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Leonard Cohen on Leonard Cohen: Interviews and Encounters (Musicians in Their Own Words) [Hardcover]

Jeff Burger
5.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (1 customer review)

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Book Description

1 April 2014 Musicians in Their Own Words
Leonard Cohen, one of the most admired performers of the last half century, has had a stranger-than-fiction, roller-coaster ride of a life. Now, for the first time, he tells his story in his own words, via more than 50 interviews conducted world-wide between 1966 and 2012. In this book -- which includes a foreword by singer Suzanne Vega and eight pages of rarely seen photos -- the artist talks about "Bird on the Wire", "Hallelujah", and his other classic songs. He candidly discusses his famous romances, his years in a Zen monastery, his ill-fated collaboration with producer Phil Spector, his long battle with depression, and much more. You will find interviews that first appeared in the New York Times and Rolling Stone, but also conversations that have not previously been printed in English. Some of the material here has not been available until now in any format, including the many illuminating reminiscences that contributors supplied specifically for this definitive anthology.
--This text refers to the Paperback edition.

Product details

  • Hardcover: 624 pages
  • Publisher: Chicago Review Press (1 April 2014)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1613747586
  • ISBN-13: 978-1613747582
  • Product Dimensions: 23.1 x 15.2 x 4.6 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 5.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (1 customer review)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 16,328 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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Product Description


The past two years have been good to the enigmatic and sometimes mysterious Cohen. He released Old Ideas, his first studio album in eight years, to wide acclaim, and Sylvie Simmons published a highly praised biography of Cohen, I m Your Man. Now we get to hear the man himself in these interviews that music writer Burger gathers from various music magazines and newspapers some hard to find and others not previously published in English from 1966 to the present. On his musical predecessors: I am very much aware of where I stood in a long line of singers or poets... and to be one of the figures that allows the tradition to continue is very gratifying. In an early interview, Cohen comments that he doesn t go around looking for joy. I don t go around looking for melancholy either... I m not on an archaeological expedition. In the most recent interview, from 2012, Cohen reflects on the nature of song: Song operates on so many levels... it addresses the heart in its ordeals and its defeats but it is also useful in getting the dishes done or cleaning the house. Every collection like this has its uneven and repetitious moments, but Burger s discerning editorial hand selects those conversations with Cohen that offer insights into his music. For longtime and fans as well as newcomers to Cohen s work. --Publishers Weekly

Burger (editor, Business Jet Traveler; Springsteen on Springsteen: Interviews, Speeches, and Encounters) presents a close-up and personal portrait of novelist, poet, singer/songwriter, cult figure, and sometime philosopher Leonard Cohen (b. 1934) through more than 50 collected interviews conducted between 1966 and 2012. Montreal-born Cohen s literary style was heavily influenced by the Spanish poet Federico García Lorca, the Beats, Pete Seeger, the Almanac ¬Singers, and the synagogue prayers of his childhood. His 1966 encounter with folk singer Judy Collins and her subsequent recording of his song Suzanne led to the start of his recording career. Cohen s later work, Hallelujah, has become a modern-day hymn, covered by the likes of Jeff Buckley, Rufus Wainwright, John Cale, and others. ¬VERDICT This book will appeal to Cohen aficionados and researchers. Readers will gain a wealth of information about his take on life while enduring the repetition of facts that occurs with multiple interviews. Those interested in further exploration would enjoy Sylvie Simmons s 2012 biography, I m Your Man: The Life of Leonard Cohen, which covers the artist s early years and Stranger Music: Selected Poems and Songs, a notable comp¬ilation of his best works. Elizabeth D. Eisen, Appleton P.L., WI --Library Journal --This text refers to the Paperback edition.

About the Author

Jeff Burger has covered popular music for American and international magazines and newspapers for four decades. He has also published interviews with such musicians as Bruce Springsteen, Tom Waits, Billy Joel, the Righteous Brothers, and the members of Steely Dan. He has contributed to more than 75 periodicals, books, and websites, including the Los Angeles Times, Reader's Digest and Family Circle and Gentlemen's Quarterly. A former consulting editor at Time Inc., he has been editor of several magazines, He lives in Ridgewood, New Jersey. --This text refers to the Paperback edition.

Inside This Book (Learn More)
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Front Cover | Copyright | Table of Contents | Excerpt | Index | Back Cover
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Most Helpful Customer Reviews
1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A magnificent read. 7 April 2014
Format:Hardcover|Verified Purchase
From start to finish I found this collection hard to put down as it included many items I hadn't come across before; well done to Mr. Burger for producing this gem... so many of my friends have now bought on my recommendation and are also delighted.
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Most Helpful Customer Reviews on (beta) 3.9 out of 5 stars  9 reviews
12 of 12 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars can't believe nobody else has read this book 16 Mar 2014
By Donna Mazzucchi - Published on
Format:Hardcover|Verified Purchase
I am not one to write reviews and am not qualified to review this book yet as I am only on part II but it is about Leonard and his interviews, and while no one can really come close to his eloquence and depth of reflection, it is interesting to hear his replies to some otherwise sophomoric questions, some deep. It is an interesting read so far and I imagine it can only get more interesting as time wears well on Leonard and I am in awe of such monsters of the spoken word
2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Good read 5 April 2014
By Marsha J. Wheeler - Published on
Format:Hardcover|Verified Purchase
I learned a lot about the music I love, why it was written and sung, the emotions behind it and in general about the man himself. Worth the time. Not a book to read in one or two sittings because some of it is redundant but it holds your interest until the end.
2 of 3 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A must for Leonard Cohen fans 4 April 2014
By Thomas Beeler - Published on
Format:Hardcover|Verified Purchase
This is quite a collection of interviews that provides answers to many questions Cohen fans have about specific songs and his private life, Well done.
0 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A must read for true Leonard Cohen fans 15 April 2014
By R T Erickson - Published on
Format:Hardcover|Verified Purchase
As good as you are going to get if you want to get some idea of the man behind the enigma. This is Leonard in his own words, erudite and humorous as always. There is a crack in everything and he does let some light in teased out in interviews over the decades. While there is obviously a lot repetition I did not find this distracting. A must have for true Cohen fans.
0 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars My Favorite Book About Leonard Cohen 13 April 2014
By visualpurple - Published on
Format:Hardcover|Verified Purchase
This is a great book, featuring Leonard in his own words via interviews beginning in the sixties. I've read other books about him, but reading his own words over the years of interviews provides a whole new window into his life, thought and evolution as a human being. This is the "pick of the litter" of all books about him! If I only got one book, this would be it, and money well spent. Kudos galore to Jeff Burger for his assemblage of interviews!
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