I had actually never listened to I’m Your Fan before. And I’m not a huge fun So why did I read this? I enjoyed Ray’s first book a lot, and was interested in the next one. And, full disclosure: I write for his website, Cover Me. In order to read the book, I did manage to listen to the album.
The book covers both the album and tribute albums in general. This makes sense given that an album like this might not be enough topic for a book. Padgett goes through the history of tribute albums, and their future, in addition to discussing the making of I’m Your Fan. I found this part pretty informative, as I haven’t thought very much about the history of tribute albums, or looked into it. Honestly, I thought Lost in the Stars was the first one ever. So I learned a lot.
The stuff about the actual album is mostly less appealing to me, given that most of these bands and artists I don’t know or don’t care about, and a few of the ones I care about don’t get a lot of time, with two exceptions. But the part I really enjoyed is the fascinating history of “Hallelujah.” I knew part of the story – the Jeff Buckley part – but I didn’t know much about the rest of it. It’s a crazy story and the number of things that had to happen for this song to go from Cohen deep-cut to one of the most over-covered songs of all time is kind of incredible. To me, the part of the chapter discussing it and “Tower of Song” is the highlight of the book.
I enjoyed the book despite not having any knowledge of the album before, and being much of a fan of Leonard Cohen. I think you too can enjoy the book without knowing much about the album. This is such a great series and this is the second book from this series that I didn’t intend to read that I then enjoyed.