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
Oh Leonard. You did it again. And it was JUST as amazings as the first time, but now it was the second time. Your voice was still gravelly, but it was still like silk gravel!! Most incredible thing about Leonard Cohen? He’s 78 and gets down on his knees more than a 24 hour hooker who never takes a vacation. Lenny, you wearing knee pads or did you get robo-knee implants? Wanna be the running back for the Jets? Second most incredible thing about Leonard Cohen? He may be Dustin Hoffman
Where to begin? How about where our infatuation with LeonardCohen, everyone’s man, and the illest Canadian Jew mt EVERest (and 2nd coolest Jewish grandpa mt EVERest, behind Neil Diamond) began. The year was 1990, and hot off the heels of Heathers, Gleaming The Cube, The Wizard and Young Guns IIChristian Slater, with his devilish middle finger attitude and killah hair do, was winning the hearts of women everywhere, and thumbs up from every male in the land (including our soon to be Bar Mitzvahed a$$), and them hearts and thumbs throbbed even larger when Pump Up the Volume pumped up… the volume! That movie was beyond the stizzle badizzle, and surpassed Chip n Dale’s ‘Two Chips & A Miss’ as the most re-watched thing that our VCR ever saw. Anywho, Christian Slater was mad cool, like a coolcumber, and his underground radio DJ character, Happy Harry Hard-on, was even coolcumberer (TALK HARD!!!). He PUMPED up mad awesome tunes, the mos mad awesomestest being Leonard Cohen’s ‘Everybody Knows’ and ‘If It Be Your Will’. The PUTV soundtrack featured ‘Everybody Knows’, but it was an asi asi cover by Concrete Blonde, and so we searched elsewhere, found and discovered all that is holy, all that is Leonard Cohen, who may not have the finestest singing voice, but maybe the bestest talking voice in the whirld… besides James Earl Jones and the Micro Machine Guy. Our long LC journey culminated with us being the youngest peoples at Leonard’s well over 2.5 hour show, sitting in the very last row, at Radio City Music Hall (bestest large venue of balls thyme). Tickets weren’t cheap, but even if you were a sucker who ponied up $250 for the orchestra seats, it was well worth the price, hispecially since they got a better look at Cohen constantly on his knees, serenading the giant Oriental rugs underneath him. The set list was a like a dream come true, although we were mad vexed when he let his hottie back-up crooners, the Webb Sisters, sing ‘If It Be Your Will’, instead of him. BOOOOOO. Also boo was the crowd who never got as into it as we did. We know this was more like a performance than a concert, but c’mon, Leo effin rox the cox and the 1919 Black Sox. If you haven’t given into Mr Cohen yet, there’s no butter thyme than now. Sadly, that is not the case with Leonard Part 6, although mumbles was the case that they grave us
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