Marc Cohn

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Marc Cohn
2016-08-28-Marc Cohn-0209.jpg
Cohn performing in Norfolk, Virginia, in August 2016
Background information
Birth name Marc Craig Cohn
Born (1959-07-05) July 5, 1959 (age 59)
Origin Cleveland, Ohio, United States
Genres Folk rock, alternative country, soft rock[1]
  • Vocals
  • keyboards
  • guitar
Years active 1986–present

Marc Craig Cohn (/kn/;[2] born July 5, 1959) is a Grammy Award-winning American folk rock singer-songwriter and musician best known for his song "Walking in Memphis" from his eponymous 1991 album.[3]


Early life and education

Cohn was born on July 5, 1959, in Cleveland, Ohio, to a Jewish family.[4] He graduated from Beachwood High School in Beachwood, Ohio,[5] a Cleveland suburb.[6] Cohn learned to play guitar and started writing songs when he was in junior high school, playing and singing with a local band called Doanbrook Hotel.[7][8] While attending Oberlin College, he taught himself to play the piano.[9] He transferred to UCLA and began to perform in Los Angeles-area coffeehouses.[10]


After graduating from UCLA, Cohn moved to New York City[11] and embarked on demoing songs for various writers, including Jimmy Webb, Jerry Leiber and Mike Stoller. Working initially as a backup artist in recording sessions, he established secure professional footing after assembling the Supreme Court, a 14-piece cover band, who played at Caroline Kennedy's wedding in 1986. In 1987, Cohn performed two songs ("One Rock and Roll Too Many" and "Pumping Iron") on the Phil Ramone-produced concept album of Andrew Lloyd Webber's Starlight Express, Music and Songs from Starlight Express. In 1989, Cohn was a backing pianist for singer Tracy Chapman on her second album. The job led to a contract with Atlantic Records in the early 1990s after label executives heard a demo disc featuring Cohn on piano and vocals.

Cohn released his debut solo album, Marc Cohn, in February 1991.[12] The album was hugely successful, thanks to Cohn's hit song "Walking in Memphis", which was nominated for Song of the Year and Best Pop Vocal at the 34th Annual Grammy Awards. The album was certified Gold by the RIAA in February 1992 and certified Platinum in 1996. Another cornerstone was "True Companion", a popular lovers song, which became the soundtrack to a marriage proposal aired on US television's The Tonight Show Starring Johnny Carson. Cohn won the Grammy Award for Best New Artist, besting the notable debuts of Boyz II Men and Seal, among others.

In May 1993, Cohn released his second studio album, The Rainy Season, which included notable guest appearances by David Crosby, Graham Nash and Bonnie Raitt. The album peaked at number 63 on the album charts. He toured extensively in the early 1990s, including a trip to Australia with headliner Bonnie Raitt. Cohn wrote the song "My Great Escape" for the 1995 Peter Horton film The Cure. The song can be heard during the film's opening sequence but was not released on the Dave Grusin soundtrack album.

Cohn was quiet for several years, returning in 1998 with the release of his third solo effort Burning the Daze. For that album, Cohn worked largely with his old colleague Leventhal, adding some cuts coordinated with producer Malcolm Burn. In support of the album Cohn went on spring and summer tours in 1998. The following year he contributed to Kris Kristofferson's highly collaborative Austin Sessions. He has added vocals to recordings by Roseanne Cash, Shawn Colvin, and Rodney Crowell, and in 2002 was heard on Jackson Browne's "Naked Ride Home". In 2005, Cohn compiled and self-released a live album, Live 04-05. The compilation The Very Best of Marc Cohn was released in June 2006.[citation needed]

Marc Cohn performing in Saratoga, California in July 2005

Cohn's track "Dance Back from the Grave," from the album Join the Parade (October 2007)[13] (his fourth studio album), relates to the events of Hurricane Katrina and to the post-traumatic stress Cohn suffered after being shot in the head in an attempted carjacking in August 2005.[citation needed]

In 2010, Cohn returned with Listening Booth: 1970, a collection of cover songs that were originally released during the titular year. The album peaked at number 28 on the Billboard 200 album chart. In addition to crossing genres from rock to soul to folk and pop, it features vocal performances from India.Arie, Jim Lauderdale, Aimee Mann and Kristina Train.[14][15][16][17]

In 2016, Marc Cohn released the album Careful What You Dream: Lost Songs and Rarities, a collection of demos written and recorded more than 25 years earlier.

Personal life

Cohn married Jennifer George on May 20, 1988.[18] Cohn and George had two children.[19] The marriage ended in divorce.[citation needed]

Cohn and ABC News journalist Elizabeth Vargas married on July 20, 2002. The pair met at the 1999 U.S. Open after Vargas sought an interview with Cohn's friend, Andre Agassi.[19] They have two sons, Zachary (born January 31, 2003) and Samuel (born August 16, 2006).[19] Cohn and Vargas divorced in 2014, days after Vargas came out of rehabilitation for alcoholism for a third time.[20][21]

On August 7, 2005, Cohn was shot in the head during an attempted carjacking in Denver, Colorado,[22][23][24] while on a concert tour with Suzanne Vega.[25] The bullet "barely missed Cohn's eye and lodged near his skull"; Cohn was hospitalized for observation but released after 8 hours, and is quoted as saying, "doctors told me I was the luckiest unlucky guy they had met in a long, long time."[19] A police spokesperson surmised that the car's windshield may have significantly impeded the bullet's force, and added: "Frankly, I can't tell you how he survived".[25] The shooter was sentenced to 36 years in prison.[26]




