Video: Leonard Cohen Performs Anthem, Quotes Yeats – Sligo 2010



Signature Sequence Of Leonard Cohen Lissadell House Concert

Leonard Cohen closed the first set of the July 31, 2010 Lissadell House concert by  quoting the opening lines from  “In Memory Of Eva Gore-Booth And Con Markiewicz” by William Butler Yeats –

The light of evening, Lissadell,
Great windows open to the south,
Two girls in silk kimonos, both
Beautiful, one a gazelle.

Leonard Cohen – Yeats Quote & Anthem
Lissadell House, Sligo: July 31, 2010
Video from albertnoonan

Note: Originally posted Aug 6, 2010 at, a predecessor of Cohencentric

I Scream, You Scream, It’s Leonard Cohen Eating Ice Cream – With Kezban Özcan In LA 2014


Leonard Cohen!!! One of the all time greatest humans to ever exist, eats VL ice cream. #saltedcaramel #humbledbygreatness

A post shared by Van Leeuwen Artisan Ice Cream (@vanleeuwenicecream) on


Photo posted April 4, 2014

Caption: “Leonard Cohen!!! One of the all time greatest humans to ever exist, eats VL ice cream. #saltedcaramel…”

Comment: “They ordered “extra small scoops”

Note: Van Leeuwen Artisan Ice Cream advertises ” Ice Cream & Vegan Ice Cream made in Brooklyn with the worlds finest ingredients. New York & Los Angeles”

See other Leonard Cohen photos of this sort at

Note: Originally posted April 5, 2014 at, a predecessor of Cohencentric

About Those Songs On Leonard Cohen’s Can’t Forget Album: Joan of Arc – The Concert Performances



About Those Songs On Leonard Cohen’s Can’t Forget Album

Leonard_Cohen_ASouvenirOfTheGrandTour_5x5_1500x1500About Those Songs On Leonard Cohen’s Can’t Forget Album is a series of posts offering background and historical context for songs on Can’t Forget: A Souvenir of the Grand Tour, the Leonard Cohen live album scheduled for release May 12, 2015.1

This post, a continuation of About Those Songs On Leonard Cohen’s Can’t Forget Album: Joan of Arc – Part 1, focuses on the evolution of the live versions of the song.

Joan of Arc: From Studio Solo To Concert Duet

The live performances of Joan of Arc during the 1970-1975 tours resembled the studio version (a recording of the studio version may be heard at About Those Songs On Leonard Cohen’s Can’t Forget Album: Joan of Arc – Part 1)in that Cohen sang it as a solo with his backup singers relegated to the role of a female chorus “cushioning the imperfections of [his] voice.”2

Leonard Cohen – Joan of Arc (Solo)
Olympia, Paris: 19 October 1974

In 1976, however, Cohen began performing Joan of Arc with him and female vocalists alternating, singing designated portions of the song, an arrangement that has persisted to the last public performance in 2012.

While the introduction of a female singer dramatically changes the presentation, the arrangement of the solo studio version of the song presages the duet versions performed in 1976 concerts and thereafter. Tom Sakic’s comparison of the version on the Songs of Love and Hate and the rendition from the June 17, 1993 Toronto concert, featuring Julie Christensen, found on the Cohen Live album (1994) is instructive:

Joan of Arc is written as a dialog between Joan and fire in which she burns. On the version from the Cohen Live album, Leonard Cohen sings the (male) parts of the narrator and the fire while Julie Christensen sings the (female) part of Joan.

One can, however, hear that male-female pattern in the studio version. Cohen, for example, recites rather than sings the narrative in the opening lines. When Cohen comes in on the second stanza, taking Joan’s role, he shifts from speaking to singing.

In addition, the studio version comprise two overlapped vocals (most obvious in the first and final four lines of ), one sung by Cohen and one recited by him, that augur the male-female duplicity of voices of the performances from 1979 and later.3

In Leonard Cohen: The Music and The Mystique (Omnibus Press, UK: 2012), Maurice Ratcliffe posits a fourth character in the song, in addition to Joan, Fire, and the Narrator:

… noting that the final lines are italicized in the sleevenotes, one becomes aware that these lines are sung by a fourth character. The Bystander ends the song by enunciating the tragic dilemma which he faces: “myself, I long for love and light / But must it come so cruel, must it be so bright?”

