Death of a Ladies' Man (album)

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Death of a Ladies' Man
Studio album by Leonard Cohen
Released November 13, 1977
Recorded June and July 1977
Genre Folk rock
Length 42:34
Label Warner Bros. (original release)
Columbia (reissue)
Producer Phil Spector
Leonard Cohen chronology
New Skin for the Old Ceremony
Death of a Ladies' Man
Recent Songs

Death of a Ladies' Man is the fifth studio album by Leonard Cohen. Produced and co-written by Phil Spector, the voice of typically minimalist Cohen was surrounded by Spector's Wall of Sound, which included multiple tracks of instrument overdubs. The album was originally released by Warner Bros., but was later picked up by Cohen's longtime label, Columbia Records.

Fifteen songs were written by the two over a course of three weeks, and Spector described it as "some great fuckin' music".[citation needed] Not everyone agreed with this assessment, preferring Cohen's earlier acoustic folk music to the jazz-, rock- and funk-influenced arrangements. Among the seven unknown outtakes is probably "Do I Have to Dance All Night".[citation needed] A live recording was released in France as a single in 1976. Bob Dylan and Allen Ginsberg sang backup vocals on the chorus of "Don't Go Home with Your Hard-on".

Death of a Ladies' Man was recorded in Los Angeles, California. Before Cohen had completed his vocals, Spector barred him from the studio (supposedly under armed guard) and mixed the album by himself. For this reason some of the songs only have "guiding vocals" originally meant to be redone later.[citation needed] Interviewed for the 2005 documentary I'm Your Man, Cohen expressed disappointment in the record and felt that the songs "got away" from him; he also noted that it was a favorite among "punksters" as well as his daughter. At the time of the album's release, however, Cohen was much less generous in his public response to the album, calling Spector's production "a 'catastrophe.'"[1]

Cover art[edit]

The photo shown on the cover of Death of a Ladies' Man is very similar to that of Art Garfunkel's 1975 album Breakaway. The liner notes of the Cohen album disclose tha the photo was taken by an "Anonymous Roving Photographer At A Forgotten Polynesian Restaurant." It features (from left to right) Eva LaPierre, Cohen himself and Suzanne Elrod—mother of Adam and Lorca Cohen.


Professional ratings
Review scores
Source Rating
Allmusic 4/5 stars[2]
Sounds (favorable)[3]
Robert Christgau B−[4]

According to one of Cohen's biographers, Ira Nadel, contemporary "reaction to the album was largely negative," citing negative reviews from Rolling Stone magazine (which titled its review "Leonard Cohen's Doo-Wop Nightmare") and The Toronto Star.[1]

Track listing[edit]

All songs written by Leonard Cohen (words) and Phil Spector (music).

Side one[edit]

  1. "True Love Leaves No Traces" – 4:26
  2. "Iodine" – 5:03
  3. "Paper Thin Hotel" – 5:42
  4. "Memories" – 5:59 (Outro includes a quotation from The Shields' 1958 single "You Cheated, You Lied"[5][6] and a reference to classic-era pop singer Frankie Laine.)

Side two[edit]

  1. "I Left a Woman Waiting" – 3:28
  2. "Don't Go Home with Your Hard-On" – 5:36
  3. "Fingerprints" – 2:58
  4. "Death of a Ladies' Man" – 9:19


