD.

Before performing “Sing Another Song, Boys,” in Frankfurt in May 1970, Leonard told the audience, “This is a song about a man and a woman… The song pertains to dissect the intimate connections in the ordinary relationship. Coming to no satisfactory conclusions, the author of the melody abandons it and begins another song. Hence the title, ‘Let’s Sing Another Song, Boys.’ At which point, in the author’s mind, he envisions the audience rising to its feet, their throats burning, and singing the new song which speaks of the end of all the tyrannies that we place upon each other in the living room, and the song is completed with a great triumphant march on the Bastille.”

Alan Attwood describes this song as “a raucous, shambolic, ranting wreck of a song, which ends with a well-oiled Leonard chanting instead of singing… But it has these lines:

Ah, they’ll never, they’ll never ever reach the moon,
At least not the one that we’re after.

“Not the one we’re after… I’ve always loved that… I still play the song from time to time. It’s a toe-tapper.” — Stereo Stories, July 1969 (Although the album came out in 1971, Leonard was performing it live in concert prior).

Charlie Daniels plays guitar as well as most others on the album. He also toured with Leonard in 1970 and would go on to form his own band and release the Grammy-award winning hit, “The Devil Went Down to Georgia.”

8. JOAN OF ARC

Before performing “Joan Of Arc” in Paris in October 1974, Leonard told the audience, “This song was written for a German girl I used to know. She’s a great singer; I love her songs. I recently read an interview where she was asked about me and my work. And she said, ‘I was completely unnecessary.’ Anyhow, I hope she’s not here. This song came through her.” The German singer Leonard spoke of is believed to be Nico, who sang with the Velvet Underground.

“I was thinking more of this sense of a destiny that human beings have and how they meet and marry their destiny… I don’t want to suggest in that song that what she really wanted was to be a housewife. What I mean to say is that as lonely and as solitudinous as she was, she had to meet and be embraced by her destiny… Seen from the point of view of the women’s movement she really does stand for something stunningly original and courageous.” – Leonard in a 1988 interview with John McKenna of RTÉ

“Another track told a tale of Joan of Arc – as she was being burned. Cohen personified the flames, it was all very emotional – again very simple musically – but more effective than anything I’ve ever heard him do.” — Roy Hollingworth, Melody Maker, January 2, 1971

“It was a strange song indeed,” Cohen said of the song, “It was out of myself and contained the notion of reverence. When I recorded that song I will admit to having a strong religious feeling. I don’t think it’ll happen again.” — New Musical Express, March 10, 1973

Kathleen Kendall asked Leonard if “Joan Of Arc” was a sexist song and he explained, “It might be, but I think it is on the side of women. But more accurately, I think it is just a song about the total gift of total giving and the total consummation of the spirit in that kind of experience. It takes in the whole shot to be man and woman.” — WBAI Radio, December 4, 1974

LEONARD COHEN’S “THANKS FOR THE DANCE” VIDEO DEBUTS TODAY

LEADING FASHION PHOTOGRAPHER HARLEY WEIR JOINS
INTERNATIONAL ARTIST ROSTER TO SHARE
HER ARTISTIC INTERPRETATION OF THE MASTER’S LYRICS

Thanks for the Dance

WATCH Thanks For The Dance

LISTEN TO Thanks For The Dance

[February 25, 2020] The title track from Leonard Cohen’s critically acclaimed posthumous release Thanks For The Dance, premiered on NOWNESS yesterday and VEVO today.

London-based photographer Harley Weir is the latest contemporary artist invited by NOWNESS to share her artistic interpretation of title track “Thanks For The Dance”. “I’m a huge fan of Leonard Cohen,” says Weir. “His lyrics are so raw and yet so warm. I am honoured to be a part of his legacy.” With her fresh and incomparable eye for the expressive and emotive, Weir’s images speak to the universal appeal and eternal quality of Leonard Cohen’s timelessly inspiring music.

