• Leonard Cohen 'Chelsea Hotel #2', Bremner sings

    212 views 4 years ago
    Leonard Cohen's Chelsea Hotel #2

    from the CD, 'The Sky Was Blue'

    http://www.bremnersings.com

    By the Sixties, the Chelsea Hotel had become a headquarters for the emerging rock elite, hosting Jimi Hendrix, the Grateful Dead and Dylan himself. Some paid tribute to their temporary digs in song. Joni Mitchell's "Chelsea Morning" name checks the hostelry, as does the Lou Reed–penned "Chelsea Girl" and Jefferson Airplane's "Third Week in the Chelsea."

    It was, in journalist Thelma Blitz's estimation, "a big, boho fraternity house" – and it suited Cohen's desires perfectly: "I came to New York and I was living at other hotels and I had heard about the Chelsea Hotel as being a place where I might meet people of my own kind. And I did. It was a grand, mad place," he told SongTalk in 1993. "I love hotels to which, at 4 a.m., you can bring along a midget, a bear and four ladies, take them to your room and no one cares about it at all."

    The room in question was not much to brag about. A bare bulb illuminated a flimsy bed, a puny black-and-white television, a hot plate on which cook meals and little else. A sink spewed rusty water, when it decided to run at all.

    Canadian poet, singer-songwriter and novelist Leonard Cohen poses for a portrait in a diner in New York, New York circa 1968.
    Cohen in New York, 1968. "She wasn't looking for me, she was looking for Kris Kristofferson," he would recall of meeting Joplin. Roz Kelly/Getty
    It was in these decrepit conditions that Cohen found himself late one night in the spring of 1968. With the sorry state of his music career weighing heavily on his mind, he decided to take a walk to clear his head. "It was a dismal evening in New York City," he later reminisced during a concert. First he stopped at Bronco Burger, a local greasy spoon. "I had a cheeseburger; it didn't help at all," he said with laconic humor. Then he headed to the White Horse Tavern, an iconic Greenwich Village watering hole favored by generations of writers and freethinkers. "I went to the White Horse Tavern looking for Dylan Thomas, but Dylan Thomas was dead."

    Having failed to raise his spirits, Cohen returned to the Chelsea around 3 a.m. He crossed its famous lobby, crammed with an eclectic collection of paintings given by tenants in lieu of rent money, all the way to the elevator – creaky, unusually cramped and often cited as the slowest in the city. It required a certain knack to get it to function. "I was an expert on the buttons of that elevator," he told a New York City audience in 1988. "One of the few technologies I really ever mastered. The door opened. I walked in. Put my finger right on the button. No hesitation. Great sense of mastery in those days."

    Once inside, he was joined by a woman with wild hair.

    "My lungs gathered my courage," he remembered in 1988. "I said to her, 'Are you looking for someone?' She said 'Yes, I'm looking for Kris Kristofferson.'" It was obvious that Cohen was not the large, gruffly handsome songwriter, but he made a play anyway. "I said, ‘Little lady, you're in luck, I am Kris Kristofferson.' Those were generous times. Even though she knew that I was someone shorter than Kris Kristofferson, she never let on. Great generosity prevailed in those doom decades."

    By the time the elevator jerked to a stop on the fourth floor, it was understood that they would spend the night together. "She wasn't looking for me, she was looking for Kris Kristofferson; I wasn't looking for her, I was looking for Brigitte Bardot. But we fell into each other's arms through some process of elimination."

    http://www.rollingstone.com......

    lyrics
    I remember you well in the Chelsea Hotel
    You were talking so brave and so sweet
    Givin' me head on the unmade bed
    While the limousines wait in the street

    Those were the reasons
    That was New York
    We were runnin' for the money and the flesh
    And that was called love for the workers in song
    Probably still is for those of them left

    But you got away didn't you babe?
    You just turned your back on the crowd
    When you got away
    I never once heard you say

    I need you
    I don't need you
    I need you
    I don't need you
    And all of that jivin' around

    I remember you well
    In the Chelsea Hotel
    You were famous, your heart was a legend
    You told me again, you preferred handsome men
    But for me you would make an exception


    And clenching your fist
    For the ones like us
    Who are oppressed by the figures of beauty
    You fixed yourself
    You said "Well nevermind
    We are ugly but we have the music"

    And then you got away didn't you babe?
    You just turned your back on the crowd
    When you got away I never once heard you say
    I need you
    I don't need you
    I need you
    I don't need you
    And all of that jivin' around

    I don't mean to suggest
    That I loved you the best
    I can't keep track of each fallen robin
    I remember you well in the Chelsea Hotel
    That's all, I don't think of you that often Show less
    Read more
  • My Top Videos Play all

    This item has been hidden
  • Back Yard Ukulele Play all

    This item has been hidden
  • Kurt Weill Play all

    This item has been hidden
to add this to Watch Later

Add to

Loading playlists...