In honour of Leonard Cohen’s eightieth birthday this week, I put together a YouTube playlist of some of my favorite songs and cover versions.
1. The Stranger Song (live 1967) from Songs of Leonard Cohen (1968)
2. Famous Blue Raincoat (live 1979) from Songs of Love and Hate (1970)
3. Bird on a Wire (live 2009) from Songs from a Room (1969)
4. Lover Lover Lover (live 1976) from New Skin for the old Ceremony (1974)
5. Who by Fire (live with Sonny Rollins) from New Skin for the Old Ceremony (1974). I also love the version of this song on Live in London (2009).
6. True Love Leaves no Traces from Death of a Ladies Man (1977)
7. Everybody Knows (live 1988) from I’m Your Man (1988)
8. If it Be Your Will (live?) from Various Positions (1984)
9. Waiting for the Miracle from The Future (1992)
10. The Darkness from Old Ideas (2012)
B Side – The Covers
1. REM, First We Take Manhattan. This is from the brilliant covers collection, I’m Your Fan: The Songs of Leonard Cohen (1991).
2. Concrete Blonde, Everybody Knows. Available on the ridiculously Generation X soundtrack to the movie Pump up the Volume (2000)
3. John Cale and Suzanne Vega, So Long Marianne
4. Martha Wainwright, The Traitor. From the soundtrack to the film I’m Your Man (2005)
5. The Pixies, I Can’t Forget. Available on I’m Your Fan: The Songs of Leonard Cohen (1991)
6. Marianne Faithful, Tower of Song from Vagabond Ways (1999). After being the subject of Leonard Cohen’s famous So Long Marianne, I love her take on this rather egotistical song.
7. Tori Amos, Famous Blue Raincoat (live). This is from the tribute album Tower of Song (1995).
8. Kate Gibson, Dance me to the End of Love. Dream pop Cohen. Available on the soundtrack to Strange Days (1999).
9. K.D. Lang, Hallelujah (live). The Jeff Buckley version is amazing, but I prefer K.D’s because I am a lesbian …. and a sap. Available on Hymns of the 49th Parallel (2004)
10. Johnny Cash, Bird on a Wire, from Unearthed (2003). Magic moment: orchestra kicking in at the line beginning “If I, if I have been unkind …”