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Marc Cohn

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Marc Cohn
Cohn in 2016
Cohn in 2016
Background information
Birth nameMarc Craig Cohn
Born (1959-07-05) July 5, 1959 (age 65)
Cleveland, Ohio, U.S.
GenresFolk rock, alternative country, soft rock[1]
  • Vocals
  • keyboards
  • guitar
Years active1986–1998

Marc Craig Cohn (/kn/;[2] born July 5, 1959) is an American singer-songwriter and musician. He won the Grammy Award for Best New Artist in 1992. Cohn is best known for the song "Walking in Memphis" from his eponymous 1991 album, which was a Top 40 hit.[3]


Early life and education[edit]

Cohn was born on July 5, 1959, in Cleveland, Ohio, to a Jewish family.[4] He graduated from Beachwood High School in Beachwood, Ohio,[5] a Cleveland suburb.[6] Cohn learned to play guitar and started writing songs when he was in junior high school, playing and singing with a local band called Doanbrook Hotel.[7][8] While attending Oberlin College, he taught himself to play the piano.[9] He transferred to UCLA and began to perform in Los Angeles-area coffeehouses.[8]


Cohn released his debut solo album, Marc Cohn, in February 1991.[10] The album was successful due to the hit single "Walking in Memphis",[11] which was nominated for Song of the Year and Best Pop Vocal at the 34th Annual Grammy Awards.[12] The song is autobiographical[13] and shares Cohn's experience visiting Memphis, Tennessee in 1985.[14] "Walking in Memphis" reached number 13 in 1991 on the Billboard Hot 100.[13] It is his only Top 40 hit.[15]

Marc Cohn was certified gold by the RIAA in February 1992 and was certified platinum in 1996.[12] The album featured two other charting singles: "Silver Thunderbird" and "True Companion".[16] Cohn won the 1992 Grammy Award for Best New Artist.[17][12]

In May 1993, Cohn released his second studio album, The Rainy Season, which included notable guest appearances by David Crosby, Graham Nash, and Bonnie Raitt.[18] "Walk Through the World" (1993), the first song from that album,[19] reached the Top 30 on Billboard's Adult Contemporary chart.[20] Cohn released his third solo effort, Burning the Daze, in 1998.[21] The compilation The Very Best of Marc Cohn was released in June 2006.[22]

Cohn's track "Dance Back from the Grave", from the album Join the Parade (October 2007), relates to the events of Hurricane Katrina and to the post-traumatic stress Cohn suffered after being shot in the head in an attempted carjacking in August 2005.[23]

Marc Cohn performing in Saratoga, California in July 2005

In 2010, Cohn returned with Listening Booth: 1970, a collection of cover songs that were originally released during the titular year. The album peaked at number 28 on the Billboard 200 album chart. In addition to crossing genres from rock to soul to folk and pop, it featured vocal performances from India.Arie, Jim Lauderdale, Aimee Mann, and Kristina Train.[24][25] As of September 2018, Listening Booth: 1970--which peaked at number 28--was Cohn's highest-charting album.[20]

Cohn released his first original song in more than seven years, "The Coldest Corner in the World", in 2014. The song was the title track for the documentary Tree Man.[26] Cohn released the album Careful What You Dream: Lost Songs and Rarities in 2016[27] in celebration of the 25th anniversary of his platinum-selling debut album. Cohn simultaneously released a bonus album, Evolution of a Record, which featured never-before-heard songs and demos.[26] In 2017, Cohn worked with William Bell on his Grammy Award-winning album This Is Where I Live. He co-wrote several tracks on the album, including the opener, "The Three Of Me". Cohn also collaborated with the Blind Boys of Alabama on their Grammy-nominated song "Let My Mother Live".[26]

In 2019, Cohn performed at Carnegie Hall at "The Music of Van Morrison" show, which benefited music education programs for the New York City school system. Other performers included Patti Smith, Glen Hansard, Bettye LaVette, Blind Boys of Alabama, and Josh Ritter.[28] Cohn performed "Walking in Memphis" alongside Miley Cyrus at the 2019 Memphis in May Festival as part of the "More Together" Facebook campaign.[29] "Walking in Memphis" was also the center of a national commercial for the "More Together" campaign.[30] Cohn released Work to Do, a collaboration with the Blind Boys of Alabama, on August 9, 2019.[31]

Personal life[edit]

Cohn married Jennifer George on May 20, 1988.[32] Cohn and George had two children.[23]

Cohn and ABC News journalist Elizabeth Vargas married on July 20, 2002. The pair met at the 1999 U.S. Open after Vargas sought an interview with Cohn's friend, Andre Agassi.[23] They have two sons, Zachary (born January 31, 2003) and Samuel (born August 16, 2006).[23] Cohn and Vargas divorced in 2014, days after Vargas came out of rehabilitation for alcoholism for a third time.[33]

