Fanspot
Chelsea Hotel

Music Chelsea Hotel #2 Leonard Cohen (1974)
"I remember you well in the Chelsea Hotel". The evocation of a romance as fleeting as it was passionate between Leonard Cohen and Janis Joplin, set against the faded walls of the Chelsea Hotel, confirmed the legend of this place so important in New York's alternative culture. The crossroads of drifting artists and others left behind...
Chelsea Hotel New York
"NYC - Chelsea: Hotel Chelsea" by wallyg is licensed under CC BY-NC-ND 2.0

I was sitting at the bar of this Polynesian restaurant when I suddenly thought of this young woman. So I grabbed a paper napkin and started writing a song for Janis Joplin at the Chelsea Hotel

Leonard Cohen

Leonard Cohen and Janis Joplin meet by chance at the Chelsea Hotel. She wants Kris Kristofferson and he was “looking for Brigitte Bardot”.

Published in 1974 on the album New Skin for the Old Ceremony, Chelsea Hotel #2 is quickly becoming known as the soundtrack to the hotel. The story the Canadian poet tells does not clearly evoke Janis Joplin, but expresses, with that eloquence full of the troubadour’s own modesty, the torments of a meeting between two souls dented in the tumult of an era full of noise and fury. It was only years later that Cohen would reveal the identity of the woman mentioned in this song, composed in 1971 in a Polynesian bar in Miami, and later regret having revealed this secret. “It’s an indiscretion for which I’m very sorry, and if there is some way of apologizing to the ghost, I want to apologize now, for having committed that indiscretion.” he said on the BBC in 1994.

Janis Joplin, for her part, only mentioned this night once, in 1969 for the needs of the book The Sixties by Richard Avedon and Don Arbus: “I mean, that really happened to me. Really heavy, like slam-in-the-face it happened. Twice. Jim Morrison and Leonard Cohen.“If we come to the Chelsea to love each other for a night, we also come to die, like Nancy Spungen and Dylan Thomas in their time. There are many ghosts wandering the halls of Chelsea.

1

As the title of Chelsea Hotel #2 suggests, there is indeed a Chelsea Hotel #1. This song, written by Leonard Cohen and his guitarist Ron Cornelius, was only played live.

Chelsea Savoy Hotel

The Chelsea Hotel has been the nerve center of alternative culture since the 1950’s. For years, it was the meeting place of artists and marginal people…

In 1883, when it was built, the Chelsea was the tallest building in New York. This apartment complex was transformed in 1905 into a hotel specialized in long stays. Since then, perhaps because of its neo-Gothic style, the Chelsea Hotel has attracted a certain category of clients. Poets in particular. Still rather dashing in appearance, the establishment hides rooms that are already worn out, bathed in what the writer Jean-Claude Carrière once described in his book, Les années d’utopie, as “a smell of dust that belongs only to this hotel… A smell of urban swamp”. An atmosphere that attracted artists such as director Miloš Forman, Mark Twain, Arthur C. Clarke, Allen Ginsberg, Simone de Beauvoir, Jean-Paul Sartre, Jack Kerouac, Dee Dee Ramone and Patti Smith. The latter contributed to make the place one of the nerve centers of the beat generation. Later, several musicians settled there, often during periods of distress. It was here that Nancy Spungen, the girlfriend of Sid Vicious of the Sex Pistols, died on October 12, 1978, allegedly following an argument with the musician. People come to the Chelsea to find inspiration, to cut themselves off from the world or to get clean. People also come to live love stories in a bubble as if cut off from the outside world.

Go there

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Fanspots Stories New York

Fanspots Stories New York

Discover the secrets of the cult places of the greatest masterpieces of pop culture in New York!

The world capital of pop culture, New York embodies unbridled creative freedom. The city that never sleeps has been the muse of a large number of directors, actors, screenwriters, singers, musicians, cartoonists and writers…

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Did you know that the filming of Rage Against The Machine’s Music Now in the Fire caused Wall Street to shut down for the first time since 1929?

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By Gilles Rolland

Monday, December 13, 2021

Passionné de cinéma, de rock and roll, de séries TV et de littérature. Rédacteur de presse et auteur des livres Le Heavy Metal au cinéma, Paroles de fans Guns N' Roses, Paroles de fans Rammstein et Welcome to my Jungle : 100 albums rock et autres anecdotes dépareillées. Adore également voyager à la recherche des lieux les plus emblématiques de la pop culture.

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