The Best Songs: Famous Blue Raincoat (Leonard Cohen)


It’s four in the morning, the end of December
I’m writing you now just to see if you’re better
New York is cold, but I like where I’m living
There’s music on Clinton Street all through the evening.

The problem with that song is that I’ve forgotten the actual triangle. Whether it was my own – of course, I always felt that there was an invisible male seducing the woman I was with, now whether this one was incarnate or merely imaginary I don’t remember, I’ve always had the sense that either I’ve been that figure in relation to another couple or there’d been a figure like that in relation to my marriage. I don’t quite remember but I did have this feeling that there was always a third party, sometimes me, sometimes another man, sometimes another woman. It was a song I’ve never been satisfied with. It’s not that I’ve resisted an impressionistic approach to songwriting, but I’ve never felt that this one, that I really nailed the lyric. I’m ready to concede something to the mystery, but secretly I’ve always felt that there was something about the song that was unclear. So I’ve been very happy with some of the imagery, but a lot of the imagery.
~Leonard Cohen (BBC Radio Interview 1994)

Sometime in the early 1970s, a thief stole Leonard Cohen’s old raincoat from Marianne Ihlen’s New York apartment. God only know what happened to it, but the thief almost certainly had no idea he was stealing an object that belongs in the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame, if not the Smithsonian. It was that very coat that inspired Cohen to write one of his most beloved and mysterious songs. It’s written in the form of a letter, possibly to the narrator’s brother, who stole his lover, Jane.
~rollingstone.com

Famous Blue Raincoat (from the album – Songs of Love and Hate)

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July 30: Bruce Springsteen Released “The Rising” in 2002

A brave and beautiful album of humanity, hurt and hope from the songwriter best qualified to speak to and for his country…. A towering achievement.
-Uncut Magazine (Album of the Month, Sep 2002)

Impassioned and bold, this record is a triumph.
billboard.com

Over the years, it might not stand up to classics such as Nebraska or The River, but the The Rising gives us something more important right now: a reason to believe.
E! Online

Bruce Springsteen has gathered many a superlative over the years. His most resonant works stand as milestones in the lives of millions of fans. Even for him, though, The Rising, with its bold thematic concentration and penetrating emotional focus, is a singular triumph. I can’t think of another album in which such an abundance of great songs might be said to seem the least of its achievements.
-Kurt Loder (rollingstone.com)

Released July 30, 2002
Recorded January–March 2002
Genre Rock, heartland rock
Length 72:52
Label Columbia
Producer Brendan O’Brien

 

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July 30: Johnny Cash recorded “Folsom Prison Blues” in 1955

Folsom Prison looms large in Johnny Cash’s legacy, providing the setting for perhaps his definitive song and the location for his definitive album, At Folsom Prison. The ideal blend of mythmaking and gritty reality, At Folsom Prison is the moment when Cash turned into the towering Man in Black, a haunted troubadour singing songs of crime, conflicted conscience, and jail.
~Stephen Thomas Erlewine (allmusic.com)

Wikipedia:

Single by Johnny Cash
B-side So Doggone Lonesome
Released December 15, 1955
April 1968 (re-recording)
Format 7″ single
Recorded July 30, 1955Sun StudioMemphis, Tennessee
Genre Rockabilly, country blues, rock and roll
Length 2:50
Label Sun
Songwriter Johnny Cash
Producer Sam Phillips

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July 29: Watch The Beatles Movie Help! (released in 1965)

“The movie was out of our control. With A Hard Day’s Night, we had a lot of input, and it was semi-realistic. But with Help!, Dick Lester didn’t tell us what it was all about.”
– John Lennon on filming Help!

“I realize, looking back, how advanced it was. It was a precursor to the Batman “Pow! Wow!” on TV—that kind of stuff. But [Lester] never explained it to us. Partly, maybe, because we hadn’t spent a lot of time together between A Hard Day’s Night and Help!, and partly because we were smoking marijuana for breakfast during that period. Nobody could communicate with us, it was all glazed eyes and giggling all the time. In our own world. It’s like doing nothing most of the time, but still having to rise at 7 am, so we became bored.”
-John Lennon to David Sheff

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Watch: The Rolling Stones @ Marquee Club London – March 26, 1971





Wonderful concert with a Mick Taylor in superb form…

Live debut of album tracks, “Brown Sugar”, “Dead Flowers”, “Bitch” and “I Got The Blues” (all from “Sticky Fingers”, released a month later)

Band:

  • Mick Jagger – Vocals
  • Keith Richards – Guitar
  • Mick Taylor – Guitar
  • Bill Wyman – Bass
  • Charlie Watts – Drums
  • Ian Stewart – Piano
  • Nicky Hopkins – Keyboards
  • Bobby Keys – Sax
  • Jim Price – Horns

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1966: 20 songs released in 1966 you must hear





The Year 1966 summary

  • France withdraws its forces from NATO. President De Gaulle visits the USSR (June 20).
  • Sukarno leaves office in Indonesia; Suharto assumes power.
  • Botswana, Lesotho, and Guyana become independent states within the British Commonwealth.
  • India suffers the worst famine in 20 years; Lyndon Johnson asks for $1 billion in aid to the country.
  • US: Medicare begins (July 1).
  • US: Supreme Court decides Miranda v. Arizona, protecting rights of the accused.
  • Movies: A Man for All Seasons, Who’s Afraid of Virginia Woolf?, Alfie

My rules:

  • Only one song per artist/group
  • The song must be released that specific year
  • Songs from live albums not allowed
  • Restricted to only 20 songs

Again a LOT of wonderful music was released in 1966 (actually 1966 might be my fav year in music), hard to pick only 20.

 

  • Visions of Johanna – Bob Dylan

    Written by Dylan & released on his album “Blonde On Blonde” ~May 16, 1966 (possibly as late as July 1966).

    Ain’t it just like the night to play tricks when you’re tryin’ to be so quiet?
    We sit here stranded, though we’re all doin’ our best to deny it
    And Louise holds a handful of rain, temptin’ you to defy it
    Lights flicker from the opposite loft
    In this room the heat pipes just cough
    The country music station plays soft
    But there’s nothing, really nothing to turn off
    Just Louise and her lover so entwined
    And these visions of Johanna that conquer my mind



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