Title Album details Peak chart
(sales thresholds)
Marc Cohn 38 15 14 27
The Rainy Season
  • Release date: May 25, 1993
  • Label: Atlantic Records
63 46 60 24
Burning the Daze
  • Release date: March 17, 1998
  • Label: Atlantic Records
114 64 153
Marc Cohn Live 04/05
  • Release date: 2005
  • Label: United Musicians
The Very Best of Marc Cohn
  • Release date: June 20, 2006
  • Label: Atlantic/WEA
Join the Parade
Listening Booth: 1970
  • Release date: July 20, 2010
  • Label: Saguaro Road Records
28 81 86
Careful What You Dream: Lost Songs and Rarities
  • Release date: March 25, 2016
  • Label: Marc Cohn
"—" denotes releases that did not chart


Year Single Peak chart positions Album
1986 "The Heart of the City" Non-album single, Morning Records 1067
1991 "Walking in Memphis" 13 12 7 74 3 5 25 22 Marc Cohn
"Silver Thunderbird" 63 22 31 18 87 54
"True Companion" 80 24
"29 Ways"
1992 "Ghost Train" 74
"Strangers in a Car"
1993 "Walk Through the World" 121 28 26 20 51 37 The Rainy Season
"Paper Walls"
"The Rainy Season"
1995 "Turn on Your Radio" For Love of Harry: Everybody Sings Nilsson
1998 "Already Home" Burning the Daze
"Healing Hands"
"Lost You in the Canyon"
2007 "Listening to Levon" Join the Parade
2010 "Look at Me" Listening Booth: 1970
"Wild World"
2014 "The Coldest Corner in the World" Non-album single
"—" denotes releases that did not chart


  • Marc Cohn Live: Limited Edition EP (2005)
  • Rhino Hi-Five: Marc Cohn (2005)
  • Join the Parade Live EP (2008)


  1. ^ Mark Stock. "Bonnie Raitt, Marc Cohn | Arlene Schnitzer Concert Hall | Portland, Oregon". Archived from the original on February 22, 2014. Retrieved April 22, 2014.
  2. ^ "Marc Cohn on Ellen. Interview". YouTube. January 6, 2008. Retrieved January 22, 2018.
  3. ^ "Marc Cohn". Retrieved April 12, 2013.
  4. ^ "Lyric Of The Week: Marc Cohn, "Walking In Memphis" « American Songwriter". July 13, 2015. Retrieved January 22, 2018.
  5. ^
  6. ^
  7. ^
  8. ^
  9. ^
  10. ^
  11. ^
  12. ^ Kelly McCartney (July 5, 1959). "Marc Cohn | Biography". AllMusic. Retrieved August 1, 2014.
  13. ^ Marc Cohn: Join the Parade Video (now on YouTube) Video on YouTube
  14. ^ "Marc Cohn Biography". Retrieved April 13, 2013.
  15. ^ "Marc Cohn Biography". Retrieved April 13, 2013.
  16. ^ "Marc Cohn Biography". Retrieved April 13, 2013.
  17. ^ "Marc Cohn Biography". Retrieved April 13, 2013.
  18. ^ "Jennifer George, a Designer, Is Wed to Marc Cohn". The New York Times. May 21, 1988. Retrieved January 22, 2018.
  19. ^ a b c d Dyball, Rennie (2007). "Singer's Second Chance". People (online and print, November 12, archived). 68 (20A). Retrieved December 2, 2015.
  20. ^ "Elizabeth Vargas' husband says they have 'long-standing issues'". Retrieved January 22, 2018.
  21. ^ "Elizabeth Vargas on 'Brutally Difficult' Split from Her Husband Marc Cohn Days After Leaving Rehab". Retrieved January 22, 2018.
  22. ^ "Marc Cohn shot in head during car jacking – today > entertainment – Music". August 8, 2005. Retrieved April 22, 2014.
  23. ^ "Marc Cohn Shooter Gets 36 Years in Prison". Billboard. Retrieved April 22, 2014.
  24. ^ "Singer Marc Cohn Shot in Denver Carjack Attempt – 7NEWS Denver". August 9, 2005. Retrieved April 22, 2014.
  25. ^ a b "Police arrest man suspected of shooting Grammy winner". Tyrone Daily Herald. Tyrone, PA. AP. August 9, 2005. Retrieved July 12, 2016 – via open access
  26. ^
  27. ^ "Rock On The Net: 34th Annual Grammy Awards - 1992". Retrieved January 22, 2018.
  28. ^ HUNT, DENNIS; CROMELIN, RICHARD (January 9, 1992). "THE 34TH ANNUAL GRAMMY NOMINATIONS : Grammys Get 'Religion,' Nominate R.E.M. 7 Times". Retrieved January 22, 2018.
  29. ^ de:Löwe von Radio Luxemburg
  30. ^
  31. ^ Whitburn, Joel (2011). Top Pop Singles 1955–2010. Record Research, Inc. p. 186. ISBN 0-89820-188-8.

External links

  • Official website
  • Marc Cohn Central fan site
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