Songs For Rebecca – The Lost Leonard Cohen Album: The Songs

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Songs For Rebecca – The Lost Leonard Cohen Album

This is the third and final post in the Songs For Rebecca – The Lost Leonard Cohen Album series.1 Previous posts include a discussion of the name of the project, i.e., Songs For Rebecca, was previously published at Leonard Cohen’s Abandoned Album – Songs For Rebecca: Who’s Rebecca? and Collaborator John Lissauer On The Project, How It Began, & How It Ended. This post examines and offers live performances of the tracks recorded for this project.

The Songs Of Songs For Rebecca

Determining which songs were destined for Songs For Rebecca is not an easy task. Lists vary from one source to another, some songs were written specifically for the project, some were revisions of previously recorded songs, the names of some songs changed when they were re-worked later…

William Ruhlmann, writing in The Stranger Music of Leonard Cohen (Goldmine, February 19, 1993) describes the tracks recorded for Songs For Rebecca – and offers support for “The Lost Leonard Cohen Album” part of the title of this series:

After the album’s [the album was New Skin For The Old Ceremony] release, Cohen and Lissauer began work on a new album that has never been released. “We did, I’d say, a side and a half,” Cohen recalls, “I mean, six or seven songs together. I don’t know why I squelched that. It just didn’t have the… It had some great tunes on it, and I finally used one of them, “Came So Far From Beauty,’ on a record [1979’s Recent Songs]. But there were lots of tunes. There was ‘Guerrero,’ that nobody’s ever heard or seen, but we did it on the tour and recorded it. There was an early song called ‘Anthem,’ no relation to this ‘Anthem’ [on The Future]. I can’t find the thing, I can’t find the tapes of it.”

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  1. A more precise title might be “Songs For Rebecca – The Abandoned Leonard Cohen Album” – but “Lost Album” is more dramatic and, as it turns out, accurate as well. But, more about that later in this post. []

Video: Old Navy Jeans Ad – Madeleine Peyroux Covers Blue Alert By Leonard Cohen & Anjani Thomas (2007)

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flirtjeans

Old Navy Blue Alert

Medically incapacitated, I have regrettably increased the time I spend watching TV or, more accurately, being in the same room with a TV playing. Today, in the midst of a rerun of “My Name Is Earl,” I found myself humming along to Blue Alert, did a double take, and realized that the source of the song was an Old Navy commercial .

Knowing that Leonard Cohen songs (Blue Alert is, of course, a song produced by the collaboration between Anjani Thomas and Leonard Cohen) have only rarely appeared in advertisements, I began searching for details but have found little information, at least in my initial forays, beyond what I directly observed, i.e., a 30 second version of Blue Alert is part of the advertising program for Old Navy’s “New Denim” Jeans.

The Flirt

Note that the line from the song, “You’re such a flirt,” is sung simultaneously with the video sequence focused on Old Navy’s “Flirt” style of jeans.

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Watch The Commercial

Old Navy Blue Alert Jeans Ad (Basic)
Madeleine Peyroux Covering Blue Alert By Leonard Cohen & Anjani Thomas
Appearances by  Florence Faivre, Sam Saffman, Judith Bedard, Zoe Havier And Matt Loewen.

 

Old Navy Blue Alert Jeans Ad (Creative Director’s Cut)
Madeleine Peyroux Covering Blue Alert By Leonard Cohen & Anjani Thomas
Appearances by  Florence Faivre, Sam Saffman, Judith Bedard, Zoe Havier And Matt Loewen. And Little Avec, The Puppy.

 

For other posts on this topic, see Ads For Other Products Featuring Leonard Cohen

Originally posted Aug 9, 2007 at 1HeckOfAGuy.com, a predecessor of Cohencentric

Is “The Darkness” In Falling Skies Season 3 Trailer The Best Use Of A Leonard Cohen Song In An Ad?

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fallingskiesThe Sony 3D commercial featured in an earlier post, Video: Leonard Cohen’s “That’s What I Heard You Say” Featured On Dramatic Sony Two Worlds Ad, is an exceptional use of Cohen’s A Thousand Kisses Deep.

It’s difficult, however, to find a Leonard Cohen song in a commercial (for a product other than Cohen’s own recordings and concerts) that is more intimately integrated into the ad’s mood and theme than “The Darkness” soundtrack of the trailer for Season 3 (2013) of Falling Skies – Darkness Extended.

Update: Also see

Falling Skies S3 – Darkness Extended

For other posts on this topic, see Ads For Other Products Featuring Leonard Cohen

Credit Due Department: I found this video in the TV Ads of Leonard Cohen playlist created by Roman Gavrilin aka Hermitage Prisoner

“I don’t mean to suggest that I loved you the best” Leonard Cohen Talks About That Line From Chelsea Hotel #2

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Leonard Cohen Explains “I don’t mean to suggest that I loved you the best”

Because time also is a degree in the estimation of love

Leonard Cohen

The quotation is part of Leonard Cohen’s discussion of the nature of the his relationship with Janis Joplin portrayed in his song, “Chelsea Hotel #2.” The interview is found in “The Song Of Leonard Cohen” by Harry Rasky (1979).

That key line from the final version of Chelsea Hotel, “I don’t mean to suggest that I loved you the best,” and, indeed, the entire final verse on which the sense of the song turns, is absent from Chelsea Hotel #1.

I don’t mean to suggest that I loved you the best,
I can’t keep track of each fallen robin.
I remember you well in the Chelsea Hotel,
that’s all, I don’t even think of you that often.

