“My songs are life and the facts of each day, and I am my songs” Leonard Cohen


It’s possible that sincerity might be confused with many things, especially in the world of music, where so many commercial currents run. In any case, it’s only a question of coloring. My music is a reflection of my personality, and my personality is a reflection of all that surrounds me. For me, seeing all of this as my work, the most important thing is to be worthy. So, I treat this world that surrounds me with the integrity and dignity necessary to bring it, through me, to everyone else. After that, it is the spiritual state of each person that determines how it will affect her or him. A person could think that I or my songs are sad because of that person’s own spiritual state, because they are not affected by the chaotic emotions that surround us, because they are living in another state, and I don’t mean to say that that state is more superficial or ordinary, on the contrary, it is the way of being forged by each individual, in which they live. But their power to understand will be affected by what they feel, and by the meaning they give to things. My songs are life and the facts of each day, and I am my songs.quotedown2

Leonard Cohen


1974 Interview with Leonard Cohen by Jordi Sierra I Fabra. Published in Leonard Cohen by Alberto Manzano (1978). Photo by Pete Purnell.Originally posted Apr 26, 2013 at DrHGuy.com, a predecessor of Cohencentric

The Marianne Variations: Leonard Cohen’s Divergent & Devastating Version Of So Long, Marianne – Oslo 1993



Leonard Cohen’s Recurring Revisions Of So Long, Marianne

This is the final entry1 in The Marianne Variations, a series of posts devoted to the major recurring variations of Leonard Cohen’s “So Long, Marianne” that significantly differ from the versions found on the Songs Of Leonard Cohen and Field Commander Cohen albums. An introduction and links to all published posts in this series as well as the inclusion criteria and the original version of “So Long, Marianne” from the Songs Of Leonard Cohen album can be found at The Marianne Variations Summary Page.

The “Here Comes The Morning Boat” + “Your Eyes” Version of So Long, Marianne

No rendition of “So Long, Marianne” differs more from the original script than the one Leonard Cohen performed at the May 1, 1993 Oslo Spektrum Concert. This version features not only a radically altered arrangement but also two verses not found on any album.

“Here Comes The Morning Boat”

The introduction, sung by Perla Batalla & Julie Christensen, was first performed (by the same two backup vocalists) as the song’s conclusion during the 1988 Tour:2

Here comes the morning boat,
Here comes the evening train,
Here comes Marianne now,
To wave goodbye again.3

“Your Eyes”

The song’s concluding verse, all of which is sung by Perla Batalla & Julie Christensen with one line also spoken by Leonard Cohen, follows:

Your eyes,  I forget your eyes
Your body’s at home in every sea,
You gave your news to everyone
You said was a secret just for me

This verse, with minor changes, was printed in the booklet for the 1975 Best Of Leonard Cohen (aka Greatest Hits) album but was not found on the recording itself:4

Oh your eyes, well I forgot Your eyes
Your body’s at home in every sea.
How come you gave away your news to everyone
That you said was a secret for me.

Variations of this verse were performed at the April 3, 1972 Stockholm show and the April 6, 1972 Frankfurt concert:5

Oh Tonight, I know I’m gonna forget tonight (Stockholm)
Ah your eyes, oh how could I forget your eyes (Frankfurt)
Your body’s at home in every sea.
How come you gave away your news to everyone
That you said was a secret for me.

In 1972, however, Cohen sang the verse himself, as he also did in at least one 2009 show.6

Update:  From Perla Batalla’s Facebook Page:

At soundcheck Leonard wanted to try the song with Julie and I singing a couple of verses. When we performed it we got very emotional. It was a magical night! And Leonard was on fire! You can hear him feeding us verses we had never sung before. Goosebumps listening to this.

The 1993 Version Of The Gift Of A Golden Voice

Finally, Cohen’s voice in the Oslo show is strikingly different from the original  version and even more so from the performances during the 2008-2013 Tours. Cohen stridently speaks as much as sings the words.7

The impact of these multiple changes and adaptations is dramatic.

Video: So Long, Marianne – Oslo 1993

Although no live videos or even photos of this concert are to be found online, the show was broadcast on FM radio, and a high quality recording of that broadcast  serves as the soundtrack of the video. Augmenting the music are photos which predominantly feature Marianne Ihlen, Leonard Cohen, and backup singers, Perla Batalla & Julie Christensen.8 Also included are a few shots of the other musicians from the 1993 Tour.9

Leonard Cohen – “So Long, Marianne”
Oslo Spektrum: May  1, 1993
Video by Allan Showalter

Note: Originally posted July 18, 2014 at 1HeckOfAGuy.com, a predecessor of Cohencentric


