this essay on the Leonard Cohen – Joni Mitchell relationship has not only evolved into a popular read but has also become a frequently used reference.
Because of this continued interest in the topic, I’ve conscientiously revised and updated the post as new material becomes available.
“Walk me to the corner, our steps will always …” That’s literally a Camus line. When I realized that Bob and Leonard were lifting lines, I was very disappointed.The music (someone called it “Art Rock” but that can be ignored) features a lighter, more lyrical style of writing, as exemplified by Leonard Cohen.I said, “C’mon, he’s his own poet on songs like ‘Hallelujah,’ Joni.” She said, “Yeah, yeah, I guess he’s his own poet; I’ve always loved some of his songs.” And then she couldn’t help taking a stab at him: she said, “He owns the phrase naked body, for example; it appears in every one of his songs.”That’s just defensiveness on her part, because she feels as if she has not been recognized for what she did in the ’70s.Give me a reading list.” He said, “Well, you’re writing quite well for someone who hasn’t read anything. Pepper’s Lonely Hearts Club Band, Chuck, seagulls, dolphins, taxicabs, Dairy Queen floats, someone named Mr.Maybe you shouldn’t read anything.” He gave me his reading list, wonderful books: Camus, The Stranger; the I Ching, which I’ve used all my life; Magister Ludi; Siddhartha. Kratzman, “who taught me to love words,” the Lovin’ Spoonful, rain, sunlight, garbage, metermaids and herself.