Dance Me to the End of Love.

"He was totally unlike anybody else" (Judy Collins); First Edition of Dance Me To The End of Love; Inscribed by Leonard Cohen to Judy Collins

Dance Me to the End of Love.

COHEN, Leonard (Judy Collins).


Item Number: 98477

New York: Welcome Enterprises, 1995.

First edition of Cohen’s work, a lyrical tribute to love. Thin quarto, original illustrated boards. Paintings by Henri Matisse. Edited by Linda Sunshine. Association copy, inscribed by the author to Judy Collins on the front free endpaper, “Dear Judy thank-you for shameless love, as always Leonard Los Angeles 1995” with Cohen’s “Order of the Unified Heart” ink stamp, his embossed stamp, and Collins’ signature above. Collins was essentially responsible for Cohen’s musical career. As she writes in her autobiography Trust Your Heart, “I met Leonard Cohen in 1966, when my Canadian friend Mary Martin arranged for us to meet. Leonard had been a published and successful writer and poet for many years, and had recently written his first songs. He came down from Canada one night, and I listened to his songs in my living room. He sang ‘Suzanne’ and ‘Dress Rehearsal Rag’ that night, sitting on the couch, holding the guitar on his knee. I was moved by his singing voice, and by the songs, and by his whole presence. There was something very ethereal and at the same time earthy about his voice. When Leonard sang, I was entranced. I became immediately devoted to him, and we soon were friends… I recorded ‘Suzanne’ and ‘Dress Rehearsal Rag’ on In My Life in 1966, and it went gold in 1967. With the record’s success, Leonard became known as a songwriter. I suggested he make his debut and sing in public, but he was terribly shy. I knew once he got over his fear, he would be powerful on stage. I was going to appear at a concert for Sane against the Vietnam War at Town Hall, on April 30, 1967. I asked Leonard if he would sing Suzanne there. ‘I can’t do it, Judy, I would die from embarrassment.’ ‘Leonard, you are a great writer and a fine singer, people want to hear you.’ He finally agreed, reluctantly. When I introduced him, he walked onto the stage hesitantly, his guitar slung across his hips, and from the wings I could see his legs shaking inside his trousers. He began ‘Suzanne,’ with the hushed audience leaning forward in their seats; he got halfway through the first verse and stopped. ‘I can’t go on,’ he said, and left the stage, while the audience clapped and shouted, calling for him to come back. ‘We love you, you’re great!’ Their voices followed him backstage, where he stood with his head on my shoulder, my arms around him. ‘I can’t do it, I can’t go back.’… He looked about ten years old. His mouth drew down at the sides, he started to untangle himself from his guitar strap. I stopped him, touching him on the shoulder. ‘But you will,’ I said. He shook himself and drew his body up and put his shoulders back, smiled again, and walked back onto the stage. He finished ‘Suzanne,’ and the audience went wild. He has been giving concerts ever since.  I have loved and recorded so many of his songs… His songs carried me through dark years like mantras or stones that you hold in your hand while the sun rises or the fire burns. They kept me centered as I stood in front of thousands of people, my eyes closed, my hands around the neck of a guitar, my voice singing his ethereal lyrics. The audience responded to his writing, the songs were like water to a person dying of thirst. They were songs for the spirit when our spirits were strained to the breaking point.” An exceptional association, perhaps the finest possible as without Collins, Leonard Cohen musical career may not have been discovered. Near fine in a near fine dust jacket. From the library of Judy Collins.

Leonard Cohen's song is a lyrical tribute to the miracle of love, the grace it bestows on us and its healing, restorative power. Originally recorded on his Various Positions album, and featured in Cohen's anthology, Stranger Music, this poetic song is gloriously married to the art works by Henri Matisse, perhaps the greatest artist of the twentieth century. "I had this dance within me for a long time," Matisse once said in describing one of his murals. Dance Me to the End of Love is the perfect book for art lovers, song lovers, and all other lovers as well.

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