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The Best of Leonard Cohen


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Audio CD, October 25, 1990
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Songs from this album are available to purchase as MP3s. Click on "Buy MP3" or view the MP3 Album.
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                         

Samples
Song Title Time Price
listen  1. Suzanne 3:47$1.29  Buy MP3 
listen  2. Sisters Of Mercy 3:33$0.99  Buy MP3 
listen  3. So Long, Marianne 5:37$0.99  Buy MP3 
listen  4. Bird On The Wire 3:24$0.99  Buy MP3 
listen  5. Lady Midnight 2:56$0.99  Buy MP3 
listen  6. The Partisan 3:23$0.99  Buy MP3 
listen  7. Hey, That's No Way To Say Goodbye 2:54$0.99  Buy MP3 
listen  8. Famous Blue Raincoat 5:06$0.99  Buy MP3 
listen  9. Last Year's Man 5:56$0.99  Buy MP3 
listen10. Chelsea Hotel No. 2 3:04$0.99  Buy MP3 
listen11. Who By Fire 2:30$0.99  Buy MP3 
listen12. Take This Longing 4:05$0.99  Buy MP3 

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Product Details

  • Audio CD (October 25, 1990)
  • Number of Discs: 1
  • Label: Sony
  • ASIN: B00000256G
  • Average Customer Review: 4.6 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (86 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #15,232 in Music (See Top 100 in Music)

Editorial Reviews

Product Description

The Bard for an entire generation of bohemian undergraduates, as well as for today's (e.g., Suzanne Vega) folk-poets. Here are his best-known songs: Bird on a Wire; Suzanne; Sisters of Mercy; Lady Midnight; Take This Longing, and more.

Amazon.com

Leonard Cohen is famous as a major seller in much of the world outside the U.S., the Canadian singer-songwriter's adoptive home; in Europe, this album's title is Greatest Hits. Even listeners barely familiar with Cohen's name will know "Suzanne" and "Bird on a Wire," but those oft-covered numbers are the least of it. The former novelist's mission as a wry, resigned troubadour is better reflected in songs like "Chelsea Hotel No. 2," a remembrance of Janis Joplin with a devastating closing line, and "Who by Fire," which updates a Jewish prayer. --Rickey Wright

Customer Reviews

The music is beautiful, evocative, rich and lyrical.
garret toomey
I like his music because he lets you inside, tells his story without apology and doesn't look away.
axel
"The Best Of Leonard Cohen" is one of my favorite CDs.
Jana L. Perskie