In contradistinction to the confession, “I don’t even think of you that often,”  the final verse of Chelsea Hotel #1, as it was played by Cohen in Tel Aviv in 1972,1 is a reluctant leave-taking:

Making your sweet little sound, I can hear you now
So, into the jukebox [?], choose your records
Listen all night now
Making your sweet little sound, baby,

Making your sweet little sound on the jukebox.
Guess I got nothing more to say to you, baby
I mean – so long, gotta leave you,
Little sound

This is in keeping with my contention, previously presented at Video: Leonard Cohen’s Elegy For Janis Joplin – Chelsea Hotel #1 (Tel Aviv 1972), that Chelsea Hotel #1 is thematically a much different song than Chelsea Hotel #2:

Chelsea Hotel #1  focuses on the death of the singer’s (i.e., Leonard Cohen’s) lover (i.e., Janis Joplin), with whom the singer identifies primarily  as an admired fellow artist and colleague and only secondarily as an object of affection or, at least, of reciprocated lust.  In Chelsea Hotel #2, the situation is reversed with the key issue becoming the  singer’s unambiguous  examination of his own feelings for and perception of the woman at the Chelsea Hotel – even if doing so results in an ignoble self-characterization.

Chelsea Hotel #2, in fact, aligns well with other Leonard Cohen songs that mark the end of  a romance, such as So Long, Marianne and Hey, That’s No Way To Say Goodbye, with unflinching observations on the psychological factors causing him to flee the relationship.

But in comparing Chelsea Hotel #1 and Chelsea Hotel #2, the kicker is that Cohen is kinder to and much more sentimental about the Janis Joplin of Chelsea Hotel #1, a singer “making a sweet little sound,” than he is to the Janis Joplin of Chelsea Hotel #2, a lover who affectionately jokes with Cohen (“You told me again you preferred handsome men/but for me you would make an exception”).  He is also – and, not incidentally – far less protective of himself in the second version.

Leonard Cohen On Chelsea Hotel #2 (1979)
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Chelsea Hotel #1

The video of Chelsea Hotel #1 and an earlier discussion of the differences between the two versions of Leonard Cohen’s Chelsea Hotel song can be found at Video: Leonard Cohen’s Elegy For Janis Joplin – Chelsea Hotel #1 (Tel Aviv 1972)

Also See “I remember you well at the Chelsea Hotel / That’s all. I don’t think of you that often” Leonard Cohen Talks About The Final Lines Of Chelsea Hotel #2

Photo of Janis Joplin by Columbia Records (Billboard page 5) [Public domain], via Wikimedia Commons. Photo of Leonard Cohen by Peter Brosseau/Library and Archives Canada/PA-170174. Originally posted Aug 16, 2011 at 1HeckOfAGuy.com, a predecessor of Cohencentric

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  1. There is no standard version of Chelsea Hotel #1.  Leonard Cohen repeatedly changed the lyrics and rearranged the order of the verses in performances. []

Léonard Constant Covers Leonard Cohen’s Dance Me To End Of Love

 

From the Facebook description:

“Dance Me to the End of Love” (Leonard Cohen) in Episode 1 of the “Quick and Dirty on the Couch” Sessions. No fuss, no special tools, no yoga, no steroids. Just the computer’s little iSight camera. Didn’t even check if the guitar was in tune before hitting the Record button… which I know will be a bugger for some, but this one was REALLY a quick and dirty one!

Thanks to Laurence of Paris, who alerted me to this video.

“I went through an anti-intellectual stage… it purifies the language. But I also lost my discipline, and my literary antecedents.” Leonard Cohen 1973

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I went through an anti-intellectual stage. It was an interesting experience — it purifies the language. But I also lost my discipline, and my literary antecedents.quotedown2

Leonard Cohen

From The Trials Of Leonard Cohen By Jack Kapica. Montreal Gazette: Aug 25, 1973. Photo by Sam Tata from the Library and Archives Canada. Originally posted July 3, 2013 at DrHGuy.com, a predecessor of Cohencentric

An Especially Clean-Cut Leonard Cohen Beside One Of His Sculptures – Montreal 1963

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In these three photos, a 29 year old Leonard Cohen, attired in a white button down shirt (with a spot on the collar) and a conservative jacket accessorized with a pocket handkerchief in what appears to be a modified two point fold, poses, according to the photo captions, “beside one of his sculptures.” A stylish band-aid on Mr Cohen’s neck completes the ensemble.

a190164-v8

a190165-v8Credit – All Photos: Allan R. Leishman/Library and Archives Canada/PA-170173

Ray Charles & Marianne – “Still companions of the heart / as I measure myself once more / against the high sweet standards / of my youth” Leonard Cohen 1978

While not as well known as his poem, “Days of Kindness,” Leonard Cohen’s “Much Later” from Book Of Longing also evocatively describes his days with Marianne, in this case, listening to Ray Charles in sun-drenched Hydra.

Much Later
From Book Of Longing by Leonard Cohen

Ray Charles singing You Win Again
in the sunlight
twenty years ago
Ray Charles the singer I would never be
and my young wife
‘the wife of my youth’
smiling at me from an upstairs room
in the old house
Ray Charles and Marianne
dear spirits of my Greek life
now in the sunshine of every new summer
Marianne coming down the steps
‘the woman of the house’
Ray Charles speaking fiercely
for our virgin humanity
Twenty years ago
and again in this Hollywood summer
still companions of the heart
as I measure myself once more
against the high sweet standards
of my youth

– Los Angeles 1978