Star Tracks: Monday, May 16, 2016 42 years, 2,191 covers and 55,436 stories from PEOPLE magazine's history for you to enjoy
- Why Daniel Radcliffe Won't Be Sneaking Into the New Harry Potter Play
- Read the Cover Story: George Turns 3: The Preschool Prince!
- Keshia Knight Pulliam's Ex Says Her Baby Obsession and Disappearing Acts Pushed Him Away: 'Some Things Just Weren’t Adding Up'
- Hillary Clinton Consults Vogue's Anna Wintour for Fashion Advice on the Campaign Trail
- The Rio Host Committee Will Stay on a Luxury Cruise Ship During the Olympics – While Athletes Make Do in Cramped Quarters
People Top 5
LAST UPDATE: Tuesday February 10, 2015 01:10PM EST
PEOPLE Top 5 are the most-viewed stories on the site over the past three days, updated every 60 minutes
- November 12, 2007
- Vol. 68
- No. 20
A Singer's Second Chance
He Had a Huge Hit with 'Walking in Memphis,' but Marc Cohn Nearly Lost It All When a Carjacker Shot Him at Close Range
He can joke about it now, but the events that inspired Cohn's new album, Join the Parade, were terrifying. After playing a show in Denver on Aug. 7, 2005, Cohn climbed into a van with his band and noticed "somebody off in the distance, running very fast," he recalls, "and about five seconds later this figure just stands in front of the van. I think I was the only person who [saw] the gun." In a failed carjacking attempt, the gunman (Joseph Yacteen, who was sentenced to 36 years in prison for attempted first-degree murder) fired one shot through the windshield; the bullet hit the singer's left temple. "The first sensation I felt was just blood," he says. At the hospital, "doctors told me I was the luckiest unlucky guy they had met in a long, long time." The bullet barely missed Cohn's eye and lodged near his skull. After it was removed, he was kept under observation for just eight hours before being released. "In a way, that makes it even more difficult to process," he says. "Why did I come that close?"
It's a question that dogged him in the weeks that followed—which coincided with Hurricane Katrina. Watching TV coverage of the storm, Cohn—who hails not from Memphis but Cleveland—was struck by a line from an essay by writer Rick Bragg about the people of New Orleans: "But I have seen these people dance, laughing, to the edge of the grave. I believe that, now, they will dance back from it." And with that, his creativity surged. "I thought, that's a song I can write. 'Dance Back from the Grave.' It would be a story to tell about New Orleans," he says, "but it resonated for me too." Adds Vargas: "He couldn't write the songs fast enough. He would leave voicemails on our home phone with lyrics and melodies. I knew not to erase them!"
Having battled several months of post-traumatic stress ("I still feel like I'm not as safe in the world as I used to think"), Cohn is focused once more on music and family. He and Vargas—who met at the '99 US Open when she tried to land an interview with Cohn's pal Andre Agassi—welcomed a second son, Samuel, last year. (Cohn also has a son, Max, 16, and a daughter, Emily, 13, from his first marriage.)
Between teaching Zachary, now 4, that not everyone's parents are TV anchors and musicians and throwing Samuel his first birthday party ("he was asleep after 10 minutes"), he's grateful that life at home in New York City is back to normal. The same can be said for life on the road: Now on a 27-stop tour, Cohn is thankful when fans call out to hear him sing "Walking in Memphis" yet again. "It's a wonderful kind of ghost," he's said of his signature tune. "But I'd be lying if I said I wouldn't love a few more ghosts."
Treat Yourself! 4 Preview Issues
The most buzzed about stars this minute!