Song Stories

“Poor Boy”

Nick Drake | 1970

The jazzy, humorously self-pitying folk-rock of "Poor Boy" was given an unexpected jab by a chorus of soulful female singers gently making light of Nick Drake's sorrow. Pianist Chris McGregor only got to play on the track by asking to stick around after producer Joe Boyd mixed his record that morning. "When I heard 'Poor Boy,' I thought of 'So Long, Marianne' on the Leonard Cohen album and its mocking chorus of girls' voices," recalled Boyd. "When I suggested it to Nick, he looked at me for a minute, unsure how to respond, but didn't seem entirely convinced."

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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."

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