His coffee-table chronicles include Canyon Dreams: The Magic and Music of Laurel Canyon (2009); A Perfect Haze: The Illustrated History of the Monterey International Pop Festival (2011); and Turn Up the Radio! Rock, Pop and Roll in Los Angeles 1956-1972 (2014). So it stands to reason that Kubernik would deliver a breathtaking, visual and literal treatise on Leonard Cohen, that legendary Canadian balladeer with the beatified baritone.
“I was first drawn to Leonard Cohen after hearing his Columbia Records debut late one night on L.A.’s KPPC-FM,” Kubernik says. “I interviewed him in 1974 at the Continental Hyatt House in Hollywood for Melody Maker. He was a mensch.”
Decades of personal adoration has manifested into this vibrant collage, Leonard Cohen: Everybody Knows (Backbeat Books, $35). It includes rare photographs, memorabilia and recollections from Cohen aficionados such as early Rolling Stones manager Andrew Loog Oldham; ’70s glam/punk entrepreneur Kim Fowley; avant-garde rocker Nick Cave; and filmmaker Curtis Hanson, who placed one of Cohen’s songs in his flick, Wonder Boys. Through it all, Harvey’s goal, as stated in the book’s introduction, is to bring “clarity and context to this most extravagantly lived, most solitary of public lives.”
Hallelujah, Harvey Kubernik, for going deep. Again.