For my part, the fact that certain lines are printed in italics on liner notes does not make a compelling argument for introducing another character. It seems flimsy; it also seems an unnecessary deus ex machina. The Narrator is, after all, just the character telling the story. The theme of the song is crystallized and its poignancy enhanced by the storyteller ending the piece with this very personal, very moving observation. Tom Sakic elaborates:

Narrative prose usually has a narrator while lyric poetry has a “lyric subject.” Joan of Arc is a narrative poem or at least a ballad (traditional ballads are always narrative poems), so the voice of the poem (“lyric subject,” speaker) and the narrator are the same entity. The final verse of Joan of Arc seems to me the closure, the final comment from the person who narrated the story of Joan of Arc and her talk with fire in which she burns.4

Joan of Arc and Laura Branigan & Cheryl Barnes

Leonard Cohen, Cheryl Barnes, & June 1976: French TV

Leonard Cohen, Cheryl Barnes, & Laura Branigan on French TV – June 1976

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  1. See It’s Official – Leonard Cohen “Can’t Forget” Live Album: Tracks, Sources, Pre-Order Info, & More []
  2. While Leonard Cohen’s quote specifically describes Sharon Robinson’s impact on his singing, he same effect can be ascribed to all of his backup singers. Source: The Happy Message of the Aged by Sven F. Goergens. Focus: September 15, 2001. []
  3. Tom Sakic, personal communication (with editing) []
  4. Tom Sakic, personal communication (with editing) []

“My experiences have been that the only way that you can write is to blacken pages, there is no other way.” Leonard Cohen

From The Strange, Sad and Beautiful World of Leonard Cohen By Andrew Furnival. Petticoat: December 30, 1972. Originally posted Oct 22, 2013 at, a predecessor of Cohencentric

Brilliant Photos From The Leonard Cohen 2010 Helsinki Concert

Maarten Massa’s photos of Leonard Cohen and, especially, the band members and backup singers, at the August 10, 2010 Helsinki concert are among the best I’ve seen since the commencement of the tour. While he has graciously allowed these to be posted at Cohencentric, many other shots he took at the Helsinki show can be found at Leonard Cohen Helsinki – Aug 10 2010: Part 1 and Part 2.

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Leonard Cohen - Helsinki 2010

Note: Originally posted August 10, 2010 at, a predecessor of Cohencentric

“All of my writing has guitars behind it, even the novels” Leonard Cohen

jgreenSo, that’s why Leonard had this guy
carrying his guitar everywhere

From “Some were songs first”: K. Murphy and G. Gross, “Leonard Cohen,” New York Times: April 13, 1969. Photo by Judy Green. Originally posted April 11, 2011 at, a predecessor of Cohencentric

“Cross Over The Bridge” By Patti Page Is On Leonard Cohen’s Jukebox


Leonard Cohen’s Jukebox

Biggest Influence on My Music – The jukebox. I lived beside jukeboxes all through the fifties. There was “The Great Pretender,” “Cross Over the Road.” I never knew who was singing. I never followed things that way. I still don’t. I wasn’t a student of music; I was a student of the restaurant I was in — and the waitresses. The music was a part of it. I knew what number the song was.

– Leonard Cohen (Yakety Yak by Scott Cohen, 1994)

Leonard Cohen’s Jukebox: Over the years, Leonard Cohen has mentioned a number of specific songs he favors. Leonard Cohen’s Jukebox is a Cohencentric feature that began collecting these tunes for the edification and entertainment of viewers on April 4, 2009. All posts in the Leonard Cohen’s Jukebox series can be found at The Original Leonard Cohen’s Jukebox Page.

“Cross Over The Road Bridge” By Patti Page


Leonard’s song reference is found in the above excerpt from Yakety Yak by Scott Cohen:

Biggest Influence on My Music: The jukebox. I lived beside jukeboxes all through the fifties. There was ‘The Great Pretender,’ ‘Cross Over the Road.’quotedown2

Leonard Cohen

While Leonard labeled the song “Cross Over the Road,” the only song with that title I’ve found is a hymn by Kevin Mayhew. Even allowing for Leonard Cohen’s ecumenicism and the idiosyncrasies of Montreal jukebox listings in the 1950s, this seems an unlikely choice.  I suspect Leonard instead had in mind “Cross Over The Bridge,” which was written by Bennie Benjamin and George David Weiss in 1945 but became a best-seller when recorded by Patti Page in 1954. (Page’s release was covered at that time by The Chords.) Page’s version entered the Billboard chart on February 17, 1954, staying on the chart for 23 weeks and peaking at position #2.1

Patti Page – Cross Over The Bridge


  1. Source: Wikipedia []