  1. “Final entry” already requires qualifications. Even before the official completion of The Marianne Variations series, Lennard Torbijn of the Netherlands has astutely pointed out a Leonard Cohen rendition of “So Long, Marianne” that meets criteria as a distinct version although it does not fit the characteristic pattern of those revisions thus far included in The Marianne Variations group. That version will be posted later in a supplement to The Marianne Variations. []
  2. A discussion of this version and a live video of a 1988 performance can be found at Leonard Cohen’s “Here Comes The Morning Boat” Version Of  So Long Marianne []
  3. Note: At some point in the process of recording Songs Of Leonard Cohen, “So Long, Marianne” was titled “Come On, Marianne.” (Source: I’m Your Man: The Life Of Leonard Cohen by Sylvie Simmons. Ecco: 2012)  While the existence of the same verb in the title of that early iteration and in the third line of this verse added in 1988, “Here comes Marianne now,”  is certainly insufficient evidence of a connection between the two versions, the possibility exists that the 1988 line is a vestigial remnant of lyrics written twenty years earlier or that both lines share a common precursor. (More about “Come On, Marianne” in a later post.) []
  4. Source: GuitareTab.  In addition, another verse is also listed in the booklet but not included on the recording:

    If you leave, where will I keep you then
    In my heart as some men say
    But I who was born to love everyone
    Why should I keep you so far away? []

  5. Source: Leonard Cohen Prologues []
  6. A discussion of this version and a live video of the 2009 performance can be found at Leonard Cohen’s ‘“Your Eyes” Version Of “So Long Marianne” []
  7. The 1993 version would not be a good fit with the audience karaoke “So Long, Marianne” singalongs that took place in the 2008-2013 tours that have earned the crowd a “You sing so pretty” accolade from Leonard Cohen. []
  8. Note: Most of the performance photos are from 1993, but some were taken during the 1988 Tour, during which Perla Batalla & Julie Christensen also served as vocalists. []
  9. 1993 Tour Musicians:

    Leonard Cohen – vocals, keyboards, acoustic guitar
    Perla Batalla – vocals
    Julie Christensen – vocals
    Bob Metzger – guitars, pedal steel guitar
    Bob Furgo – keyboards, violin
    Paul Ostermayer – keyboards, saxophone, flute
    Bill Ginn – keyboards
    Jorge Calderon – bass
    Steve Meador – drums

    Source: Jim Devlin’s Is This What You Wanted []

Bootleg: Leonard Cohen Live At The Complex, Los Angeles “Limited Edition On Pink Vinyl With White Splatter”

Dominique BOILE has spotted another bootleg based on the 1993 FM broadcast of Leonard Cohen Live At The Complex, L.A.


A1: First We Take Manhattan
A2: Ain’t No Cure For Love
A3: Dance Me To The End Of Love
A4: Democracy
B1: I’m Your Man
B2: Coming Back To You
B3: Waiting For The Miracle
B4: The Future

Sony’s promotional CD of the event is shown below .

live-from-complex-scaled500Recorded by Leanne Ungar for Columbia Radio Hour, this Sunday morning concert by Leonard Cohen at The Complex in Los Angles on April 18, 1993 was later released to 100 participating radio stations. This is, as one would expect from its origins, a high quality recording.


1. First We Take Manhattan 6:07
2. Ain’t Cure For Love 5:11
3. Coming Back To You 4:37
4. Dance Me To The End Of Love 6:07
5. Democracy 7:14
6. Waiting For The Miracle 7:27
7. The Future 6:51
8. I’m Your Man 5:31


 Credit Due Department: Information about and graphic for The Columbia Records Radio Hour Presents Leonard Cohen Live! From The Complex contributed by Dominique BOILE.

Best Of 2008-2010 Leonard Cohen Tour: Closing Time – San Jose 2009

Closing Time - San Jose with blouse in upper right being flung to stage

Closing Time – San Jose with blouse in upper right being flung to stage

Women’s Blouses In Flight At Closing Time Of Leonard Cohen San Jose Concert

Yeah the women tear their blouses off
and the men they dance on the polka-dots

From “Closing Time” by Leonard Cohen

Albert Noonan, better known in Cohen Country as albertnoonan, Vizier Of Videography, was good enough to alert us that minors should be removed from the room prior to the viewing of this recording in order to shield innocent children from exposure to this raucous rendition of the classic Cohen tune.

Yes, what you see is what happened – feminine clothing is repeatedly launched from the audience onto the stage, whoops are whooped, the unflappable Leonard Cohen loses his place in the song (1:18), and, in general, a good time is had by all.

Leonard Cohen – Closing Time
San Jose: Nov 13, 2009

Video by albertnoonan

Bonus: Democracy Is Coming To San Jose

“Democracy,” an especially popular feature of concerts earlier in the Leonard Cohen World Tour, had been absent for some time but was resurrected as the final song of the final 2009 US concert.

Leonard Cohen – Democracy
San Jose: Nov 13, 2009
Video by albertnoonan


Credit Due Department: Photo of San Jose HP Pavilion by Kim Solez of Leonard Cohen Night. Photo atop this post is a video screen capture.

Note: Originally posted Nov 14, 2009 at DrHGuy.com, a predecessor of Cohencentric

Leonard Cohen Explains Why He Got Into Poetry

Jools Holland: And then what got you into poetry?

Leonard Cohen: Well, I don’t know. I thought that was the way to kind of win women’s hearts.

Jools Holland: Did it work?

Leonard Cohen: Yes it did.

From Later With Jools Holland Show (BBC: May 14, 1993). Watch video of this interview at Video: Leonard Cohen On Poetry As A Way To Win Women’s Hearts, His First Influence – Country Music, His Chop, His London Landlady, Los Angeles, & Catastrophe  Originally posted Jan 11, 2015 at DrHGuy.com, a predecessor of Cohencentric