On August 7, 2005, Cohn was shot in the head during an attempted carjacking in Denver, Colorado,[34][35][36] while on a concert tour with Suzanne Vega.[37] The bullet "barely missed Cohn's eye and lodged near his skull." Cohn survived and was hospitalized for observation, but was released after eight hours. According to Cohn, "Doctors told me I was the luckiest unlucky guy they had met in a long, long time."[23] A police spokesperson surmised that the car's windshield may have significantly impeded the bullet's force, and added: "Frankly, I can't tell you how he survived."[37] The shooter was sentenced to 36 years in prison.[35]




Title Album details Peak chart
(sales thresholds)
Marc Cohn 38 31 15 14 27
The Rainy Season
  • Release date: May 25, 1993
  • Label: Atlantic Records
63 46 60 24
Burning the Daze
  • Release date: March 17, 1998
  • Label: Atlantic Records
114 64 153
Join the Parade
Listening Booth: 1970
  • Release date: July 20, 2010
  • Label: Saguaro Road Records
28 81 86
"—" denotes releases that did not chart

Live albums[edit]

Title Album details
Marc Cohn Live: Special Limited Edition EP
  • Release date: 2004 or 2005
  • Label: Self-released
Marc Cohn Live 04/05
  • Release date: 2005
  • Label: United Musicians
Join the Parade: Live EP
  • Release date: 2008
  • Label: Miles Away Records
Work to Do
  • Release date: August 9, 2019
  • Label: BMG

Compilation albums[edit]

Title Album details
The Very Best of Marc Cohn
  • Release date: June 20, 2006
  • Label: Atlantic/WEA
Careful What You Dream: Lost Songs and Rarities
  • Release date: March 25, 2016
  • Label: Marc Cohn


Year Single Peak chart positions Certifications Album
US AC US Main US Country AUS
1986 "The Heart of the City"[45] Non-album single, Morning Records 1067
1991 "Walking in Memphis" 13 12 7 74 11 3 5 25 22 Marc Cohn
"Silver Thunderbird" 63 22 107 31 18 87 54
"True Companion" 80 24 117 100
"29 Ways"
1992 "Ghost Train" 121 74
"Strangers in a Car"
1993 "Walk Through the World" b/w "Old Soldier" / "One Thing of Beauty" (non-album tracks) 121 28 26 20 51 37 The Rainy Season
"Paper Walls"
"The Rainy Season"
1995 "Turn on Your Radio" For Love of Harry: Everybody Sings Nilsson / Burning the Daze
1998 "Already Home" Burning the Daze
"Healing Hands"
"Lost You in the Canyon"
2007 "Listening to Levon" Join the Parade
2010 "Look at Me" Listening Booth: 1970
"Wild World"
2014 "The Coldest Corner in the World" Non-album single
2019 "Work to Do" Work to Do
"—" denotes releases that did not chart


  • Hi-Five: Marc Cohn (2005)


