Wednesday, January 30, 2008

Come On Along With the Song That We're Singing

When Phil Spector produced Leonard Cohen's ill-fated 1977 album Death of a Ladies' Man, the two men, who seem like polar opposites -- Spector is brash, adolescent, energetic and forceful, while Cohen is learned, quiet, courtly and sane -- actually got on quite well. "I liked him," Cohen said later. "Just man to man he's delightful, and with children he's very kind."

It's remarkable he would say that, because at one point during recording Spector pulled out a gun and, holding a bottle of Manischevitz in the other hand, placed the barrel against Cohen's neck. "Leonard," he said, "I love you." Cohen quietly pushed the gun away and answered, "I hope you do, Phil."

After the record came out, Spector said he got hate mail "from all eight of Leonard's fans." It's funny cuz it's true; as much as I love Leonard Cohen, he has never been what one would call "popular." At one point someone sent Spector a letter asking him what he thought of the Partridge Family. Spector replied that he had worked with one artist who was "extremely influenced" by Keith, Laurie et al.: "And that artist is Leonard Cohen. Underneath that brooding, moody, depressed soul which Leonard possesses lies an out-and-out Partridge Family freak."

Spector included Cohen's personal phone number, in case the fan wanted to further discuss "I Think I Love You" with Leonard.

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