"Chelsea Hotel" as written by and Leonard Cohen....
I remember you well in the Chelsea Hotel
You were talking so brave and so free
Giving me head on the unmade bed
While the limousines wait in the street
And those were the reasons and that was New York
I was running for the money and the flesh
That was called love for the workers in song
It still is for those of us left.
But you got away, didn't you, baby?
You just threw it all to the crowd
You got away, they can't pay you now
For making your sweet little song
I remember you well in the Chelsea Hotel,
In the winter of 67
My friends of that year they were all trying to go queer
And me I was just getting even
And those were the reasons and that was New York
I was running for the money and the flesh
That was called love for the workers in song
It still is for those of us left
But you got away, didn't you, baby?
You just threw it all to the crowd
You got away, they can't pay you now
For making your sweet little song


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"Chelsea Hotel" as written by Leonard Cohen

Lyrics © Sony/ATV Music Publishing LLC

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Chelsea Hotel song meanings
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  • 0
    General CommentAccording to Cohen, this song is about his encounter(s?) with Janis Joplin at the Chelsea Hotel in NY in 67. The lyrics are really straightforward if you read them with that in mind.
    LadyMidnighton May 23, 2002   Link
  • 0
    General CommentNice... I didn't know that..... I always thought (as many people do) it was about a hooker....
    TwistedByDesignon July 08, 2002   Link
  • 0
    General CommentJanis Joplin indeed
    AmericanSuperHeroson May 10, 2004   Link
  • 0
    General Commentdamn, I thought I was gonna be all suave lyrical knowledge style
    AmericanSuperHeroson May 10, 2004   Link
  • 0
    General Commentimagine janises parents
    oilyon December 11, 2005   Link
  • 0
    General Commentjanis joplin
    oilyon December 11, 2005   Link
  • 0
    General CommentAccording to Colin Meloy, this is the "sexiest song ever".
    The_Biggest_Lieon August 18, 2006   Link
  • 0
    General CommentThis version of the song – also known as Chelsea Hotel No. 1 – has never been released. And I think Cohen never recorded it at all.
    parsons18on January 20, 2007   Link
  • 0
    General CommentThis song is so beautiful, and so heartbreaking. It may be "just" the story of his rendezvous with Janis Joplin, but on a deeper level it's two people who feel oppressed by the pressure to be "pretty"- in more than one way. She found her escape in the drugs that eventually led to her death.
    Anwylydon September 20, 2008   Link
  • 0
    General CommentThis song is just amazing... I never heard of Cohen before. This guy I've recently come to know had me listen to it. Him and I have this exact kind of relationship. It's just amazing.
    The lyrics are beautiful and so perfect.
    booboogirl92on September 27, 2008   Link

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