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The Essential Leonard Cohen Original recording remastered, Limited Edition

4.6 out of 5 stars 38 customer reviews

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Product Details

  • Audio CD (Oct. 22 2002)
  • Number of Discs: 2
  • Format: Limited Edition, Original recording remastered
  • Label: Sony Music Canada
  • ASIN: B00006NSH8
  • In-Print Editions: Audio CD
  • Average Customer Review: 4.6 out of 5 stars 38 customer reviews
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: #4,403 in Music (See Top 100 in Music)
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Disc: 1
1. Suzanne
2. The Stranger Song
3. Sisters of Mercy
4. Hey, That's No Way To Say Goodbyen
5. So Long, Marianne
6. Bird On A Wire
7. The Partisan
8. Famous Blue Raincoat
9. Chelsea Hotel #2
10. Take This Longing
See all 18 tracks on this disc
Disc: 2
1. Ain't No Cure For Love
2. Take This Waltz
3. First We Take Manhatten
4. Dance Me To The End Of Love (Live)
5. The Future
6. Democacy
7. Waiting for the Miracle
8. Closing Time
9. Anthem
10. In My Secret Life
See all 13 tracks on this disc

Product Description

Product Description

The best collection yet from one of pop music's most influential, enduring and fascinating artists! Includes Suzanne; Bird on a Wire; Sisters of Mercy; Famous Blue Raincoat; First We Take Manhattan; Ain't No Cure; Night Comes On; I'm Your Man; Tower of Song; Chelsea Hotel #2; Hallelujah, and more.


This two-disc retrospective traces the Canadian bard's musical maturity from poet and novelist who sang a little to multidimensional artist whose oracular vocals and increasingly rich arrangements are every bit as compelling as his verse. Even when Cohen came to prominence through the 1960s songcraft of "Suzanne" and "Bird on a Wire," the "folksinger" tag never really fit. Later highlights ranging from the deadpan drollery of "Tower of Song" and "Everybody Knows" to the apocalyptic anthemry of "First We Take Manhattan" and "Democracy" suggest that other labels might be more appropriate: cabaret surrealist, spiritual gadfly, sensual prophet, agent provocateur. Cohen chose the selections, drawing more than half of the 31 tracks from three landmark albums--his 1967 debut Songs of Leonard Cohen, 1988's I'm Your Man, and 1992's The Future--along with four from 2001's Ten New Songs. The collection justifies its title as deep as it goes, though it's a shame that Cohen's commercial profile couldn't justify the more elaborate box set his artistry warrants (one that would at least include lyrics and musician credits). Those who sample the consistently inspired music here might come to the conclusion that everything Cohen records is essential. --Don McLeese

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Customer Reviews

4.6 out of 5 stars
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Top Customer Reviews

Format: Audio CD
The name Leonard Cohen first came to my attention way back in the day when Suzanne was released. It was a fairly popular and much-covered song, but it never occurred to me to actually buy the album. I was into much musically heavier things at the time and so my awareness of Cohen gradually receded into distant memory.
Nowadays, my musical interests are much wider and my pockets deeper, so I took a chance on Cohen's CD Ten New Songs when it was released several years ago. It took a while to get into, but I liked some of the songs immediately. My rule with music is that if I like a CD I've purchased by an unfamiliar artist, I buy something else by that artist also in order to give myself a broader enjoyment and understanding of their work. And so it went with Cohen. I picked up several more CDs and liked them enough to feel confident that I would be pleased with The Essential Leonard Cohen.
I have read all the reviews posted here, both positive and negative, and observe that its a given with any compilation that one will always feel that some songs were included that shouldn't have been and some obvious winners omitted. My candidate for ejection is Alexandra Leaving. I would have much preferred to see Boogie Street included or possibly Joan of Arc in its stead.
I think the CD is nicely divided into two periods because as several reviewers have noted, Cohen seems to have two voices. A lot of songs on the first CD one might classify as neo-folk, for lack of a better term. On this, I like Suzanne, The Partisan, Hallelujah, and I'm Your Man best.
On the second CD, the music is more in the direction of soul tinged rock with the occasional nod to country. And Cohen's deepening voice on the second CD imbues the music with more mystery and even occasional menace.
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Format: Audio CD
This is a must for any Leonard Cohen complete-ist's collection! I have every CD he's ever put out and yet I find myself frequently choosing this set in order to conveniently listen to favorites from a variety of Leonard's previous CDs. A fabulous collection from an amazing artist!
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Format: Audio CD
LC, I'm your fan. Have been since I first heard Suzanne going on four decades ago. I used to sing it walking down Telegraph Avenue in Berkeley; it was a phenomenal song then and it still is. This 31 song double CD covers Cohen's career from Suzanne taking your hand and leading to the river to Alexandra leaving with her lord. There is nothing that should not be on this collection, unlike many so-called Essential collections when there is almost always one or more "what the heck is THAT song doing here" moment. My only complaint is that it could easily have had 7 or 8 more cuts; Songs from a Room is badly underrepresented -- where is the unbelievably sad Seems So Long Ago, Nancy and the Hours-like Tonight Will Be Fine, with its lyric that captured Cohen then and does now as well, "I choose the rooms I live in with care/the windows are small and the walls almost bare?" And while I'm mighty happy to have Cohen's version of Famous Blue Raincoat, why not his definitive Joan of Arc? Oh, well, enough carping. Those who have most or all of Cohen's work may not need this -- although popped into the CD player it is a magnificant overview of how consistently strong his work has been for decades, none of the Dylan peaks and valleys. But for those who have only a couple of the albums or are looking to get introduced, this CD is definitive and, oh, yes, essential.
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Format: Audio CD
Hopefully this won't be the last attempt at the "essential" Leonard Cohen, but this will serve as a superb interim introduction. I have been a big Leonard Cohen fan for years, ever since hearing "Suzanne" on the radio and then hearing a bevy of his songs in the superb and profoundly underrated Robert Altman film McCABE AND MRS. MILLER, which uses several of his songs on the soundtrack (back when songs were included to enhance the movie rather than provide an excuse for a soundtrack album). I have striven over the years to introduce Cohen to as many of my friends as possible, and early on played him to my daughter. Happily most (including my daughter) have become fans as well.
For some friends, I would make compilation tapes, and here is where one becomes aware of the problem with Cohen. Apart, perhaps, for his first album, Cohen is not at all well served by albums. He is far more of a singles artist, and some of his best individual songs can be found on otherwise miserable albums. A compilation can, in addition, mask how many really bad songs Cohen has recorded over the years. Luckily, at his best, he is very, very good. An anthology, therefore, is by far the best way to present Cohen's work, in comparison to other performers like The Clash or Van Morrison, who are better discovered in their original albums. It is even true of artists sometimes compared to Cohen, like Nick Cave.
So, how does this anthology rate? Actually, pretty good. In the compilations I have made either for myself or for friends, this contains nearly every song that I have found most essential. The only significant omission that I can find is "Joan of Arc," which I dearly wish had been included.
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