The fact that even my unknown garage band got to provide a track to a Who tribute album (called, presciently, Who Cares) has given me insight into just how difficult it must be to enlist well known artists to team up on a special project. There will always be songs listeners will skip over and songs bands rushed into production to meet deadline.
I'm Your Fan, dedicated to the songs of Leonard Cohen, is better than most tribute albums (even though two artists, Robert Forster and Nick Cave, contributed covers of the same song). The artists involved included R.E.M., Lloyd Cole, House of Love and The Pixies. That's all I needed to know in 1991. The Pixies rocked out on "I Can't Forget" which features some vintage Cohen lyrics: I stumbled out of bed/ I got ready for the struggle/ I smoked a cigarette and tightened up my gut/ I said this can't be me, must be my double.
I knew some Leonard Cohen in 1991. This album helped turn me on to his 70's albums like New Skin for the Old Ceremony. I'm Your Fan was just the first Leonard Cohen tribute album ( not counting Jennifer Warnes's Famous Blue Raincoat). Bigger names like Elton John, Billy Joel and Sting would gather in 1994 for the critically savaged Tower of Song. That's one tribute album I can forget!
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