On Sept 7, 1974 at the Paris, Parc de la Courneuve concert, Leonard Cohen performed “Beloved Comrade” for the only time in his career. It is significant that the concert was part of the annual Fête de l’Humanité organized by Parti communiste français (French Communist Party). Cohen’s opening words (in French) were “Good evening friends, citizens, spies… angels of peace and violence.”
“Beloved Comrade” was written in 1945 by Lewis Allan (lyrics) and Fred Katz (music) in response to the death of Franklin Roosevelt or as a tribute to fallen Abraham Lincoln brigade soldiers in the Spanish Civil War (sources vary). In any case, the song has been performed many times from both perspectives.
Leonard Cohen first learned the song as a teenager during summer camp from The People’s Songbook, which was also his source for “The Partisan,” “Kevin Barry,” “Solidarity,” & other songs.
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 June 6, 2013 at 1HeckOfAGuy.com.