Weir’s lyrical tapestry weaves together visual totems for birth, growth and death through which American actress Rowan Blanchard (Girl Meets World/The Goldbergs) plays a bride caught between the pain of transition and the promise of rebirth. Adding to the cast is British model, actor and entrepreneur Lily Cole, posed in the style of Botticelli’s Venus and surrounded by a trio of infants to conjure an image of love, fertility and new life.

Released last year, and nominated for a 2020 JUNO Award for ‘Adult Alternative Album of the Year’, Thanks For The Dance was an unexpected harvest of new songs from the master. Collaborating with producer Adam Cohen, friends and colleagues gathered to support and complete the work Leonard had begun, making an album that echoes the sounds of his catalogue, yet remains fresh, current and impactful.

“Thanks For The Dance” is the latest video in the series Thanks for the Dance: Artistic Responses to Leonard Cohen. Created by NOWNESS, the series offers a video representation of the album; an imagery interpretation of Cohen’s life and lyrics that is deeply personal to each filmmaker involved.

“MOVING ON” THE NEW VIDEO FROM LEONARD COHEN’S ALBUM ‘THANKS FOR THE DANCE’ DEBUTS TODAY

‘THANKS FOR THE DANCE’ RECEIVES JUNO AWARD NOMINATION FOR ‘ADULT ALTERNATIVE ALBUM OF THE YEAR’

WATCH: Moving On

LISTEN: Thanks For The Dance here

What the press is saying about Thanks For The Dance:

“Thanks for the Dance is full of trenchant insights and gorgeous poetry”
SPIN

“The intimate, reverberating vocals reaching one’s bones”
The Globe and Mail

“Leonard Cohen’s Profound ‘Thanks for the Dance’ Is a Posthumous Grace Note”
Rolling Stone

“Posthumous album showcases fearless artistry right to the end”
NME

[January 31, 2020]  “Moving On” the next video off Leonard Cohen’s JUNO Award nominated posthumous release Thanks For The Dance, made its debut on NOWNESS yesterday and VEVO today.

The video by Laure Prouvost and collaborator Ciarán Wood, is an image-laden tribute to the Greek Island of Hydra, a beloved refuge and retreat Leonard favored throughout his life.

“There’s a nostalgic Mediterranean romance in the music and the vocal delivery,” said Adam Cohen, the late musician’s son and producer of Thanks For The Dance, in a recent interview. “We wanted to conjure the narrator’s memories of Hydra, Greece, put him back in the house where he wrote “Bird On A Wire” with the ghostly presence of Marianne in the next room.”

Through first-person filming, Prouvost, who recently represented France at the Venice Biennale, gives the viewer a sense that they are walking in the musician’s footsteps, across an island courted by the deep blue Aegean Sea, and mostly unmarked by the passage of time.

Released last year, and nominated for a 2020 JUNO Award for ‘Adult Alternative Album of the Year’, Thanks For The Dance was an unexpected harvest of new songs from the master. Collaborating with producer Adam Cohen, friends and colleagues gathered to support and complete the work Leonard had begun, making an album that echoes the sounds of his catalogue, yet remains fresh, current and impactful. 

To celebrate the album, NOWNESS released the series: Thanks for the Dance: Artistic Responses to Leonard Cohen . Each video offers a distinct video representation of the music, a imagery interpretation of Cohen’s life and lyrics that is deeply personal to each filmmaker involved

LEONARD COHEN’S THANKS FOR THE DANCE AVAILABLE TODAY; Moving Mini-Documentary Illustrates The Journey Of The Album

Thanks For The Dance

(November 22, 2019)  Leonard Cohen’s remarkable new album Thanks For The Dance, arrives today.  Featuring several musical guests, Thanks For The Dance is an unexpected harvest of new songs from the master.   

Collaborating with producer Adam Cohen, friends and colleagues gathered to support and complete the work Leonard had begun, making an album that echoes the sounds of his catalogue, yet remains fresh, current and impactful. 

