Leonard Cohen Performs In Celebration Of 1976 Swedish Royal Wedding Of King Gustav To Queen Silvia

The Leonard Cohen Swedish Royal Wedding Invitation Story

As an unanticipated result of her quest to track down her first image of Leonard Cohen, Rike serendipitously discovered the description of a wedding-related performance by the Canadian singer-songwriter in 1976 and has forwarded the following translation from an article published in the June 14, 1976 issue of Express, an Austrian newspaper that later merged with Kronenzeitung:1

During his tour through France, England, and Scandinavia, Cohen was invited to attend the Swedish royal wedding since Queen Silvia knows all of his albums and books. Leonard Cohen was granted an audience despite the hustle and bustle of the wedding and reciprocated in his own way: he gave a Court performance lasting 25 minutes.

The 1976 Wedding of King Carl XVI Gustav & Queen Silvia of Sweden

For those whose knowledge of Swedish royal weddings isn’t as thorough as one might wish, we offer this succinct reprise of the events leading up to the 1976 marriage.2

While born in Germany, Queen Silvia (née Silvia Renate Sommerlath; born 23 December 1943) grew up in São Paulo, Brazil, returning to West Germany in 1957. Silvia Sommerlath worked at the Argentine Consulate in Munich, was an educational host during the 1972 Summer Olympics in Munich, and served as the Deputy Head of Protocol for the Winter Games in Innsbruck in Austria. During the 1972 Summer Olympics, she met Crown Prince Carl Gustav (who became King Gustav following the death of his grandfather, King Gustaf VI Adolf in 1973. In a later interview, the King explained how it just “clicked” when they met. Gustav and Silvia announced their engagement on 12 March 1976 and were married three months later, on June 19 in Stockholm Cathedral (“Storkyrkan Cathedral”) in Stockholm.

One deduces from the date of the newspaper article (June 14, 1976) and the date of the wedding (June 19, 1976) that Leonard Cohen’s performance for the Queen took place before rather than at the wedding.

It turns out that another musical performance was part of the prenuptial festivities: ABBA performed “Dancing Queen” on Swedish television the night before the ceremony, although the song was not actually written for Queen Silvia.3

 

ABBA – Dancing Queen – 1976

 

As it turns out, there are no videos of Leonard Cohen’s Royal Wedding performance available online.

As it turns out, a paucity of historical artifacts has never stopped DrHGuy before.

Consequently, this site is reasonably proud to introduce the premiere of The 1976 Wedding of King Gustav and Queen Silvia of Sweden With Leonard Cohen Soundtrack, featuring scenes from the royal event set to the strains of one of the songs from the 1976 Tour, “Do I Have To Dance All Night.”

 

The 1976 Wedding of King Gustav and Queen Silvia of Sweden With Leonard Cohen Soundtrack: Do I Have To Dance All Night

 

Leonard – Now, About The 2011 DrHGuy-Duchess Wedding

Let’s consider the 1976 story and its 2011 implications:

1. Cohen was invited to attend the Swedish royal wedding since Queen Silvia knows all of his albums and books.

As it turns out, Leonard, The Duchess and I know all your books and albums – including those released since 1976. Now, we don’t pretend to be on equal footing with European royalty, but you don’t seem like much of a monarchist. So, consider yourself invited to our wedding.

2. Leonard Cohen was granted an audience despite the hustle and bustle of the wedding.

We’ve got loads of both pre-wedding hustle and bustle, despite which we are willing to grant you an audience. Heck, we can grant you an audience of a few thousand fans if you want to kick off your 2012 Tour early.

3. [Leonard Cohen] reciprocated in his own way: he gave a Court performance lasting 25 minutes.

Well, 25 minutes seems a tad short, but since you’re still working on an album, we’re willing to compromise, especially if you throw in “Do I Have To Dance All Night.”

Oh, one more thing – it would be great if you could bring Anjani as your plus-one; we really like your duet version of “Whither Thou Goest.” Thanks.

To Our Guests: How could this ploy not work? You all had better save the date.

Credit Due Department: While the newspaper story is accurately reported, the photo atop this post is a photo-manipulated re-imagining of a scene from the wedding march composed to simulate that moment when King Gustav notices the presence of the Troubadour Of Love. By the way, that really is King Gustav, NOT Kelsey Grammer, in the photo.

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, 2011 at 1HeckOfAGuy.com, a predecessor of Cohencentric.

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  1. The clipping itself was found in the Die Presse archives, which includes articles from several Austrian newspapers. []
  2. The information about the Royal Wedding of King Carl Gustav and Queen Silvia of Sweden is from Wikipedia. []
  3. Wikipedia. []

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