Our Top 10 Marc Cohn Songs list presents the best Marc Cohn Songs including “Walking In Vegas,” “Walk Through the World” and many more. Before becoming a Grammy Award-winning artist, Marc Cohn was born during the summer of 1959 in Cleveland, Ohio’s Beachwood Community. This young man first learned to play and write music while he attended junior high school, taking that experience into high school, then later to Oberlin College and UCLA. After playing for local venues, and honing in on his guitar-picking and piano-playing skills, Cohn released the first of his studio albums in February, 1991. The album, named after his own name, earned him a Best New Artist win in 1992, courtesy of the Grammy Awards for the incredibly successful hit single, “Walking in Memphis.” Marc Cohn also became a certified platinum seller by the Recording Industry Association of America (RIAA) in 1996. It also became certified gold by the Australian Recording Industry Association (ARIA) and Music Canada (MC).
When Marc Cohn was just two years old, his mother passed away. Ten years later, his father also died. Now an orphan at twelve years old, Cohn turned to music as a means to overcome such trying circumstances. One of the key musical influences that sparked his interest to become a recording artist was the legendary gospel group known as Blind Boys of Alabama, as well as some of the biggest stars that rocked the 1970s. Inspired to pick up a guitar and become a songwriter, Cohn later learned the piano before he opted to pursue his career in music further. When listening to his music, he often made references to ghosts, which told a great deal about the man’s childhood and why he became a folk-rock singer-songwriter that has so far enjoyed a career that has spanned over two decades.
Marc Cohn Legacy
After Marc Cohn’s tremendous debut as a solo artist in 1991, he proceeded to record and release the second studio album, The Rainy Season, in 1993. The tracks featured on it included collaborated performances with David Crosby, Graham Nash, and Bonnie Raitt. After this, his third album, Burning the Daze, was released in 1998, followed by his first compilation album, The Very Best of Marc Cohn in 2006. In 2007, Marc Cohn’s album, Join the Parade, was his effort not just to relate to the events of Hurricane Katrina but to cope with the post-traumatic syndrome he experienced after narrowly surviving a carjack attempt against him on August 7, 2005, in Denver, Colorado. The shooter shot at his head, narrowly missing his eye as the bullet lodged near his skull. According to police, the impact the bullet had against the car windshield likely slowed down the bullet at least enough to reduce an incident that could have easily taken Cohn’s life. Just eight hours after he was hospitalized for observation, he was released. As for the carjacker, his attempt to take Cohn’s life awarded him a thirty-six-year prison sentence.
In 2010, Cohn covered a series of singles that were released in 1970 by their original artists. The album, Listening Booth: 1970, saw hits register on a variety of charts belonging to different genres. For him, this was his highest-charting album in his career although his debut album remains the most commercially successful. In 2016, Marc Cohn recorded and released his second compilation album, Careful What You Dream: Lost Songs and Rarities, which was used to commemorate the debut album he released twenty-five years prior. At the same time, he also released Evolution of a Record, which featured a collection of demos and previously unreleased musical material. In total, Marc Cohn has five studio albums to his credit, along with two compilation albums, an EP, and four live albums. The roster of singles he has released is nineteen where five of them became charted hits on various music billboards.
Top 10 Marc Cohn Songs
#10 – Let My Mother Live (featuring Blind Boys of Alabama)
“Let My Mother Live” was a song gospel group known as Blind Boys of Alabama recorded and released in 2017, along with the featured performance of Marc Cohn. In 2018, it earned a Grammy Award nomination for Best American Roots Performance. The lyrical plea for God to keep his mother alive until he is fully grown was a beautifully orchestrated number that justifiably became a fan favorite.
Even if one isn’t a fan of gospel music, this easy-listening favorite simply established why Blind Boys of Alabama earned a fiercely loyal fan following and why they have a series of Grammy Award wins. The album, Almost Home, featured Marc Cohn writing and musically collaborating on “Let My Mother Live,” Although he didn’t vocally perform this song, the subject matter hit close enough to home as he lost both of his own parents by the time he was twelve years old. As a songwriter, guitarist, and pianist, Marc Cohn has been nothing less than one of God’s greatest gifts to the music industry. This is witnessed, plain as day, with the incredible “Let My Mother Live.”
#9 – Dance Back from the Grave
In 2005, Marc Cohn was shot in the head when a carjacker with an itchy trigger finger attempted to take the man’s car. Fortunately for the music star from Ohio, not only did he survive the incident but walked away without significant injury. In 2007, he recorded and released his fourth studio album, Join the Parade. The tracks revolved around the events of the carjacking incident, as well as Hurricane Katrina. “Dance Back from the Grave” served as a magnificent song of triumph as Cohn testified his gratefulness to overcome even the most challenging trials known to man. Although not officially released as a single, this is a fantastic tune from an equally fantastic album that justifiably earned itself as one of Cohn’s best studio albums to date. The genius behind this acoustic guitar classic also illustrated the talent of Marc Cohn as more than a great vocalist. This is a storytelling masterpiece well worth the listen.
#8 – Look at Me
“Look at Me” was one of two songs released from Marc Cohn’s 2010 album, Listening Booth: 1970. The legend of classic rock himself, John Lennon, featured this song in his first solo album, John Lennon/Plastic Ono Band. Penned by John Lennon in 1968 while in India, this guitar-picking classic was recorded for the first time by Lennon in 1970. An alternate version was issued on the John Lennon Anthology Album that was released in 1998. However, it was the originally recorded version Marc Cohn opted to cover, who really did this song, as well as the late John Lennon, justice.
