Come Spend The Morning – The Only Song Written By Leonard Cohen & Bob Johnston

The Bob Johnston – Leonard Cohen Songwriting Team

In 1972 or 1973, Leonard Cohen wrote the lyrics to and Bob Johnston composed the music for “Come Spend The Morning,” a song performed by Lee Hazlewood on “Poet, Fool Or Bum” (1973) and by Engelbert Humperdinck on “Don’t You Love Me Anymore” (1981).

While little is known about how this collaboration between Cohen and Johnston came about, the most puzzling issue may be why the two as a team produced only one such song. Most Cohencentric readers are familiar with Leonard Cohen’s credentials as a songwriter. And Bob Johnston, while best known as the producer responsible for Johnny Cash’s “Folsom Prison” and “San Quentin” albums, Simon & Garfunkel’s “Bookends,” several Willie Nelson records, and Bob Dylan’s “Highway 61 Revisited,” “Blonde On Blonde,” “John Wesley Harding,” “Nashville Skyline,” “Self Portrait”, and “New Morning,” he also wrote for Mac Curtis and others, recorded a few of his own rockabilly singles (1956 to 1961), did freelance arranging for Dot Records, and served as a songwriter for music publisher Hill and Range.

Further, Johnston and Cohen were familiar with, respected, and liked each other. Johnston produced three of Leonard Cohen’s albums: Songs from a Room (1969), Songs of Love and Hate (1971), and Live Songs (1973) and toured twice with Cohen:

Regardless, only one song is attributed to Cohen and Johnston jointly – and Leonard Cohen has never performed it.

“Come Spend The Morning” Lyrics As Performed By Engelbert Humperdinck

We took the night as it came to us
And it came like the tide from the sea
Long legged, dusty eyed, satisfied woman
Come spend the morning with me

We took the night as it came to us
Both of us hungry and free
Long legged, open eyed, satisfied woman
Come spend the morning with me

Wake up my lady, the darkness is gone
Whatever will be, let it be
Long legged, dusty eyed, satisfied woman
Come on, spend the morning with me

“Come Spend The Morning” Lyrics As Performed By Lee Hazlewood

Long legged, dusty-eyed, satisfied woman,
Come spend the morning with me.

We took the night
As it came to us
Both of us hungry and free
Long legged, dusty-eyed, satisfied woman,
Come spend the morning with me.

Go tell the saints on their crosses
Go tell all the brave, young
Captains at war
To come back and find them such a peaceful morning
Then they’ll go killing no more.

Come spend the morning,
Come spend the morning,
Come spend the morning with me.

Wake up my lady
The darkness is gone
Once again, I guess we’re both free
Ah you, long legged, open-eyed, satisfied woman,
Come on, spend the morning, Spend the morning with me.

Two Performances Of “Come Spend The Morning”

This is not, to my ears, a great Cohen song – or for that matter, a great Johnston, Humperdinck or Hazlewood1 song although Lee’s laid back, urbane cowboy approach comes closest to redeeming it for me.

The song does, however, have its defenders. A significant number of approbative YouTube comments are in the vein of “Leonard Cohen is one of the best poets in the world of music, and Lee is the coolest “Cowboy” ever to have set foot here in ****” and “What a gem. so beautiful it gives me shivers. I can hear Cohen in this. . ..”

And, on reflection, “Come Spend The Morning” does offer a certain sweetness and dignity in the dawning of a new day. I’ve come, in fact, to think of “Come Spend The Morning” as the anthem of the morning after that night spent with “Winter Lady:”

Trav’ling lady, stay awhile
until the night is over.
I’m just a station on your way,
I know I’m not your lover.

Engelbert Humperdinck – Come Spend The Morning

 

Lee Hazlewood – Come Spend The Morning

I am republishing selected posts from my former Leonard Cohen site, Cohencentric, here on AllanShowalter.com (these posts can be found at Leonard Cohen). This entry was originally posted May 25, 2011 at 1HeckOfAGuy.com.

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  1. It is telling that “Poet, Fool Or Bum,” the Hazlewood album on which “Come Spend The Morning” appears, is best known as the straight line for NME’s Charles Shaar Murray, who answered the question implicitly posed by the album’s title with a one-word review – “bum.” []

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