Dear Heather

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Dear Heather
Studio album by Leonard Cohen
Released October 26, 2004
Recorded 1979, July 9, 1985, 2002–04
Genre Soft rock, contemporary folk
Length 49:27
Label Columbia
Producer Leanne Ungar, Sharon Robinson, Anjani Thomas, Henry Lewy, Leonard Cohen
Leonard Cohen chronology
The Essential Leonard Cohen
(2002)The Essential Leonard Cohen2002
Dear Heather
Live in London
(2009)Live in London2009

Dear Heather is the 11th studio album by Canadian singer-songwriter Leonard Cohen, released by Columbia Records in 2004.


Three tracks on the album – "Go No More A-Roving", "The Letters" and "There For You" – came from the Ten New Songs recording sessions, Cohen's previous album from 2001. As such, Sharon Robinson supplied the music, production, and singing for those songs.[citation needed] The rest of the material came from various sources that feature Cohen experimenting with different musical approaches. On "To a Teacher", Cohen quotes himself from The Spice-Box of Earth, his second collection of poetry from 1961. The basic tracks of "The Faith" dated back to the Recent Songs sessions from 1979. The album concludes with a live version of the country standard "Tennessee Waltz", which was taken from a performance during his tour in support of the LP Various Positions. Considering the plethora of sources from which the material sprang, Cohen had originally wanted to call the album Old Ideas, but eventually changed it to Dear Heather for fear that fans might assume it was merely a compilation or "best of" package (Old Ideas would be the title of Cohen's next studio album). There is a marked increase in spoken poetry over singing,[citation needed] with two songs featuring words by other writers: Lord Byron ("No More A-Roving") and F. R. Scott ("Villanelle for our Time"). The gospel-tinged "On That Day" addresses the still-raw tragedy and horror of the 9/11 terrorist attacks.[citation needed]

Cohen did not tour or do interviews to support the album, which was dedicated to Cohen's ailing friend Irving Layton, the late Canadian poet A. M. Klein and the late R&B singer Carl Anderson.


Professional ratings
Review scores
Source Rating
AllMusic 3.5/5 stars[1]
Robert Christgau B[2]
Rolling Stone 3.5/5 stars[4]
Pitchfork 8.0/10[3]

The album reached #131 on the Billboard 200 and Internet Album charts and #5 on the Canadian Album charts. It was Cohen's highest charting album in America since 1969's Songs from a Room. The album's highest chart position came in Poland where it reached #1 on the Polish Albums Chart.[5] Dear Heather was not received as well by critics as Ten New Songs and Cohen's 2001 live album Field Commander Cohen: Tour of 1979 had been. Some critics found it dour - although such notices had been commonplace throughout various stages of Cohen's career - and noted a tone of finality in the offering. The New York Times reported, "Some of the songs are virtually unadorned with poetic imagery and fall flat; in others, Mr. Cohen uses his calmly sepulchral voice for speech rather than melody. The production is homemade." The Stylus deemed it an "unsatisfying way to end such an intriguing career." In the November 2004 Rolling Stone review of the LP, Michaelangelo Matos praised the album, calling Cohen "Canada's hippest 70 year old" and insisting that "given how monochromatic Cohen tends to be, the jumbled feel works in Dear Heather's favor." Thom Jurek of AllMusic argues that Dear Heather is Cohen's "most upbeat" album: "Rather than focus on loss as an end, it looks upon experience as something to be accepted as a portal to wisdom and gratitude...If this is indeed his final offering as a songwriter, it is a fine, decent, and moving way to close this chapter of the book of his life."

Track listing[edit]

All songs were written by Leonard Cohen, except where noted.

