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PJ Harvey Offers Lush Cover of Leonard Cohen’s ‘Who by Fire’

Song was recorded with composer Tim Phillips for Apple TV+ series Bad Sisters

PJ Harvey and composer Tim Phillips have released a new cover Leonard Cohen’s “Who by Fire.” The ornately-arranged version was created for Apple TV+ series Bad Sisters, whose executive producer and star Sharon Horgan sought Harvey out for the cover.

“I thought of the words of ‘Who by Fire’ soon after the series was picked up and thought how perfect it would be,” Horgan recalled in a statement. “Pretty soon after that, I thought of Polly’s voice singing those words and asked Apple if we could make that happen. I had been a fan of Polly for years and was nervous when we Zoomed with her. I don’t have a musical vocabulary, but I know what I wanted. But we told her our ideas and about the series — it was quite fledgling at that stage, just photos and words, nothing filmed to show her, but she got it and loved it.”

Harvey added, “It was a very enjoyable day spent recording the version of Leonard Cohen’s ‘Who by Fire’ for Bad Sisters. I had spoken to Sharon Horgan in advance of the recording session, so I understood why she felt the song’s lyric was so perfect for the series, but also understood what nuances of Leonard’s performance she most loved, and therefore what to try and recapture but in my own way.”

Harvey and Phillips also collaborated on the score of the series, a darkly comedic murder mystery series that premiered its first two episodes this week. A new episode will debut each Friday through Oct. 14. More information on the score will be released in the coming weeks.

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