Chain Motifs In Leonard Cohen Logos & Lyrics
This entry is part of a series of posts dedicated to Leonard Cohen Album Logos.
Those readers following this series will recall that our discussion began with the hummingbird, heart, & handcuffs logo from The Future album.1
That logo was also heavily used in promotions of the 1993 tour in support of The Future.2
An alternative version of the hummingbird, heart, & handcuffs logo which features a broken chain can, however, be found (see newspaper ad promoting the May 10, 2012 Leonard Cohen Royal Albert Hall concert atop this post).
The consideration of both the broken chain and open handcuffs lead to a realization of the frequency with which images of chains and being bound (or unbound) appear in Leonard Cohen’s lyrics. This pattern may be integrated into an analysis a few posts down the line, but for the time being, I am content with making readers aware of this motif by offering this non-exhaustive sampling:
Born In Chains
I was born in chains but I was taken out of Egypt
I was bound to a burden, but the burden it was raised
Don’t Go Home With Your Hard-On
So I work in that same beauty salon
I’m chained to the old masquerade
Take This Waltz
And I’ll see what you’ve chained to your sorrow
Show Me The Place
But there were chains, so I hastened to behave
There were chains, so I loved you like a slave
Who By Fire
Who in mortal chains, who in power,
And who shall I say is calling?
I’m Your Man
Ah, the moon’s too bright
The chain’s too tight
The beast won’t go to sleep
The Old Revolution
I finally broke into the prison,
I found my place in the chain.
Love Calls You By Your Name
you say they chained you to your fingernails
and you climb the halls of fame
Oh here, come over here,
between the windmill and the grain,
between the sundial and the chain,
between the traitor and her pain,
once again, once again,
love calls you by your name.
Waiting For The Miracle
but, you see, my hands were tied.
The Night Comes On
I’m tied to the threads of some prayer.
She tied you to a kitchen chair
Tower Of Song
they tied me to this table right here in the tower of song.
Hey, That’s No Way To Say Goodbye
but let’s not talk of love or chains and things we can’t untie,
You Live Like A God
it’s an evening in October,
no one is writing our history.
Whoever holds us here in the midst of a Law,
I hear him now
I hear him breathing
as he embroiders gorgeously our simple chains.
The Unicorn Tapestries
Or charm the guards to untie the chains
With which I was bound before the hunt,
Nothing Has Been Broken
though one of the links of the chain
is a blue butterfly
An Orchard Of Shore Trees
a cat o’ nine tails
made of dark chain
punishing the silken water
The New Leader
after years of threading history’s crushing daisy-chain3 of with beauty after beauty
Portrait Of The City Hall
They are singing like men in chains.
Prayer For Messiah
O sing from your chains where you’re chained in a cave
I fell with my angel
Down the chain of command4
Credit Due Department: The frequency of chains and being bound in Leonard Cohen’s work was pointed out to me by Francis Mus, author of “De demonen van Leonard Cohen.”
- See Leonard Cohen Album Logos: “The hummingbird…came here to rescue the heart from the handcuffs” [↩]
- See Leonard Cohen Album Logos: The Hummingbird, Heart, & Handcuffs Tour [↩]
- Initially, I didn’t plan to include “chain” used as as part of a another word, but “crushing daisy-chain” seems to fit. [↩]
- Again, I didn’t plan to include “chain” used as as part of a another word or term, but, again, “chain of command” seems to fit. [↩]