The mini-documentary, “The Story of Thanks For The Dance,” created in conjunction with the La Blogothèque team and released today, includes interviews with producer Adam Cohen, engineer Michael Chaves and album contributors Leslie Feist, Daniel Lanois, Richard Reed Perry (Arcade Fire), Zac Rae (Death Cab For Cutie), Damien Rice  and Patrick Watson. Each of those involved reflect on the journey, exploring their contributions and the meaning behind the album.

Click here to view.

To celebrate the album release, NOWNESS released the series: Thanks for the Dance: Artistic Responses to Leonard Cohen . Each video offers a distinct video representation of the music, a imagery interpretation of Cohen’s life and lyrics that is deeply personal to each filmmaker involved.

Leonard Cohen is one of the most enduring cultural icons in modern history. His music, writing and art continues to inspire and influence audiences around the world. 

To stream or download Thanks For The Dance click here.

Thanks For The Dance

  1. Happens to the Heart
  2. Moving On    
  3. The Night of Santiago
  4. Thanks for the Dance
  5. It’s Torn          
  6. The Goal        
  7. Puppets          
  8. The Hills         
  9. Listen to the Hummingbird

LEONARD COHEN’S “HAPPENS TO THE HEART” DEBUTS TODAY

COLLABORATION WITH NOWNESS ANNOUNCED FOR A VIBRANT VIDEO INTERPRETATION OF COHEN’S MASTERFUL LYRICS

Leonard Cohen - Happens to the Heart

‘Thanks For The Dance’ Available November 22, 2019

(October 25, 2019)  After the album’s initial taste of “The Goal”, “Happens To The Heart” is the first official single from the remarkable new album Thanks For The Dance, an unexpected harvest of new songs from the master, Leonard Cohen. An elegant continuation of his work, Thanks For The Dance was produced by his son Adam Cohen, and engineered and mixed by Michael Chaves.

“Happens To The Heart” features long-time collaborator Javier Mas, who flew from Barcelona to LA to capture the artist’s spirit on Leonard’s own guitar; the Berlin-based stargaze orchestra; famed producer Daniel Lanois on piano; and Zac Rae from Death Cab For Cutie on felt piano. Listen here.

Leonard Cohen is one of the most enduring cultural icons in modern history. His music, writing and art continues to inspire and influence audiences around the world.  In celebration of the release of Thanks For The Dance, Nowness has collaborated with Adam Cohen, to commission new moving-image works from a global roster of filmmakers and visual artists selected from the Nowness universe.  Thanks for the Dance: Artistic Responses to Leonard Cohen, offers a distinct video representation of the music that inspires and accompanies it, an interpretation of Cohen’s life and lyrics that is deeply personal to each filmmaker involved.

Directed and conceived by Daniel Askill, “Happens To The Heart” extends Cohen’s storytelling and explores the core thematics of his poetic lyrics.  Askill, who called the invitation to participate in the project “a humbling honor”, is known for artistic creations using film, photographs, video installation and sculpture in his work, and has directed short films, commercials, fashion films and music videos (Sia, Placebo, Phoenix). “The idea came quickly and effortlessly on my first listening to the music,” Askill commented, “I wanted to make something that spoke to Leonard’s years as a Zen Monk. A quiet symbolic visual narrative that would chart the letting go of ego and the trappings of fame… and the transition into something pure and transcendent.”

The album Thanks For The Dance will be released on November 22 and can be pre-ordered here.

NEW MUSIC FROM LEONARD COHEN

THANKS FOR THE DANCE - LEONARD COHEN

“The Goal” First Track From ‘Thanks For The Dance’

In a posthumous new album, Leonard Cohen has robbed death of the last word.

‘Thanks for the Dance’ is not a commemorative collection of B sides and outtakes, but an unexpected harvest of new songs, exciting and vital, a continuation of the master’s final work. It will be released on November 22, and is available by pre-order today.

