Click to return to Dave’s Music Database home page.

Charted: March 2, 1968

Rating: 4.545 (average of 11 ratings)

Genre: folk singer/songwriter

Quotable: “few musicians have ever created a more remarkable or enduring debut” – Mark Deming, All Music Guide

Album Tracks:

  1. Suzanne
  2. Master Song
  3. Winter Lady
  4. Stranger Song
  5. Sisters of Mercy
  6. So Long, Marianne
  7. Hey, That’s No Way to Say Goodbye
  8. Stories of the Street
  9. Teachers
  10. One of Us Cannot Be Wrong


sales in U.S. only ½ million
sales in U.K. only - estimated --
sales in all of Europe as determined by IFPI – click here to go to their site. --
sales worldwide - estimated ½ million


peak on U.S. Billboard album chart 83
peak on U.K. album chart 13

Singles/ Hit Songs:

  • Suzanne (4/68) --


Rated one of the top 1000 albums of all time by Dave’s Music Database. Click to learn more.

Songs of Leonard Cohen
Leonard Cohen
“At a time when a growing number of pop songwriters were embracing a more explicitly poetic approach in their lyrics, the 1967 debut album from Leonard Cohen introduced a songwriter who, rather than being inspired by ‘serious’ literature, took up music after establishing himself as a published author and poet” (Deming).

“The ten songs on Songs of Leonard Cohen were certainly beautifully constructed, artful in a way few (if any) other lyricists would approach for some time, but what’s most striking about these songs isn’t Cohen’s technique, superb as it is, so much as his portraits of a world dominated by love and lust, rage and need, compassion and betrayal” (Deming).

“While the relationship between men and women was often the framework for Cohen’s songs (he didn’t earn the nickname ‘the master of erotic despair’ for nothing), he didn’t write about love; rather, Cohen used the never-ending thrust and parry between the sexes as a jumping off point for his obsessive investigation of humanity’s occasional kindness and frequent atrocities (both emotional and physical)” (Deming).

“Cohen’s world view would be heady stuff at nearly any time and place, but coming in a year when pop music was only just beginning to be taken seriously, Songs of Leonard Cohen was a truly audacious achievement, as bold a challenge to pop music conventions as the other great debut of the year, The Velvet Underground & Nico, and a nearly perfectly realized product of his creative imagination” (Deming).

“Producer John Simon added a touch of polish to Cohen’s songs with his arrangements (originally Cohen wanted no accompaniment other than his guitar), though the results don’t detract from his dry but emotive vocals; instead, they complement his lyrics with a thoughtful beauty and give the songs even greater strength” (Deming).

“A number of Cohen’s finest songs appeared here, including the luminous Suzanne, the subtly venomous Master Song and Sisters of Mercy, which would later be used to memorable effect in Robert Altman’s film McCabe and Mrs. Miller. Many artists work their whole career to create a work as singular and accomplished as Songs of Leonard Cohen, and Cohen worked this alchemy the first time he entered a recording studio; few musicians have ever created a more remarkable or enduring debut” (Deming).

Review Source(s):

Last updated April 28, 2008.