Music - Leonard Cohen - P5GO Traitor

Another star has gone supernova this year. How sad and intriguing. This week’s playlist of covers indicates how much-appreciated Cohen is, though. One song in particular would have been played a lot on 11/9 if his passing had not been kept secret. That is rather the issue of this week’s extra UU, while this is a tribute to the artist. The following quotes are from his ‘cultural impact and themes’ rather than listing all his rewards and records:

Writing for AllMusic, critic Bruce Eder assessed Cohen's overall career in popular music by asserting that "[he is] one of the most fascinating and enigmatic ... singer/songwriters of the late '60s ... Second only to Bob Dylan (and perhaps Paul Simon), he commands the attention of critics and younger musicians more firmly than any other musical figure from the 1960s who continued to work in the 21st century." The Academy of American Poets commented more broadly, stating that "Cohen's successful blending of poetry, fiction, and music is made most clear in Stranger Music: Selected Poems and Songs, published in 1993... while it may seem to some that Leonard Cohen departed from the literary in pursuit of the musical, his fans continue to embrace him as a Renaissance man who straddles the elusive artistic borderlines."

Themes of political and social justice also recur in Cohen's work, especially in later albums. In "Democracy", he both acknowledges political problems and celebrates the hopes of reformers: "from the wars against disorder/ from the sirens night and day/ from the fires of the homeless/ from the ashes of the gay/ Democracy is coming to the USA." He made the observation in "Tower of Song" that "the rich have got their channels in the bedrooms of the poor/ And there's a mighty judgment coming." In the title track of The Future he recasts this prophecy on a pacifist note: "I've seen the nations rise and fall/ .../ But love's the only engine of survival." In "Anthem", he promises that "the killers in high places [who] say their prayers out loud/ [are] gonna hear from me."

War is an enduring theme of Cohen's work that—in his earlier songs and early life—he approached ambivalently. Challenged in 1974 over his serious demeanor in concerts and the military salutes he ended them with, Cohen remarked, "I sing serious songs, and I'm serious onstage because I couldn't do it any other way...I don't consider myself a civilian. I consider myself a soldier, and that's the way soldiers salute."

It is a beautiful thing for us to be so deeply interested in each other. You have to write about something. Women stand for the objective world for a man, and they stand for the thing that you're not. And that's what you always reach for in a song.

Deeply moved by encounters with Israeli and Arab soldiers, he left the country to write "Lover Lover Lover". This song has been interpreted as a personal renunciation of armed conflict, and ends with the hope his song will serve a listener as "a shield against the enemy". He would later remark, "'Lover, Lover, Lover' was born over there; the whole world has its eyes riveted on this tragic and complex conflict. Then again, I am faithful to certain ideas, inevitably. I hope that those of which I am in favour will gain." Asked which side he supported in the Arab-Israeli conflict, Cohen responded, "I don't want to speak of wars or sides … Personal process is one thing, it's blood, it's the identification one feels with their roots and their origins. The militarism I practice as a person and a writer is another thing.... I don't wish to speak about war."

“Cohen is mentioned in the Nirvana song "Pennyroyal Tea" from the band's 1993 release, In Utero. Kurt Cobain wrote, "Give me a Leonard Cohen afterworld/ So I can sigh eternally." Cohen, after Cobain's suicide, was quoted as saying "I'm sorry I couldn't have spoken to the young man. I see a lot of people at the Zen Centre, who have gone through drugs and found a way out that is not just Sunday school. There are always alternatives, and I might have been able to lay something on him." He is also mentioned in the lyrics of songs by Mercury Rev and Marillion.”

Leonard Cohen – Cover tribute of other artists
Leonard Cohen Lyrics
Leonard Cohen - Live in London
Leonard Cohen on Q TV (CBC exclusive)
Leonard Cohen is also presented with a song in extra UU 2015.Sept.25. Wikipedia quotes.

Extra UU – Jennifer Warnes - First we take Manhattan (first version)

“Leonard Cohen died during his sleep following a fall in the middle of the night on Nov. 7,” Mr. Kory said in a statement. “The death was sudden, unexpected and peaceful.” (N.Y. Times) Cohen died the day before USA ‘plebian referendum’ that ended with surprising Red party’s takeover of the White House at 11/9. Yet, the announcement of Cohen’s death was postponed till after the ‘election machine’ stated the unexpected result that predetermines unpredictable alterations of USA politics. First, both President candidates took Manhattan. Next, they raced to take the White House.

"First We Take Manhattan is a song written by Leonard Cohen. It was originally recorded by Jennifer Warnes on her 1986 album Famous Blue Raincoat, which consisted entirely of songs written or co-written by Cohen. He explained in a backstage interview: "I think it means exactly what it says. It is a terrorist song. I think it's a response to terrorism. There's something about terrorism that I've always admired. The fact that there are no alibis or no compromises. That position is always very attractive. I don't like it when it's manifested on the physical plane - I don't really enjoy the terrorist activities – but Psychic Terrorism. I remember there was a great poem by Irving Layton that I once read, I'll give you a paraphrase of it. It was 'well, you guys blow up an occasional airline and kill a few children here and there', he says. 'But our terrorists, Jesus, Freud, Marx, Einstein. The whole world is still quaking.'"

“The music video for Warnes' version of First We Take Manhattan was directed by Paula Walker. Filmed in New York City, the video features Stevie Ray Vaughan playing his weathered "Number One" guitar (with its distinctive "SRV" logo) on the Brooklyn Bridge. Cohen also appears with Warnes in the video. Leonard Cohen's own version of ‘First We Take Manhattan’ had additional verses and was released on his album I'm Your Man. On his 1988 tour, Cohen introduced the new, funk-influenced arrangement. Cohen's studio recording plays over the closing credits of the 2009 film Watchmen.”

“R.E.M. contributed a cover for the Cohen tribute album I'm Your Fan. Joe Cocker covered it on his album No Ordinary World. Warren Zevon, citing Cohen as one of his favorite songwriters, performed the song on tour in support of the Mr. Bad Example album accompanied by Odds. Other artists to cover the song include Show of Hands, Von Thronstahl, Cookies 'N' Beans, Do Not Forsake Me Oh My Darling, Boris Grebenshchikov, Yasmine, Sirenia, Maxx Klaxon, Tyskarna från Lund, Enrique Morente, Spikeyapples, and Widespread Panic.” (Ref Wikipedia)

Jennifer Warnes: First We Take Manhattan + Lyrics
The song ‘First We Take Manhattan* is previously presented in UU 2012.juni.15 and UU 2010.okt.08.