  1. "Go No More A-Roving" (words by Lord Byron, poem "So, we'll go no more a roving") – 3:40
  2. "Because Of" – 3:00
  3. "The Letters" (Cohen, Sharon Robinson) – 4:44
  4. "Undertow" – 4:20
  5. "Morning Glory" – 3:28
  6. "On That Day" (Cohen, Anjani Thomas) – 2:04
  7. "Villanelle for Our Time" (words by F. R. Scott) – 5:55
  8. "There for You" (Cohen, Robinson) – 4:36
  9. "Dear Heather" – 3:41
  10. "Nightingale" (Cohen, Thomas) – 2:27
  11. "To a Teacher" – 2:32
  12. "The Faith" (music based on a Quebec folk song, see "Un Canadien errant") – 4:17
  13. "Tennessee Waltz" (Redd Stewart, Pee Wee King, additional verse by Cohen) [Live at Montreux Jazz Festival] – 4:05

Tracks 1, 3 and 8 were produced by Sharon Robinson. Tracks 2, 4–5, 7, 9 and 11 were produced by Leanne Ungar. Track 6 was produced by Anjani Thomas. Track 10 was produced by Anjani Thomas and Ed Sanders. Track 12 was produced by Leanne Ungar and Henry Lewy. Track 13 was produced by Leonard Cohen in 1985.


  • Leonard Cohen – vocals, guitar, Jew's harp
  • Sharon Robinson – vocals, arrangements
  • Anjani Thomas – vocals, backing vocals; piano on "On That Day", "Nightingale" and "Tennessee Waltz"
  • Bob Sheppard – tenor saxophone on "Go No More A-Roving"
  • Stan Sargeant – bass on "On That Day" and "Nightingale"
  • Johnny Friday – drums on "On That Day" and "Nightingale"
  • Sarah Kramer – trumpet on "Dear Heather"
  • Mitch Watkins – guitar on "The Faith" and "Tennessee Waltz"
  • Garth Hudson – accordion on "The Faith"
  • Roscoe Beck – bass on "The Faith"
  • Bill Ginn – piano on "The Faith"
  • Raffi Hakopian – violin on "The Faith"
  • John Bilezikjian – oud on "The Faith"
  • Ron Getman – steel guitar on "Tennessee Waltz"
  • John Crowder – bass on "Tennessee Waltz"
  • Richard Crooks – drums on "Tennessee Waltz"

Track notes[edit]

  • "Go No More A-Roving" is musical adaptation of Lord Byron's poem "So, we'll go no more a roving", dedicated to Cohen's friend and mentor, Canadian poet Irving Layton, member of the Montreal Group of modernist poets.
  • "Villanelle for Our Time" was recorded 6 May 1999, shortly after Cohen's return from Mount Baldy Zen Center. It is an improvised jazz recitation of a poem by F. R. Scott, Cohen's older colleague from the Montreal Group of modernist poets.
  • "To a Teacher" is a spoken-word track based on Cohen's poem from his 1961 book of poetry The Spice-Box of Earth, dedicated to the Canadian poet A.M. Klein.
  • "The Letters" is a duet with Cohen's producer, collaborator and track's co-writer Sharon Robinson.
  • "Because Of" is a recitation of Cohen's poem which was included in his 2006 Book of Longing.
  • "On That Day" is a song about the September 11, 2001 attacks in New York City.
  • The track "Nightingale" is dedicated to the late R&B singer Carl Anderson, Anjani Thomas's colleague. She composed the music using Cohen's abandoned poem.
  • Music track for "The Faith" is actually an outtake from Recent Songs, with completely new lyrics, re-mixed and with new vocals added (thus the production was co-credited to Recent Songs producer Henry Lewy).
  • The final track is a live performance of "Tennessee Waltz", recorded 9 July 1985 at the Montreux Jazz Festival. It was taken from the bootlegged radio recording and cleaned up digitally.


