The Ballad Of Len
Musical tributes to Leonard Cohen have been performed by such luminaries as Peter Gabriel, Elvis Costello, Billy Joel, Willie Nelson, Elton John, Sting, Feist, The Pixies, U2, Nick Cave, Madeleine Peyroux, R.E.M., Sharon Robinson, and many, many others.
But, the ultimate version of this genre is only now online.
“The Ballad Of Len,” featuring lyrics by DrHGuy and set to music not unlike that of the theme from The Beverly Hillbillies, was performed August 4, 2012 by Sylvie Simmons, the renowned music journalist and author of the definitive Leonard Cohen biography, “I’m Your Man,” and Heidi Clare, widely acknowledged as the best, most powerful old-time fiddler performing today, at the 2012 Leonard Cohen Event held in Madison, Wisconsin.
No, I have no idea what Ms Simmons and Ms Clare were thinking – or smoking – when they agreed to this.
But, if you’ve always yearned for a parody of “The Ballad Of Jed Clampett” commemorating the 2008-2010 Leonard Cohen World Tour, sung in a British accent, and exquisitely accompanied by ukulele and fiddle — well, friend, this is your lucky day.
Sylvie Simmons & Heidi Clare – The Ballad Of Len
Video by Maarten Massa
Ballad Of Len – Lyrics
Come and listen to a story ’bout a man named Len
Up on Mount Baldy he was contemplatin’ Zen1
Then one day checking his retirement stash,
He found out that he was plumb out of cash2
(Swindled that is, cleaned out, busted)
Well, Our Man’s3 future was looking insecure
Rob Hallett4 said “Len, you’ve gotta go on tour,”
Said on the road is the place you oughta be
So, he bought a fedora and signed with AEG5
(Worldwide that is, Europe, North America, Down Under)
Well the concerts were a hit right from the kickoff show
Fredericton6 welcomed him with a standing O
The Tour earned big bucks and even more esteem
Not too bad for a kid with a crazy dream7
(White man dancing, cheerfulness breaking through, dum, dum, dum, da, doo, dum, dum)
In Vegas three years later the tour was finally done8
When Leonard told the crowd, “God bless us every one”
Now Cohenites9 are happy from Manhattan to Berlin10
Leonard’s going back on tour11 – here we go again
(Presales, VIP packages, Y’all buy that I’m Your Man biography now, ya hear?)
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 Aug 5, 2012; some updates have been made.
- Leonard Cohen resided at the Mount Baldy Zen Center near Los Angeles from 1994 – 1999. During his stay, Cohen was ordained as a Rinzai Zen Buddhist monk, taking the Dharma name Jikan. For more information. [↩]
- Cohen sued his former manager for stealing $5m from his retirement fund while he was at the Zen Buddhist monastery. [↩]
- “Our Man” is one of Leonard Cohen’s many nicknames. [↩]
- Rob Hallett is a concert promoter for AEG, who among other accomplishments, is held to have coaxed Leonard Cohen out of retirement for the 2008-2011 World Tour. Source: Praise Be… Or How “Hallelujah” Man Leonard Cohen’s Comeback Actually Happened by Johnny Black (Rock’s Back Pages, Jan 9,. 2009) [↩]
- The Anschutz Entertainment Group (AEG) is a sporting and music entertainment presenter and managed Leonard Cohen’s 2008-2010 Tour [↩]
- Fredericton, New Brunswick, Canada, was the site of Leonard Cohen’s first concert of the 2008-2010 Tour, performed on 11 May 2008. [↩]
- A recurrent schtick in Leonard Cohen’s 2008-2010 concert routine was noting that when he last performed at a given venue when he was 60 years old, “just a kid with a crazy dream. [↩]
- The 11 Dec 2010 Leonard Cohen Las Vegas show closed out the 2008-2010 Leonard Cohen World Tour [↩]
- “Cohenites” is the preferred term for Cohen followers [↩]
- As in “First We Take Manhattan … [↩]
- The 2012 Leonard Cohen Old Ideas World Tour begins Aug 12, 2012 [↩]