PLAYBILL PLAYLIST: Once Upon a Time in New York City Songwriters Pick Songs that Define "City Livin'"

By Michael Gioia
19 Nov 2013

Jahn Sood: "Chelsea Hotel No. 2" (Leonard Cohen). In this oblique eulogy to Janis Joplin, written after her death in 1970, Cohen celebrates the beauty of a person, a moment and the experience of living as an artist in New York City, and at the same time, is brazen enough to tell her he has discarded her like a "fallen robin." In a few phrases, Cohen depicts a world that is visceral, real and in perfect unison: sacred and profane. Now that I'm here, I know this city is the same way — it feels as much like transcendence as disease. No song has more perfectly captured the spirit of New York.