#7 – Wild World
In 1970, Cat Stevens recorded and released the iconic hit, “Wild World,” from his album, Tea for the Tillerman. While it was impossible to top that brilliant performance, Marc Cohn’s coverage of this single was nothing short of stellar. It was one of the tracks featured on his album, Listening Booth: 1970. This 2010 recording paid homage to the recording artists that released their hit singles forty years prior by a talented artist who was clearly a fan of the classic rock styles that influenced him to join the impressive roster as a musician’s musician.
#6 – The Coldest Corner of the World
Released in 2014, “The Coldest Corner of the World” was the first original song Marc Cohn released since 2007. It was title track for the award-winning 2015 Christmas documentary, Tree Man. This fan-favorite tune has since become a staple in Marc Cohn’s live performances and rightfully so. This lyrical tale revolved around Francois, a tree-seller from Quebec, who annually brought the spirit of Christmas with him to New York City. He would join the hundreds of other merchants who rely on the festive season to encourage shoppers to purchase from them.
Like Marc Cohn, Francois has a loyal fan following of his own, including Cohn himself. Each year, the Quebecois father of three returns to the familiar street corner in Manhattan to deliver more than just trees to the public. The piano featured in Cohn’s beautiful ballad not only illustrated the man’s talent as a musician but added just enough drama to pay tribute to a man who spends time away from his family in what was regarded as “The Coldest Corner of the World.”
#5 – Ghost Train
In Germany, “Ghost Train” became a hit single after it peaked at number seventy-four on its GfK Entertainment chart in 1992. From the album, Marc Cohn, this fan-favorite may not have appeared on any other official music charts but it did win over a loyal fan following that thoroughly enjoyed “Ghost Train,” along with the rest of the artist’s debut album. From start to finish, “Ghost Train” was a beautiful and haunting tale of Cohn’s take on fate and how it can forever change a person’s perspective on everything they encounter in their lifetime.
#4 – True Companion
1991’s “True Companion” was the third single released from Marc Cohn’s self-titled debut album and became a number twenty-four hit on the US Billboard Adult Contemporary chart. On the US Billboard Hot 100, it peaked as high as number eighty. Performed empty auditorium style, “True Companion” was an absolute work of genius as Cohn performed this love song, pleading with his love interest to be a “True Companion,” promising to stay with him as he promised to stay with her no matter what.
#3 – Silver Thunderbird
On the US Billboard Mainstream Rock chart, “Silver Thunderbird” peaked as high as number twenty-two and at number sixty-three on the US Billboard Hot 100. Bob Seger would have been proud of this song. On the Canadian Adult Contemporary chart, it became a number eighteen hit while on the RPM Canadian Tracks at number thirty-one. “Silver Thunderbird” was also popular enough to peak at number fifty-four on the UK Singles Chart and at number eight-seven on Germany’s GfK chart.
Released in 1991 as the follow-up single behind “Walking in Memphis,” although “Silver Thunderbird” did not perform as well on the charts, it still became an immensely popular fan favorite. His easy-going, husky voice has earned him a dedicated following of listeners who appreciate the honesty of his music as a performer. As great as his vocal talent is, his skills on the ivory keys have proven to be every bit as effective. The desire of owning and driving a “Silver Thunderbird” was a bittersweet song of memory as Cohn shared a piece of history with an appreciative audience.
#2 – Walk Through the World
The leading track from Marc Cohn’s second studio album, The Rainy Season, became a twenty-eight hit on the US Billboard Adult Contemporary chart after it was released as a single in 1993. In Canada, it was a number twenty hit on its Adult Contemporary chart and a number twenty-six hit on its RPM Canadian Tracks chart. “Walk Through the World” has so far been Cohn’s final internationally charted hit as it also peaked as high as number thirty-seven on the UK Singles Chart and at number fifty-one on Germany’s GfK chart. This reflective classic featured Marc Cohn at his storytelling best as he shared his plea to his love interest to “Walk Through the World” with him.
#1 – Walking in Memphis
“Walking in Memphis” was the signature hit single released from the debut album, Marc Cohn. This was the song that turned heads as it was just so Springsteen influenced. On the US Billboard Hot 100, it peaked at number thirteen as his one and only top-forty crossover hit on that chart after it was released in 1991. On the US Billboard Hot Country Songs chart, it peaked as high as number seventy-four, marking it the first and only time he would appear on it. This autobiographical number was especially popular in Canada, as “Walking in Memphis” peaked as high as number three on the RPM Canadian Tracks chart and at number five on its Adult Contemporary chart.
As for the US Billboard Adult Contemporary chart, it peaked at number twelve and it was a number seven hit on the US Billboard Mainstream Rock chart. As far as certifications go, it earned a silver record with the British Phonographic Industry (BPI), the UK equivalent to the USA’s RIAA. Globally, “Walking in Memphis” put Marc Cohn’s name on the map as a world-class recording artist, thanks to his soulful delivery as a Jewish, gospel-loving singer-songwriter. Highly reflective and spiritually impactful, it is impossible to listen to this song and not get caught up in the magic behind Cohn’s lyrical genius.
Feature Photo: Thoughtmatters, CC BY-SA 4.0 <https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/4.0>, via Wikimedia Commons
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