my relationship with Leonard Cohen began with a 1990 film that left quite an impression on me then, and forever – Pump Up The Volume. Within the opening minute of the film, a young and super cool Christian Slater leans into a microphone and says…
Down to business. I got my Wild Cherry Diet Pepsi, and uh, I got my Black Jack gum here! And I got that feeling. Mmm, yeah that familiar feeling? That something rank is going on out there
Slater then applies a needle to a record, and my ears would never be the same…
WHO IS THAT GUY SINGING THIS SONG??? WHY IS HIS VOICE SO DEEP, SO HUSKY, SO RESONATE, SO UNIQUE AND AMAZING???
oh wait, here’s another song by this guy in the movie! this song and that voice are JUST AS INCREDIBLE!!!!
I ran out and bought the soundtrack – and yet NEITHER song was on the album. my heart sank. sure, there was a Concrete Blonde cover of ‘Everybody Knows’ on the disc, but that was no consolation to me. I NEEDED those two songs, but this was a pre-internet time – with no easy mp3ing as an option, and for some reason, I was stifled in finding a CD that contained both of these songs. ARRRRGH!!!
Four years later, in 1994, I found myself in a Tower Records in Tel Aviv, Israel, and there was a Leonard Cohen CD containing both songs!! FINALLY!!! Alas, they were live concert versions, but they would do. Anything would do in order to get my ears back to those songs, without having to hire Christian Slater as my personal DJ
And that’s when my Leonard Cohen loved blossomed even more, and has never stopped blossoming. I even nudged my parents into the grip that Leonard can wean on any ears he enters. This was an odd twist – as my parents’ love of 50s and 60s music greatly influenced my musical upbringing and tastes, and here I am, influencing them on something they probably should have known about well before I was even on this earth, but better late than never, for all of us. And mom has always been appreciative of the introduction, and as a Leonard convert, she would try to influence others to fall under his spell too
Now if only the guy who hadn’t been on tour since 1993 would tour…
AND HE DID!
And of course I had to be there – May 16th, 2009 at Radio City Music Hall – and of course it was amazing, BUT, when it was time for ‘If It Be Your Will’ – he let his backing singers sing the lead, and I was thighly disappointed – cause I NEEDED to hear him sing it live, but hey, I at least heard him sing ‘Everybody Knows’ live, and many many other of his great songs!
And of course my mom (and dad) needed to see him, and so I gladly saw him again with them – December 18th, 2012 at Madison Square Garden – and of course it was amazing again, and of course he let his backing singers sing lead on ‘If It Be Your Will’
I guess it was his will for me to never hear him sing it live, but I can hardly complain – as Leonard Cohen and his music was a part of my life, and even after he lost his life, he and his music will remain with me, and us all
I think it’s time for me to watch Pump Up The Volume again. It will be my will
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