News

First Three Records Re-released

To mark the 40th Anniversary of Leonard Cohen's debut recording, SONY BMG MUSIC (CANADA) INC./Legacy Records will re-release his first three albums: Songs of Leonard Cohen (1967), Songs From A Room (1969) and Songs Of Love And Hate (1970) on April 24, 2007. For the first time in the digital era, expanded, hardcover digipak editions of Songs Of Leonard Cohen, Songs From A Room, and Songs Of Love And Hate will be made available. Each album will contain previously unreleased bonus material as well as separate newly commissioned liner notes essays written by Rolling Stone contributing editor (and Cohen devotee) Anthony DeCurtis.

Canadian musical icon Leonard Cohen has earned the distinction as one of the most influential artists of his generation and his stark images of love, beauty and despair have touched fans and inspired writers and musicians the world over. Leonard Cohen was recognized for his incredible songwriting when he was inducted into the Canadian Songwriters Hall of Fame in 2006. Cohen's recent book of poetry entitled, Book of Longing reached #1 on the Top 10 Hardcover Fiction Books in Canada, as compiled by Maclean's Magazine, being the first book of poetry ever to reach the top of the bestsellers' lists in Canada.

Of the many protégés and disciples who have spread their wings and found a kindred spirit in Leonard Cohen, none is more intriguing than singer-songwriter Anjani Thomas. They have been associated for nearly a quarter-century, since she first sang backing vocals on his maiden recording of "Hallelujah" in 1984, on Various Positions. Now signed to Columbia Records alongside Cohen, Anjani released Blue Alert in Canada in May 2006 to rave reviews. The album's ten songs were written by Cohen and Anjani, she arranged the music and accompanied herself on piano, and the album was produced by Cohen. Blue Alert will be released internationally on April 24, 2007 in a special two-disc digipak containing a bonus DVD; featuring two music video clips ("The Mist" and "Thanks For the Dance") and behind-the-scenes interviews and recording studio footage.

The liturgy of timeless songs to be found on Cohen's first three albums have mystified poets and professors for ages - among them "Suzanne," "Sisters of Mercy," "So Long, Marianne," and "Hey, That's No Way to Say Goodbye" (all from his debut album, 1967's Songs Of Leonard Cohen), "Bird on the Wire," "Story of Isaac," "Seems So Long Ago, Nancy," and "You Know Who I Am" (from the second album, 1969's Songs From A Room), and "Dress Rehearsal Rag," "Famous Blue Raincoat," and "Joan of Arc" (from 1970's Songs Of Love And Hate).

"If Leonard Cohen had only recorded this extraordinary debut album," DeCurtis writes of the 1967 LP, "and then disappeared, his stature as one of the most gifted song­writers of our time would still be secure." Fortunately, Leonard Cohen went on to record more than a dozen Columbia albums over the next four decades, constantly reshaping his vision and startling the world with his imagination and courage. But it all begins here, with Songs of Leonard Cohen, Songs From A Room and Songs Of Love And Hate.

Songs Of Leonard Cohen: Recording sessions for this album began in early 1967 with Columbia A&R staff producer John Hammond, who signed Leonard Cohen to the label. Hammond, famously known for bringing Count Basie, Billie Holiday, Olatunji, Pete Seeger, Aretha Franklin, Bob Dylan, and others to Columbia, fell ill and was unable to continue on the sessions; they were subsequently completed by A&R staff producer John Simon (the uncredited producer of Big Brother & the Holding Company's Cheap Thrills). "Store Room" and "Blessed Is the Memory" survive from the original Hammond sessions. Songs Of Leonard Cohen (Columbia/Legacy 88697 04742 2, originally issued in December 1967, as Columbia 9533)
Selections:
1. Suzanne
2. Master Song
3. Winter Lady
4. The Stranger Song
5. Sisters of Mercy
6. So Long, Marianne
7. Hey, That's No Way to Say Goodbye
8. Stories of the Street
9. Teachers
10. One of Us Cannot Be Wrong
Previously unreleased bonus tracks:
11. Store Room
12. Blessed Is the Memory
(Tracks 1-10 produced by John Simon; tracks 11-12 recorded 1967, outtakes from the early sessions for Songs of Leonard Cohen, produced by John Hammond.)

Songs From A Room: Similarly, recording sessions for Leonard Cohen's second LP were begun May 1968 in Hollywood with David Crosby producing. The recently departed member of the Byrds had won acclaim with his first assignment as a producer, Joni Mitchell's debut album, Song to a Seagull (released March 1968). Cohen's album wound up being recorded in Nashville with Columbia A&R staff producer Bob Johnston, known for his work with Bob Dylan, Johnny Cash, and Simon & Garfunkel. Two tracks from the Crosby sessions now make their debut: "Like a Bird," which is an earlier version of "Bird on the Wire"; and "Nothing to One," which is an earlier version of "You Know Who I Am." Songs From A Room (Columbia/Legacy 88697 04740 2, originally issued in 1969, as Columbia 9767)
Selections:
1. Bird on the Wire
2. Story of Isaac
3. A Bunch of Lonesome Heroes
4. The Partisan
5. Seems So Long Ago, Nancy
6. The Old Revolution
7. The Butcher
8. You Know Who I Am
9. Lady Midnight
10. Tonight Will Be Fine
Previously unreleased bonus tracks:
11. Like a Bird (earlier version of Bird on the Wire)
12. Nothing to One (earlier version of You Know Who I Am).
(Tracks 1-10 produced by Bob Johnston; tracks 11-12 recorded May 1968, produced by David Crosby.)

Songs Of Love And Hate: For his third album, Leonard Cohen returned to Nashville and Bob Johnston in 1970. One of the songs they recorded was "Dress Rehearsal Rag," heard as a bonus track here in an early version from the second LP sessions of 1969. Songs Of Love And Hate by Leonard Cohen (Columbia/Legacy 88697 04741 2, originally issued in 1970, as Columbia 30103)
Selections:
1. Avalanche
2. Last Year's Man
3. Dress Rehearsal Rag
4. Diamonds in the Mine
5. Love Calls You by Your Name
6. Famous Blue Raincoat
7. Sing Another Song, Boys
8. Joan of Arc
Previously unreleased bonus track:
9. Dress Rehearsal Rag (early version).
(Produced by Bob Johnston; track 9 outtake recorded during the sessions for Songs from a Room.)