Leonard Cohen's Yiddish Song

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We were remiss in not wishing Leonard Cohen a happy birthday yesterday, but the 77-year-old Montreal poet, novelist and singer-songwriter has other consolations.

On October 11, Legacy Recordings will re-release 17 discs of Cohen’s back catalogue as a box set, including all of his studio albums and a few live ones, as well. The “Complete Albums Collection” will also include a 36-page booklet containing a 1,300 word essay by Pico Iyer.

As a personal tribute, though, I’d like to quote my favorite Leonard Cohen anecdote, about the 1972 “Songs of Love and Hate” tour, which comes from Ira Nadel’s 1998 biography, “Various Positions”:

Thanks to the magic of the Internet you can actually see a clip from that performance on YouTube. Here, though, I’d like to point to a show in Vienna from 1976, which is the only instance I can find of Cohen singing in Yiddish. Happy birthday Leonard!

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