Various Artists' I'm Your Fan: The Songs of Leonard Cohen - 33 1/3 (Paperback)
  • Various Artists' I'm Your Fan: The Songs of Leonard Cohen - 33 1/3 (Paperback)
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Various Artists' I'm Your Fan: The Songs of Leonard Cohen - 33 1/3 (Paperback)

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£9.99
Paperback 168 Pages / Published: 03/09/2020
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When I'm Your Fan: The Songs of Leonard Cohen hit stores in 1991, Leonard Cohen's career had plummeted from its revered 1960s high. Cohen's record label had refused to release his 1984 album Various Positions--including the song "Hallelujah"--in the United States. Luckily, Velvet Underground founder John Cale was one of the few who did hear "Hallelujah," and he covered it for I'm Your Fan, a collection of Cohen's songs produced by a French fanzine. Jeff Buckley adored the tribute album and covered Cale's cover in 1994, never having heard Cohen's still-obscure original version. In 2016, Stereogum labeled the tribute album "possibly the most universally derided format in pop music." However, without a tribute album, you wouldn't know the song "Hallelujah." Through Buckley through Cale, "Hallelujah" is now one of the most often-performed songs in the world--and it wouldn't be without this tribute album. I'm Your Fan thus offers a particularly notable example of a much broader truth: Despite all the eye-rolling they inspire, tribute albums matter. They can resuscitate legends' fading careers, or expose obscure artists who never had much of a career to begin with.

Publisher: Bloomsbury Publishing Plc
ISBN: 9781501355066
Number of pages: 168
Weight: 162 g
Dimensions: 165 x 121 mm


MEDIA REVIEWS
Ray Padgett's deeply-researched, passionately written book did what the very best tribute albums do: Recontextualized and deepened the source material. In the same way that John Cale made listeners hear "Hallelujah" anew, this book made me hear tribute albums like I'd never heard them before. * David Marchese, Columnist, New York Times Magazine *
If you read Ray Padgett's book, and you really should, I guarantee that, if you have the album he's writing about, you'll be digging it out to listen with fresh ears. If you don't have it, you'll be hitting the internet to check out the album and the covers therein. * Americana UK *
Using the famed Leonard Cohen covers collection as its jumping-off point, Ray Padgett's I'm Your Fan digs into the weird, ever-expanding world of the tribute album. We get a detailed account of how I'm Your Fan: The Songs of Leonard Cohen came together via revealing interviews with its curators and performers. We learn how the album kickstarted Cohen's then somewhat-flailing career and-for better or worse-helped turn the then obscure 'Hallelujah' into the ubiquitous standard it is today. We discover that Nick Cave and the Bad Seeds' version of 'Tower of Song' originally clocked in at over a half-hour. It's all great stuff. But even more interesting are the various side-trips Padgett takes the reader on: like a chat with the late/great tribute album pioneer Hal Willner ('It's all my fault isn't it?' he asks wearily); or a lengthy digression with Juliana Hatfield, a tribute album mainstay who doesn't really like tribute albums. Like most of the 33 1/3 books, I'm Your Fan is a quick read, but you'll want to savor this one. * Aquarium Drunkard *
I'm Your Fan changed Cohen's career from a mid-tier, well-regarded songwriter to someone rightfully considered among our finest musical poets. Not many, if any, tribute discs can make a similar claim on their impact. Padgett's deep dive into the how's and why's of that claim make for a quick yet engrossing read. * Rock & Roll Globe *
A smart and lively look at a project that was oddly significant in Leonard Cohen's career - but, beyond that, a long-overdue examination that (partly) redeems the much reviled format of the tribute album. * Alan Light, author of The Holy or the Broken: Leonard Cohen, Jeff Buckley, and the Unlikely Ascent of "Hallelujah" *
I'm Your Fan uses a specific tribute album to explore multiple aspects of music fandom and record culture-how artists channel their influences, how a song's meaning can change over time, the way formats shape our understanding of music history. A marvelous entry in the 33 1/3 series, even for those who've never heard the album in question. * Mark Richardson, former Editor-in-Chief, Pitchfork *

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