Attack on Manhattan
|September 11, 2001 attacks in New York City: View of the World Trade Center and the Statue of Liberty. (Image: US National Park Service ) (Photo credit: Wikipedia)|
When asked what Manhattan brings to mind, just about any adult in the United States will at some point think about the 9/11 attack on the World Trade Center. This terrible event is one of those things most of us will remember where we were and what we were doing when we heard what had happened in New York City on that fated morning. In my case, I was fixated by the television images and the reports on the radio. My business came to a near standstill on that day and for a couple days to follow. We had never witnessed anything quite like that event and hopefully never will again, but I'm sure more is yet to come.
Now the years have passed and the world has changed in many ways as a result of the catastrophic attack on Manhattan. The current generation can certainly never forget what happened on that fateful day. It's likely to be remembered long after all of us are dead and gone.
The attack on Manhattan was horrible and yet Manhattan remains an extraordinarily wondrous place. It is a lure to dream seekers. With so much to see and do, the island city attracts millions of visitors from around the world. Perhaps you are planning a visit to the city sometime in the future. During the month of April this blog will be exploring the city and contemplating some of the things the city and what the name "Manhattan" evokes in our minds.
Manhattan is a city of sights and sounds; people, cars, and buildings. More than anyone can take in over the span of a day, a week, a year, or even a lifetime. Manhattan is more than a city in New York. Manhattan is also a concept and a descriptive term. We'll take on Manhattan during A to Z Challenge and we'll barely even scratch the surface.
Battle of the Bands is the blogging event hosted by Far Away Series and StMcC Presents Battle of the Bands. This event happens twice each month on the 1st and 15th. The premise is simple: Listen to the songs presented below and then in the comments vote for your favorite and tell us why you liked it. Then visit the links listed near the bottom of this post for more Battle action.
First We Take Manhattan
Written by Leonard Cohen, "First We Take Manhattan" was first recorded by Jennifer Warnes for her 1987 Famous Blue Raincoat album which consisted of all Cohen songs. The song is prescient in its near prediction of Manhattan attacks that were to come later. Concerning the meaning of the song, Cohen admits that it is about terrorism, but he suggests that it relates also in a metaphorical way to psychic or intellectual terrorism (1).
After the release of the recording by Jennifer Warnes, Leonard Cohen released his own version in 1988. Cohen gives the song a unique synth-pop treatment that is uncharacteristic of his typical style and quite different from the two versions I'm presenting in my Battle to be found below. Don't vote on Cohen's version but if you're interested in hearing it you can click here.
I first purchased Warnes' Cohen tribute album when it came out in 1987. In the front of a large record store in a mall in Toronto there was a promotional display advertising the release of the album. Since I always spent a lot of the money I made in Canada so I wouldn't have to exchange it going back across the border, I always bought a lot of cassettes while I was there. Though I wasn't overly familiar with the work of Jennifer Warnes, this album was receiving a lot of hype while I was in Canada so I figured it would be worth buying. I was glad that I did. It's a fine album with several good Cohen songs capably performed by Ms. Warnes.
When I hear this song by any artist my eyes can't help but water up as I feel a creeping chill beneath my skin. It's probably mostly due to what happened on 9/11, but even before then there was an eerie aspect to the song that made me consider the implications of what the song says. Now that we've seen 9/11 and in more recent times the influx of refugees into Germany and the rest of Europe, the concept of Berlin being the next take down seems far more a possibility than back when the song was first released.
Here are two very fine versions of "First We Take Manhattan":
Jennifer Warnes "First We Take Manhattan" (1987)
This version includes some outstanding guitar work by Stevie Ray Vaughn who is also seen in the original music video which I am using here. Also making a brief appearance in the video is Leonard Cohen, the composer of the song. (2)
Joe Cocker "First We Take Manhattan" (1999)
This version of the Cohen song comes from Cocker's album No Ordinary World. The video I'm using is not an "Official Video" as it is wrongly labeled, but the images depict the terrible events on 9/11.
Time to Vote!
This is one of the tougher Battle picks for me, but the choosing is in your hands. I like both of these versions a great deal. What about you? Let us know what you think about these versions. There must be one that you prefer over the other. If you're visiting a Battle of the Bands post for the first time then let me briefly explain. Please give each song version a fair listen to decide which one you prefer over the other. If you don't like either then at least tell us which recording was least innocuous to you. This comes down to your preference and it's as easy as that.
Please vote on your favorite by letting us know your choice in the comment section and tell us why you prefer the version you chose. Then after you've finished here, please visit the other blogs listed below who may or may not be participating this time around. And if you've put up your own BOTB contest let us know that as well so we can vote on yours
Here are some other places where you might find BOTB posts:
‘FAR AWAY SERIES’
StMcC Presents Battle of the Bands
‘YOUR DAILY DOSE’
'Curious as a Cathy'
Sound of One Hand Typing
DC Relief Battle of the Bands
The Doglady's Den
Cherdo on the Flipside
Jingle, Jangle, Jungle
Janie Junebug Righting & Editing.
J. A. Scott
Holli's Hoots and Hollers
Results on Friday April 8th
I'll be announcing the results of the voting on this Battle next Friday April 8th. Since we are embarking on the Blogging from A to Z April Challenge, there will posts every day except Sunday on Tossing It Out. I hope you'll stop in to check some of my posts about Manhattan--you might even see yourself featured in some of them since many of the posts are based on comments left on my January post What Does "Manhattan" Say to You?.
Next Battle of the Bands post will be on April 15th with another song about Manhattan.
What you doing when you heard about the events of 9/11? How did 9/11 affect you at the time that it happened? How did the event affect you in the years afterwards?