Show Me The Place

Album: Old Ideas (2012)

Songfacts®:

  • This simple ballad anchored by country-gospel piano features a classic Cohen sentiment. He whispers:

    Show me the place where the Word became a man
    Show me the place where the suffering began


    Cohen penned the song with Patrick Leonard, who is best known for co-writing many of Madonna's late '80s hits.
  • The song is one of four tracks on Old Ideas that Leonard helped Cohen to pen. The Canadian singer-poet was appreciative of his songwriting partner's talent. He told Mojo magazine: "His musical sense is so inventive, so imaginative and so appropriate, and he has no ego in this process. If you don't like something, he doesn't argue for it. And when I understood the level at which he was working, I was also ready to reconsider a lyric - which I'm usually not ready to do, because by the time I get something I give to somebody to look at, it has already gone through a lot of changes and permutations. But working with Pat, his approach was so delicate- perhaps we needed another word in a line? - And the combinations he made were so appropriate to the lyric, I would very seriously consider an accommodation he suggested."
  • The song features backing vocals from singer-songwriter Jennifer Warnes, whose biggest hits include two Oscar winning duets: "Up Where We Belong" (with Joe Cocker, from An Officer and a Gentleman) and ""(I've Had) The Time of My Life" (with Bill Medley from Dirty Dancer). In 1971, she met Cohen, and they became lifelong friends. Warnes has toured Europe with Cohen's band and featured as vocal arranger and guest singer on many of his albums. In 1986 she recorded the album Famous Blue Raincoat, which was made up entirely of Cohen-penned songs.

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