Harvey Kubernik’s Leonard Cohen: Everybody Knows (Book Review)
Leonard Cohen turned 80 last month and book publishers have taken note, issuing a large crop of books about the one-of-a-kind singer-songwriter. The volume you should run out and buy first, of course, is my own Leonard Cohen on Leonard Cohen: Interviews and Encounters. After that, though, you might want to pick up Leonard Cohen: Everybody Knows, by veteran rock writer Harvey Kubernik.
Kubernik — who contributed an interview from Cohen’s Phil Spector period to my anthology — has delivered a handsome coffee table book, featuring high-gloss, oversized pages and lots of well-chosen, beautifully reproduced photos, many in color. Seemingly designed more for browsing than for reading from front to back, Everybody Knows is a grab bag of memorabilia and information. You’ll find incisive commentary from the author; memorable anecdotes and insights from the singer’s friends, associates and critics and Cohen himself; a detailed timeline of the artist’s activities over the years; and an exhaustive 18-page discography that includes compilations, singles, guest appearances, DVDs and tribute albums.
Though many of the quotes are fresh, quite a few have been pulled from previously published sources, and a lot of the photos have appeared before, too. Nevertheless, Kubernik has done an excellent job of pulling everything together and this is a noteworthy book that Cohen fans will likely find hard to put down.
Jeff Burger (byjeffburger.com) edited Leonard Cohen on Leonard Cohen: Interviews and Encounters and Springsteen on Springsteen: Interviews, Speeches, and Encounters, both published by Chicago Review Press.