Hear 1985 Interview: Leonard Cohen Gives Occupation As “Sinner,”Talks About Songwriting, Cantor’s Singing, Aging, Wine … Performs Night Comes On & In The Eyes Of Men


Leonard Cohen Interview: April 28, 1985
Mixed Bag with Pete Fornatale (WNEW-FM, NYC)

Part 1 – Selected Contents

  • Leonard Cohen’s persona as a stranger.
  • Leonard Cohen on Songwriting: “I never operated from a very deluxe position. I never thought of myself standing in front of a buffet table, choosing between the caviar or the herring. I feel more like a rat in the bottom of the barrel, trying to sink his teeth into something, and whatever yields, that I follow.”
  • The early influence of a Cantor in synagogue listing ways to sin and die
  • Leonard Cohen on wine: “The red wine has been good to us”
  • Asked to name his occupation, Leonard Cohen replies “sinner”

Part 2

  • In-studio acoustic performance of Night Comes On by Leonard Cohen and “three-fifths” of his band

Part 3 – Selected Contents

  • Discussion of Cohen’s “Marita Please find me I am almost 30″ and the graffiti he found in the CBC men’s room: “Marita Please find me I am almost 50″
  • Irving Layton’s take on aging: “The inescapable lousiness of growing old”
  • Book of Mercy written with author’s “back against the wall”
  • Leonard Cohen on artistic skills: “If the gift is there, it reveals itself very early”
  • Recitation: In The Eyes Of Men

In the eyes of men he falls, and in his own eyes too. He falls
from his high place, he trips on his achievement. He falls to you,
he falls to know you. It is sad, they say. See his disgrace, say the
ones at his heel. But he falls radiantly toward the light to which he
falls. They cannot see who lifts him as he falls, or how his falling
changes, and he himself bewildered till his heart cries out to bless
the one who holds him in his falling. And in his fall he hears his
heart cry out, his heart explains why he is falling, why he had to
fall, and he gives over to the fall. Blessed are you, clasp of the
falling. He falls into the sky, he falls into the light, none can hurt
him as he falls. Blessed are you, shield of the falling. Wrapped in
his fall, concealed within his fall, he finds the place, he is gathered
in. While his hair streams back and his clothes tear in the wind,
He is held up, comforted, he enters into the place of his fall.
Blessed are you, embrace of the falling, foundation of the light,
master of the human accident.

Heart-Touching Video: Ah Leonard, You Sing So Pretty, Too – So Long, Marianne From 2013 London Concert

so-longLeonard Cohen to London audience (1:05):

“Ah, you sing so pretty”

Leonard Cohen – So Long, Marianne
London: June 21, 2013
Video by carolinetillyann

Note: Originally posted June 23, 2013 at DrHGuy.com, a predecessor of Cohencentric

“This is the real human predicament. This universe is only to be tolerated, it’s not to be solved.” Leonard Cohen

From Interview / Leonard Cohen by Alan Twigg. Essay Date: 1979, 1984, 1985. ABC Bookworld

For more about Leonard Cohen’s focus on the human predicament, see Three Characteristics That Make A Song A Leonard Cohen Song: #1. Embracing The Predicament

Note: Originally posted May 9, 2014 at DrHGuy.com, a predecessor of Cohencentric

Backstage Photos: Leonard Cohen At Montreux 2013


2013 Leonard Cohen Montreux Concert – Photo by J.S. Carenza III

Photos of Leonard Cohen concerts taken from backstage are a special treat available at  Notes From The Road by Joseph Carenza III (World Tour Road Manager) and No Ideas by Leif Bodnarchuk (Tour Guitar Technician).  The images below are selected shots of he 2013 Montreux shows posted at these blogs, which offer photos from many other concerts as well.

Photos by Joseph Carenza III at Notes From The Road


Photos by Leif Bodnarchuk at No Ideas

“[Leonard Cohen’s] three-hour sets are the Sistine Chapel ceiling of live performance…” 2013 London Concert Review

What keeps the thousands coming back, myself included, is the sensation that seeing [Leonard] Cohen live is like going to see a finished masterpiece by an Old Master. His three-hour sets are the Sistine Chapel ceiling of live performance: their exquisite beauty renders you silent, sometimes tearful but always grateful to have been able to experience such radiance and majesty.quotedown2


From Leonard Cohen, O2 Arena, review by Bernadette McNulty. The Telegraph: June 23, 2013

Note: Originally posted June 23, 2013 at DrHGuy.com, a predecessor of Cohencentric

“We couldn’t afford close up seats, but I still felt his presence and power. I was awed by his ability to fill a room” Here It Is – Letters To Leonard Cohen: A Magical Night


“Here It Is – Letters To Leonard Cohen,” a book presented to the Canadian singer-songwriter in celebration of his 80th birthday, comprises stories and essays by fans that put their experience of Cohen’s music into words. Kim Gorsuch, who has long admired Cohen, came up with the idea and organized the project, gathering the pieces and photos online for printing into a hardbound volume.* Because the stories are too significant and too moving not to be shared, Cohencentric.com is posting a number of Kim’s selections. Today’s offering is A Magical Night by Mark Beatty:

A Magical Night

I loved Leonard from afar for many years. I was introduced to his and others’ meaningful music while still a teenager by my older cousin, Chris. He presented Leonard to me as not only fine music, but also poetry and life lessons in song and I will be forever grateful to him for it.

I never went to his concerts, because I have a deep uneasiness about crowds and he tended to attract them. Back in ’09 though, some of our dearest friends invited my lady Dana and I to go with them to his appearance in Madison Square Garden in October of that year. I was nervous, but I wanted to go and share the moment.

There were challenges, of course. Money was tight, schedules had to be arranged and it was *very* crowded. The steep stairs and narrow seats were quite uncomfortable for a gentleman of my… ahem… “stature,” shall we say?

Still, it was amazing. We couldn’t afford close up seats, but I still felt his presence and power. I was awed by his ability to fill a room that could easily have accommodated my entire high school, parking lot included. I have wished ever since that we could have met him. I imagine he is fascinating to converse with.

That night was so powerful an experience, and significant in my life in so many ways, that I had the pendant shown here commissioned to commemorate it. It was necessary to obtain permission to use his Unified Heart symbol, which was graciously granted. I had five made, one for each of us and one to send to the man himself. I hope he saw and perhaps liked it. I have worn mine ever since.

I wear two now, as my beloved Dana passed from this world earlier this year. This is one more addition to the many reasons I wish she were still here. She would not only love this project but probably would have had a couple of better stories, as she was a fan long before I ever heard of Leonard.



All of the stories can be accessed online at Here It Is

*Note: Kim Gorsuch is also the head of weeva.co, an online platform for such projects. The stories for “Here It Is – Letters To Leonard Cohen” were collected and formatted on weeva.co. All costs were picked up by weeva.co.

Credit Due Department: The photo on the book cover (see top of post) was contributed by Dominique BOILE