Tower of Song

Album: I'm Your Man (1988)
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Songfacts®:

  • The closing track of I'm Your Man, Leonard Cohen penned this as a statement about the songwriting craft. Speaking to Q Magazine's Adrian Deevoy in 1991, he said, "Tower of Song is that place where the writer is stuck. For better or worse, you're in it. I've come this far down the line. I'm not going to turn around and become a forest ranger or a neurosurgeon. I'm a songwriter."
  • Cohen first started work on the song in the early eighties when he called the work "Raise My Voice in Song." He abandoned it for several years, but one night in Montreal he completed the lyrics, called an engineer and recorded it in one take for I'm Your Man using a toy synthesizer.
  • In 1995 a tribute album to Leonard Cohen was released with the title of Tower of Song: The Songs of Leonard Cohen. Despite taking its name from this tune, "Tower of Song" does not actually appear on the record.
  • Leonard Cohen sings of his midlife writer's block:

    I ache in the places where I used to play

    Asked years later by the Mail on Sunday's pop critic Tim de Lisle how those places are doing, Cohen replied gleefully: "I can't even locate them."

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