  1. ^ Mark Stock (October 12, 2013). "Bonnie Raitt, Marc Cohn at Arlene Schnitzer Concert Hall". Live Nation. Retrieved July 21, 2019.
  2. ^ "Marc Cohn on Ellen. Interview". YouTube. January 6, 2008. Archived from the original on December 12, 2021. Retrieved July 21, 2019.
  3. ^ "Marc Cohn in Concert". NPR. September 14, 2007. Retrieved July 21, 2019.
  4. ^ Moore, Rick (July 13, 2015). "Lyric Of The Week: Marc Cohn, "Walking In Memphis" «American Songwriter". American Songwriter. Retrieved July 21, 2019.
  5. ^ Carroll, Ed (April 6, 2017). "Akron gig long way from 'Walking in Memphis' for Cohn". Cleveland Jewish News. Retrieved July 21, 2019.
  6. ^ Sandrick, Bob (June 5, 2015). "Beachwood ranks 17th on Cleveland magazine's Rating the Suburbs list". cleveland.com. Retrieved July 21, 2019.
  7. ^ Yarborough, Chuck (April 27, 2015). "Marc Cohn returns to his hometown with a new song and new hope". cleveland.com. Retrieved July 21, 2019.
  8. ^ a b "Marc Cohn – More than a Survivor, a True Musical Talent | | International Magazine Kreol". October 7, 2016.
  9. ^ "Marc Cohn talks songwriting, Dylan before Palace Theatre show". The Post-Standard. January 9, 2014. Retrieved July 21, 2019.
  10. ^ Kelly McCartney. "Marc Cohn | Biography". AllMusic. Retrieved July 21, 2019.
  11. ^ Johnson, Kevin C. (November 16, 2016). "Marc Cohn reflects on his 'challenging' debut album in anniversary concert". St. Louis Post-Dispatch. Retrieved July 21, 2019.
  12. ^ a b c Sisti, Mark (February 7, 2019). "Grammy award winning singer/songwriter Marc Cohn makes appearance in CNY". Uticaod. Retrieved July 21, 2019.
  13. ^ a b Phillips, Tammy. "Cohn returns to Memphis for 25th Anniversary of "Walking in Memphis"". www.wmcactionnews5.com. Retrieved July 21, 2019.
  14. ^ Gehman, Geoff (March 3, 2007). ""Walking in Memphis' made Marc Cohen a player in the blues-gospel-soul world". The Morning Call. Retrieved July 21, 2019.
  15. ^ "Grammy-winning songwriter Marc Cohn gets reflective on new tour, plays 11/13". azcentral. November 4, 2016. Retrieved July 21, 2019.
  16. ^ Volmers, Eric (January 27, 2018). "Marc Cohn revisits Memphis, and a 30-year career, for Calgary concert". Calgary Herald. Retrieved July 21, 2019.
  17. ^ Geier, Thom (February 10, 2019). "All 59 Grammy Best New Artist Winners, From The Beatles to Adele to Milli Vanilli". TheWrap. Retrieved July 21, 2019.
  18. ^ "Voices of Youth Compelling Statements from the Next Generation of Rockers". The Buffalo News. May 28, 1993.
  19. ^ Carlozo, Lou (September 9, 1993). "Marc CohnThe Rainy Season (Atlantic) (STAR)(STAR)(STAR) 1/2With..." Chicago Tribune.
  20. ^ a b Moser, John J. (September 17, 2018). "Grammy winner Marc Cohn, Southside Johnny & The Asbury Jukes returning to Musikfest Cafe". The Morning Call. Retrieved July 21, 2019.
  21. ^ Joyce, Mike (April 8, 1998). "Marc Cohn's Red-Letter "Daze"". The Washington Post.
  22. ^ Klamp, F. L. Clauss (March 30, 2016). "MARC COHN: 25 años desde Walking in Memphis -" (in Spanish). Rock the Best Music. Retrieved July 21, 2019.
  23. ^ a b c d e Dybal, Rennie (November 12, 2007). "A Singer's Second Chance". People. Vol. 68, no. 20A.
  24. ^ "Marc Cohn Biography". Musicianguide.com. Retrieved July 21, 2019.
  25. ^ "Marc Cohn Biography". Oldies.com. Retrieved July 21, 2019.
  26. ^ a b c Marc Cohn Retrieved July 21, 2019.
  27. ^ Amarante, Joe (December 24, 2018). "Marc Cohn, Blind Boys of Alabama coming in to FTC Warehouse Jan. 5". Connecticut Post. Retrieved July 21, 2019.
  28. ^ Khan, Andy (December 11, 2018). "Van Morrison All-Star Tribute Concert Lineup Adds Glen Hansard, Anderson East & More". JamBase. Retrieved July 21, 2019.
  29. ^ Kaplan, Ilana (May 5, 2019). "Watch Miley Cyrus Perform 'Walking In Memphis' Duet With Marc Cohn". Rolling Stone. Retrieved July 21, 2019.
  30. ^ Gallant, Jacob (June 3, 2019). "Facebook TV spot highlights people's love for Memphis". WMC-TV. Retrieved July 21, 2019.
  31. ^ "MUSIC REVIEW: Work to Do by Marc Cohn and the Blind Boys of Alabama". The Daily Journal. September 12, 2019.
  32. ^ "Jennifer George, a Designer, Is Wed to Marc Cohn". The New York Times. May 21, 1988. p. 001054.
  33. ^ Struhm, Emily (September 8, 2016). "Elizabeth Vargas on 'Brutally Difficult' Split from Her Husband Marc Cohn Days After Leaving Rehab". People.com. Retrieved July 21, 2019.
  34. ^ "Marc Cohn shot in head during car jacking". Today. Associated Press. August 8, 2005. Retrieved July 21, 2019.
  35. ^ a b "Marc Cohn Shooter Gets 36 Years in Prison". Billboard. October 3, 2006.
  36. ^ "'Walking in Memphis' singer shot in head, survives". CNN. CNN. August 9, 2005. Retrieved July 21, 2019.
  37. ^ a b "Police arrest man suspected of shooting Grammy winner". Tyrone Daily Herald. Tyrone, PA. AP. August 9, 2005.
  38. ^ a b Nasella, Paul (October 5, 2010). "Marc Cohn reinvents classics of the '70s". Montgomery News. Retrieved July 21, 2019.
  39. ^ "Rock On The Net: 34th Annual Grammy Awards – 1992". Rockonthenet.com. Retrieved July 21, 2019.
  40. ^ Hunt, Dennis; Cromelin, Richard (January 9, 1992). "The 34th Annual Grammy Nominations: Grammys Get 'Religion,' Nominate R.E.M. 7 Times". Los Angeles Times. Retrieved July 21, 2019.
  41. ^ a b c Ryan, Gavin (2011). Australia's Music Charts 1988–2010 (pdf ed.). Mt. Martha, VIC, Australia: Moonlight Publishing.
  42. ^ a b "British certifications – Marc Cohn". British Phonographic Industry. Retrieved February 26, 2023. Type Marc Cohn in the "Search BPI Awards" field and then press Enter.
  43. ^ Whitburn, Joel (2011). Top Pop Singles 1955–2010. Record Research, Inc. p. 186. ISBN 978-0-89820-188-8.
  44. ^
  45. ^ "Marc Cohn – The Heart Of The City". Discogs. 1986. Retrieved July 21, 2019.

External links[edit]