Chart (2004) Peak
Australian Albums (ARIA)[6] 98
Austrian Albums (Ö3 Austria)[7] 13
Belgian Albums (Ultratop Flanders)[8] 9
Belgian Albums (Ultratop Wallonia)[9] 26
Canadian Albums (Billboard)[10] 5
Danish Albums (Hitlisten)[11] 1
Dutch Albums (MegaCharts)[12] 34
Finnish Albums (Suomen virallinen lista)[13] 22
French Albums (SNEP)[14] 34
German Albums (Offizielle Top 100)[15] 19
Italian Albums (FIMI)[16] 27
Norwegian Albums (VG-lista)[17] 2
Portuguese Albums (AFP)[18] 5
Swedish Albums (Sverigetopplistan)[19] 8
Swiss Albums (Schweizer Hitparade)[20] 13
UK Albums (OCC)[21] 34
US Billboard 200[22] 131


Region Certification Certified units/Sales
Denmark (IFPI Denmark)[23] Gold 20,000^
Norway (IFPI Norway)[24] Gold 20,000*
United Kingdom (BPI)[25] Silver 60,000^

*sales figures based on certification alone
^shipments figures based on certification alone


  1. ^ Dear Heather at AllMusic
  2. ^ Robert Christgau review
  3. ^ Pitchfork Media review Archived 2009-01-14 at the Wayback Machine.
  4. ^ Rolling Stone review
  5. ^ "Oficjalna lista sprzedaży :: OLiS - Official Retail Sales Chart - 8 November 2004 (sales for the period 25.10.2004 - 01.11.2004)". OLiS. Retrieved 2012-02-10. 
  6. ^ Ryan, Gavin (2011). Australia's Music Charts 1988–2010. Mt. Martha, VIC, Australia: Moonlight Publishing. 
  7. ^ " – Leonard Cohen – Dear Heather" (in German). Hung Medien. Retrieved 24 November 2016.
  8. ^ " – Leonard Cohen – Dear Heather" (in Dutch). Hung Medien. Retrieved 24 November 2016.
  9. ^ " – Leonard Cohen – Dear Heather" (in French). Hung Medien. Retrieved 24 November 2016.
  10. ^ "Leonard Cohen Chart History (Canadian Albums)". Billboard. Retrieved 24 November 2016.
  11. ^ " – Leonard Cohen – Dear Heather". Hung Medien. Retrieved 24 November 2016.
  12. ^ " – Leonard Cohen – Dear Heather" (in Dutch). Hung Medien. Retrieved 24 November 2016.
  13. ^ "Leonard Cohen: Dear Heather" (in Finnish). Musiikkituottajat – IFPI Finland. Retrieved 24 November 2016.
  14. ^ " – Leonard Cohen – Dear Heather". Hung Medien. Retrieved 24 November 2016.
  15. ^ " – Leonard Cohen – Dear Heather" (in German). GfK Entertainment Charts. Retrieved 24 November 2016.
  16. ^ " – Leonard Cohen – Dear Heather". Hung Medien. Retrieved 24 November 2016.
  17. ^ " – Leonard Cohen – Dear Heather". Hung Medien. Retrieved 24 November 2016.
  18. ^ " – Leonard Cohen – Dear Heather". Hung Medien. Retrieved 24 November 2016.
  19. ^ " – Leonard Cohen – Dear Heather". Hung Medien. Retrieved 24 November 2016.
  20. ^ " – Leonard Cohen – Dear Heather". Hung Medien. Retrieved 24 November 2016.
  21. ^ "Leonard Cohen | Artist | Official Charts". UK Albums Chart. Retrieved 24 November 2016.
  22. ^ "Leonard Cohen Chart History (Billboard 200)". Billboard. Retrieved 24 November 2016.
  23. ^ "Danish album certifications – Leonard Cohlen – Ten New Songs". IFPI Denmark.  Click on næste to go to page if certification from official website
  24. ^ "IFPI Norsk platebransje Trofeer 1993–2011" (in Norwegian). IFPI Norway. 
  25. ^ "British album certifications – Leonard Cohlen – Ten New Songs". British Phonographic Industry. Retrieved November 3, 2017.  Enter Ten New Songs in the search field and then press Enter.