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

46 of 49 people found the following review helpful By A Customer on December 14, 1998
Format: Audio CD
People ,what can I say. When I lived in Germany in the begining of 1997 I bought this CD at a bargain. I didn't really know Cohen, except for two songs: Suzanne and First we take manhattan (not on this album). Still I bought it, sensing that something great was about to happen. Listening to it for the first time, I had to get used to his voice, but very soon the songs just absorbed me and I couldn't help feeling strong emotions with every song...what great lyrics...such an emtionless voice, yet it conveys so many emotions. I can honestly say that Cohen has influenced my personality a great deal and I have never been the same after buying this CD. Only recently did I buy all of his other official albums. It took me so long because I was affraid that I would be disappointed because "Best Of" is so perfect, that I thought all the rest had to be less good....I was wrong...I recently told my father that basically I can sell all my other CD's by other singers, for nothing can even come close to what Cohen does to me, except for the Russian-German singer Ivan Rebroff, but he belongs to a totally different musical scene. I love all Cohen's CD's, except for Death of a Ladies' man, which isn't a very good CD. All the other albums are splendid. Every album conveys a different emotion and sounds different than the other albums. I can't imagine my life without Cohen anymore. ps: I wouldn't mind e-mailing with other Cohen fans...an answer guaranteed
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31 of 33 people found the following review helpful By darragh o'donoghue on March 28, 2002
Format: Audio CD
We rarely think of Leonard Cohen as a pop star or rock idol - the very idea is absurd, almost sacreligious. Indeed, the very idea of thinking about him in terms of music at all seems wrongheaded - Cohen is a poet, who has condescended to use music as a means of reaching a wider audience than poets normally do. Most pop songs are expressions of a single emotion - Cohen tells stories, often in parable or ballad form, utilising a vocabulary so rigorously crafted, so austere and simple, it has the lapidary quality of the Bible (to which they often refer). Its apparent sincerity and plainness masks a remarkable playfulness, not just in the humour working underneath the most solemn of songs, but in the stories' switches in register, which at one moment seem to be about disintegrating relationships, the emptiness of loss, the elusiveness of other people, the intangibility of memory, or the transiecne of sex and desire; and at others seem to be a religious or political allegory about baptism, redemption, freedom or liberation. Statement and metaphor become indistinguishable in Cohen, which is why people spend lifetimes with his records, decoding their mysteries. The music is an unobtrusive background for this largely literary activity.
This was the caricatured conception I always had of Leonard Cohen, perhaps resentful of his always being limped with those other dullards of 60s earnestness, Dylan, Neil Young, The Doors, etc., in the posturing tastes of my teenage peers. But, over the years, it is not Cohen's words, but his haunting, repetitive, melodies that have stayed with me. Listening to these soul-etched songs for the first time in ages, I was surprised at how MUSICAL they were.
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21 of 22 people found the following review helpful By Kenneth M. Gelwasser VINE VOICE on June 10, 2002
Format: Audio CD
The first time I ever heard the music of Lenard Cohen was in the classic, Robert Altman anti-western, "McCabe & Mrs.Miller". Cohen's solemn songs perfectly matched the dirty, muddy, frontier town featured in the movie. After seeing the film I had to find the amazing music I had heard on the soundtrack.I finally found it in this 'Best of Collection'."The Best of Lenard Cohen" has become what I like to call my favorite mope music. By mope music, I'm talking about when your feeling depressed or your in no way in the mood for cheery, bouncy tunes. A lot of people listen to groups like The Cure or Pink Floyd for something like this. I prefer the quiet singing of Mr. Cohen and his beautiful songs. Whenever I'm in the mood, I will put this disc on and listen to it's many classic tunes such as "Bird on a Wire", "Sisters of Mercy" or "So Long Marianne".My personal favorite song is "Suzanne".The lyrics to these songs are pure poetry. Everytime I hear this CD, I still picture in my mind, Altman's beautiful masterpiece of a film.I love it!This is truely a great collection of songs which will be an important part of any music collection.
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13 of 13 people found the following review helpful By Peter Uys HALL OF FAMETOP 1000 REVIEWER on June 10, 2005
Format: Audio CD
This is a wonderful collection of Cohen's now legendary early work. Drawn from his classic albums Songs Of Leonard Cohen, Songs From A Room, Songs Of Love And Hate and New Skin For The Old Ceremony, these timeless songs have become part of the serious poetic heritage of the English language.

I have no favourites here because each and every track is sublime, from the wistful Suzanne to the aching Take This Longing. From the album Songs Of Love and Hate I would have chosen Joan Of Arc, though, instead of Last Year's Man and would also have included The Old Revolution and Tonight Will Be Fine from Songs From A Room.

The impact of these timeless songs on popular culture is proved by the many cover versions, of which a few of the best include Rita Coolidge's Bird On A Wire plus The Lilac Time's and the Neville Brothers' version of the same song, Sting & The Chieftains' Sisters Of Mercy, James' cover of So Long Marianne, Geoffrey Oryema, Judy Collins and Nina Simone's very diverse interpretations of Suzanne, and Peter Astor's Take This Longing.

Cohen completists would also be interested in The Essential Collection, but note that album does not include Lady Midnight or Last Year's Man. What I found especially impressive on listening to this album again, were the brilliant arrangements and especially the siren-like quality of the female vocals so perfectly framing Cohen's weary voice. These songs just sound better and better as the decades pass.
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