Video: Hear Leonard Cohen Recite “In Flanders Fields” By John McCrae

flandersfNote: I had planned this Remembrance Day post before learning of Leonard Cohen’s death. Because of the special importance this holiday and this poem held for Leonard, this recitation seems especially appropriate now.

Leonard Cohen & Remembrance Day

Remembrance Day has been observed on November 11 in Canada and other Commonwealth countries since the end of World War I to remember the members of their armed forces who died in the line of duty; it coincides with Veterans Day in the US. The emblem of Remembrance Day, the red poppy, bloomed across the battlefields of Flanders in World War I and was memorialized in the lines of “In Flanders Fields.” The poem, written by Lieutenant Colonel John McCrae of the Canadian Expeditionary Force has long been a favorite of Leonard Cohen’s, particularly because his father, Nathan Cohen, along with other members of his family, served in the War. As a boy, Leonard was fascinated with the handgun his father had used in the military and wanted to fight wars and earn medals as his father had. During the 1970s he wore his father’s wartime ID bracelet. Proudly displaying the Remembrance Day Poppy, whether on the street or onstage, has been and continues to be a fundamental ceremony in Leonard Cohen’s life.

Leonard Cohen’s Live Recitation Of “In Flanders Fields”
Los Angeles: 2015

Video: TV Broadcast Of Complete Leonard Cohen San Sebastián Concert – 1988

sansebThe RTE recording of the entire May 20, 1988 Leonard Cohen San Sebastian concert, the only full-length live Leonard Cohen show ever broadcast on TV, is now online. The first segment of the video comprises a Leonard Cohen interview taped at San Sebastian.

Update: This broadcast, sans interview, is now available without the subtitles, at Video: Watch Complete 1988 Leonard Cohen San Sebastián Concert TV Broadcast – Without Subtitles

Musicians: Leonard Cohen, vocals, guitar, keyboards. John Bilezikjian, oud. Bob Furgo, keyboards and violin. Tom McMorran, keyboards. Steve Meador, drums/electric drums. Bob Metzger, guitar, steel guitar. Steve Zirkel, bass, keyboard, trumpet. Perla Batalla, vocals. Julie Christensen, vocals.

Leonard Cohen San Sebastián Interview & Concert
May 20, 1988


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Video: Leonard Cohen Recites “Listen To The Hummingbird”


Listen to the hummingbird
Whose wings you cannot see
Listen to the hummingbird
Don’t listen to me.

Listen to the butterfly
Whose days but number three
Listen to the butterfly
Don’t listen to me.

Listen to the mind of God
Which doesn’t need to be
Listen to the mind of God
Don’t listen to me.

Leonard Cohen

A “sweet little song … that [Leonard Cohen had] been working through,” quoted in Leonard Cohen Makes It Darker by David Remnick (New Yorker: October 17, 2016)

Leonard recited these lines at the Oct 13, 2016 You Want It Darker Event in Los Angeles.

Leonard Cohen Recites “Listen To The Hummingbird”
Video by Allan Showalter


Video: Leonard Cohen Performs Suzanne, Featuring Alex Bublitchi – Kingston 2012


And you want to travel with her
And you want to travel blind
And you know that you can trust her
For she’s touched your perfect body with her mind.

Leonard Cohen – Suzanne
Kingston: Dec 13, 2012
Video by JP Rayne

Credit Due Department: Thanks go to Laurence of Paris, who alerted me to this video

Video: Leonard Cohen Performs Lover, Lover, Lover Featuring Javier Mas – Kingston 2012


And may the spirit of this song,
may it rise up pure and free.
May it be a shield for you,
a shield against the enemy.

This is another entry in our ongoing informal series, When Bad Seats Happen To Good Videographers. This video appears to have been taken over Charley Webb’s shoulder, but the result is a uniquely enjoyable perspective on the performance.

Leonard Cohen – Lover Lover Lover
Kingston: Dec 13, 2012
Video by JP Rayne

Credit Due Department: Thanks go to Laurence of Paris, who alerted me to this video

“Then We Take Berlin” Vivid Leonard Cohen Video: First We Take Manhattan – Berlin 2013


Leonard Cohen’s performances of First We Take Manhattan in New York and, especially, Berlin are typically powerful and invariably trigger a tremendous response from the audience. This July 17, 2013 rendition of First We Take Manhattan in the German capital is exemplary on both counts.

Leonard Cohen – First We Take Manhattan
Berlin: July 17, 2013
Video by kyoshi9


Best 2013 Leonard Cohen Videos: The best available video of each of the songs performed during the 2013 Leonard Cohen Old Ideas World Tour can be found at the Best Of 2013 Leonard Cohen Tour Video Setlist

Note: Originally posted July 19, 2013 at, a predecessor of Cohencentric