Seven months after his father passed, Adam Cohen retreated to a converted garage in his backyard down the street from Leonard’s house, to work with his father again, to stay in the company of his voice. From their previous collaboration on ‘You Want It Darker’ there remained bare musical sketches, at times little more than vocals. Leonard had asked his son to bring these works to completion.

This remarkable new album was made in many places. Javier Mas, the great Spanish laud player who accompanied Leonard on stage for the last eight years of touring, flew from Barcelona to Los Angeles to capture the artist’s spirit on Leonard’s own guitar. In Berlin, at a musical event called People Festival, Adam invited friends and comrades to lend their ears and talents. Damien Rice and Leslie Feist sang. Richard Reed Parry of Arcade Fire played bass. Bryce Dessner of The National played guitar, the composer Dustin O’Halloran played piano. The Berlin-based choir Cantus Domus sang, and the s t a r g a z e orchestra played. In Montrealthe famed producer Daniel Lanois dropped in, beautifully enriching sparse arrangements. The Shaar Hashomayim choir, who played such important part of the sound of the last album, contributed to a song, and Patrick Watson brought his inimitable talent as co-producer to a song. Back in Los Angeles Jennifer Warnes, one of the keepers of Leonard’s flame, sang background vocals, and Beck contributed on guitar and Jew’s harp. Michael Chaves, who elegantly recorded and mixed ‘You Want It Darker’, did the engineering and mixing.

And so was born ‘Thanks For The Dance’, a brand new Leonard Cohen album that uncannily recalls the essence of his sound.

“In composing and arranging the music for his words, we chose his most characteristic musical signatures, in this way keeping him with us,” said Adam Cohen. “What moves me most about the album is the startled response of those who have heard it. ‘Leonard lives’! they say, one after the other.”

‘Thanks for the Dance’ is an unexpected blessing, a gift of beauty and strength. Leonard Cohen’s voice has not been stilled. The dance goes on.

Today, “The Goal” premieres, the first of a series of videos from the album. Watch here.

Thanks For The Dance

  1. Happens to the Heart
  2. Moving On
  3. The Night of Santiago
  4. Thanks for the Dance
  5. It’s Torn
  6. The Goal
  7. Puppets
  8. The Hills
  9. Listen to the Hummingbird

The Flame

Leonard Cohen’s The Flame will be translated into numerous languages. Here is a list of the editions planned and their publication dates:

  • The Flame – English (US) – Farrar, Straus and Giroux – Publication Date October 2, 2018
  • The Flame – English (Canada) – McClelland & Stewart – Publication Date October 2, 2018
  • The Flame – English (UK) – Canongate – Publication Date October 2, 2018
  • Die Flamme: Bilingual edition – German/English – Kiepenheuer & Witsch – Publication Date October 4, 2018
  • Bilingual edition – France/French – Seuil – Publication Date October 11, 2018
  • Płomień – Poland/Polish – Rebis – Publication Date October 30, 2018.
  • Portugal/Portuguese – Relogio d’Agua – Publication Date End of October.
  • Finland/Finnish -Sammakko – Publication Date October 2018 (exact date to be confirmed in September).

The Flame - Leonard Cohen

AMAZON

Leonard Cohen

It is with profound sorrow we report that legendary poet, songwriter and artist, Leonard Cohen has passed away.

We have lost one of music’s most revered and prolific visionaries.

A memorial will take place in Los Angeles at a later date.  The family requests privacy during their time of grief.

**

C’est avec une profonde tristesse que nous vous annonçons que le poète, auteur-compositeur et artiste légendaire, Leonard Cohen est décédé.

Le monde de la musique a perdu un de ses visionnaires les plus prolifiques et vénérés.

Une cérémonie aura lieu à Los Angeles dans les prochains jours.  La famille souhaite vivre le deuil en toute intimité.