  • Art Blaine – Guitar
  • Hal Blaine – Drums
  • Ronee Blakley – Background Vocals, Featured on "True Love Leaves No Traces," "Iodine," and "Memories."
  • Bobby Bruce – Fiddle, Violin
  • Brenda Bryant – Background Vocals
  • John Cabalka – Art Direction
  • Conte Candoli – Trumpet
  • Leonard Cohen – Composer, Vocals
  • Ron Coro – Design
  • Jesse Ed Davis – Guitar
  • Billy Diez – Background Vocals
  • Steve Douglas – Flute, Saxophone, Wind
  • Oma Drake – Background Vocals
  • Bob Dylan – Background Vocals
  • Gene Estes – Percussion
  • Venetta Fields – Background Vocals
  • Gerald Garrett – Background Vocals
  • Terry Gibbs – Percussion, Vibraphone
  • Allen Ginsberg – Background Vocals
  • Bruce Gold – Engineer, Assistant Engineer
  • Barry Goldberg – Keyboards
  • Tom Hensley – Keyboards
  • David Isaac – Guitar
  • Pete Jolly – Keyboards
  • Jim Keltner – Drums
  • Dan Kessel – Organ, Synthesizer, Guitar, Keyboards, Background Vocals
  • David Kessel – Guitar, Background Vocals
  • Clydie King – Background Vocals
  • Sneaky Pete Kleinow – Guitar, Pedal Steel, Slide Guitar
  • Michael Lang – Keyboards
  • Larry Levine – Engineer
  • Charles Loper – Trombone
  • Sherlie Matthews – Background Vocals
  • Bill Mays – Keyboards
  • Don Menza – Flute, Saxophone, Wind, Horn Arrangements
  • Jay Migliori – Saxophone
  • Art Munson – Guitar
  • Bill Naegels – Design
  • Ray Neapolitan – Electric & Upright Bass
  • Al Perkins – Pedal Steel, Slide Guitar
  • Ray Pohlman – Bass, Guitar
  • Emil Radocchia – Percussion
  • Don Randi – Keyboards
  • Jack Redmond – Trombone
  • Bob Robitaille – Synthesizer, Assistant Engineer, Synthesizer Programming
  • Devra Robitaille – Synthesizer, Producer
  • Stan Ross – Assistant Engineer
  • Phil Spector – Guitar, Composer, Keyboards, Background Vocals, Producer, Vocal Arrangement, Rhythm Arrangements
  • Nino Tempo – Arranger
  • Bill Thedford – Background Vocals
  • Julia Tillman Waters – Background Vocals
  • Oren Waters – Background Vocals
  • Lorna Willard – Background Vocals
  • Robert Zimmitti – Percussion

Cover recordings and live performances[edit]

Death of a Ladies' Man has inspired fewer cover versions than any preceding Cohen album, but both "True Love Leaves No Traces" and "Don't Go Home with Your Hard-on" were covered on the Cohen tribute album I'm Your Fan. The songs were performed by Dead Famous People and the duo David McComb & Adam Peters, respectively.

Of the album's eight selections, "Memories" is the only track Cohen regularly performed in concert (on tours in 1979, 1980 and 1985). Cohen apparently liked the song enough that he included it in his 1983 experimental art film, I Am a Hotel, as the sole non-acoustic piece alongside four other songs which have generally enjoyed more positive fan response, "Suzanne," "Chelsea Hotel #2," "The Guests," and "The Gypsy's Wife." A "de-Spectorized" version of "Memories" ended up being released when Cohen's album, Field Commander Cohen: Tour of 1979 was issued in 2001. This version eliminated much of the harmonizing and included a saxophone solo. "Memories" has also been covered at least five times by other artists, including John Darnielle of The Mountain Goats. "Iodine" earned three known performances in the European tour of 1979.

Early versions of "Iodine" (then called "Guerrero") and "Don't Go Home with Your Hard-on" were performed in concert as early as 1975, then with music by John Lissauer.

The Last Shadow Puppets performed a version of "Memories" on their Autumn 2008 tour.

Swedish singer Svante Karlsson mentioned the album title in the song "I Nöd & Lust" (from Tro Inte Att Du Känner Mig 2010) in which the female character listens to it in her head phones during a train ride.


Cohen published the book "Death of a Lady's Man" in 1978.

In 2009, Scottish author Alan Bissett released his third novel, Death of a Ladies' Man, which makes references to Cohen throughout the text.


  1. ^ a b Nadel, Ira B. Various Position: A Life of Leonard Cohen. Pantheon Books: New York, 1996.
  2. ^ Allmusic review
  3. ^ Sounds magazine review
  4. ^ Robert Christgau review
  5. ^ "The Shields- You Cheated". YouTube. 2008-04-12. Retrieved 2012-01-10. 
  6. ^ "You Cheated, You Lied Lyrics The Shields". 1926-03-27. Retrieved 2012-01-10. 

External links[edit]