Beck Recruits MGMT, Wolfmother, Banhart For "Leonard Cohen" Redo

September 4, 2009 11:46 AM ET

Beck has recruited MGMT, Devendra Banhart and Wolfmother's Andrew Stockdale to join his Record Club for a one-day, no-rehearsal studio performance of Leonard Cohen's entire iconic Songs of Leonard Cohen. As Rolling Stone previously reported, Beck's Record Club last tackled Velvet Underground & Nico over the course of 11 weeks — though the songs are recorded all in one day, Beck unleashes them on his Website one song a week — and now the recast Record Club returns with Banhart in the spotlight for a folky, tambourine-and-upright bass heavy rendition of Cohen's "Suzanne."

"As you will hear, some of the songs are rough renditions, often first takes documenting what happened over the course of a day. There is no intention to 'add to' the original work or attempt to recreate the power of the original recording. Only to play music and document what happens," Beck writes on his official site. "And those who aren't familiar with the albums in question will hopefully look for the songs in their definitive versions. Songs Of Leonard Cohen by Leonard Cohen was chosen by Andrew from MGMT. For those interested, our close second choice was Ace Of Base, which we'll keep on the list for next time."

Ironically, back in July, the Rock & Roll Hall of Famer Cohen was asking for a moratorium on people covering his song "Hallelujah," so thankfully the Record Club opted for 1967's Songs Of and not 1984's Various Positions, which houses "Hallelujah."

As Rolling Stone previously reported, other albums that seemed poised to get the Record Club treatment is Sonic Youth's Evol and a version of Skip Spence's Oar featuring the boys from Wilco. Between the Record Club, hilarious interviews with Tom Waits and Will Ferrell and the ongoing acoustic rerecording of Modern Guilt, it's pretty mandatory that Beck's site be bookmarked by everybody at this point.

Related Stories:
Beck Reminisces About Spandex Jumpsuits With Will Ferrell
Beck Celebrates "Modern Guilt" Birthday With Acoustic Version
Beck Announces Plans to Redo Classic Albums for Record Club

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Song Stories

“Bird on a Wire”

Leonard Cohen | 1969

While living on the Greek island of Hydra, Cohen was battling a lingering depression when his girlfriend handed him a guitar and suggested he play something. After spotting a bird on a telephone wire, Cohen wrote this prayer-like song of guilt. First recorded by Judy Collins, it would be performed numerous times by artists incuding Johnny Cash, Joe Cocker and Rita Coolidge. "I'm always knocked out when I hear my songs covered or used in some situation," Cohen told Rolling Stone. "I've never gotten over the fact that people out there like my music."

More Song Stories entries »