Flashback: Leonard Cohen Stuns With 'Chelsea Hotel #2' in 1985


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Leonard Cohen's 1985 Numerous Positions tour got here to Warsaw, Poland throughout a really troublesome time within the nation's historical past. The communist state was beneath Soviet management and martial regulation was lifted simply two years later, however dissidents have been nonetheless being jailed and the environment was extraordinarily tense. There weren't lots of main rock exhibits coming via the nation, however on the final minute Leonard Cohen made some extent to convey his tour to the Congress Corridor on the Palace of Tradition. This was maybe the only lowest level of his business profession, however he had a fanatical cult following in Poland and tickets vanished immediately.

When addressing the gang after opening the present with "Hen on the Wire," Cohen tried to strike a balanced tone. "I come from a rustic the place we don't have the identical struggles as you've," he stated. "I respect your struggles. And it might shock you, however I respect each side of this wrestle. It appears to be that in Europe there must be a left foot and a proper foot to maneuver ahead. ... And I want to say to you, to the leaders of the left, and the leaders of the suitable, I sing for everybody. My track has no flag, my music has no celebration."

Skilled cameras have been rolling on the present and far of it has wound up on YouTube in fairly nice high quality. Take a look at this super model of "Chelsea Lodge # 2." Cohen did not love his singing voice, and sometimes used feminine backup singers to assist him, however he delivers this with simply his voice and an acoustic guitar. "Each live performance that I give, I dedicate this track to a terrific American singer that I met one night time in an elevator in a shabby lodge in New York Metropolis," he informed the gang. "I feel she was in search of Kris Kristofferson. I advised her that I used to be Kris Kristofferson. However she stated, 'I assumed he was greater.' I stated that I was greater, however I might been sick. And we spent slightly time collectively. ... And I keep in mind writing on certainly one of their very badly designed napkins, 'I keep in mind you nicely on the Chelsea Lodge…' so I dedicate this music to one of many nice singers, Janis Joplin."

Cohen lived to remorse revealing the true-life inspiration for the music and apologized to "Joplin's ghost" for revealing specific particulars of their temporary tryst. He would not return to Poland till 2008, and by that time Cohen was headlining large arenas and Poland was a free nation. It was a state of affairs virtually inconceivable to think about again in 1985.