From Leonard Cohen’s Apr 22, 1964 letter to Redmond Wallis, a writer from New Zealand, who was Cohen’s friend as well as his fellow resident on Hydra. At the time this letter was written, Leonard Cohen was living in Montreal, and Wallis was at his home on Hydra. This letter is archived at the National Library of New Zealand – Wellington, Originally posted September 9, 2014 at 1HeckOfAGuy.com, a predecessor of Cohencentric
Thoreau’s words were written in his journal July 25, 1839 when he was enamored of Ellen Sewall.1 Leonard Cohen’s words are from the lyrics of “Ain’t No Cure for Love,” which was first released on Jennifer Warnes’ 1987 tribute album Famous Blue Raincoat. It was then released on Cohen’s 1988 album I’m Your Man.
I can only make simple dishes. I have two grown children and they had to get something to eat, so I learned to cook. But I don’t really care for it, in contrast to Anjani, who has a well-trained palate. Also, musically, I have a very, very simple taste.
From Mit Gedächtnisschwund kommt man schon sehr weit by Von Johannes Wächter. Süddeutsche Zeitung Magazin: Issue 17: 2007, an interview with Leonard Cohen & Anjani Thomas about their connection. Quote via Google Translate. Photo Photoshopped by me to illustrate What Leonard Cohen Taught Chef Nancy Hinton About Food. Originally posted April 24, 2014 at DrHGuy.com, a predecessor of Cohencentric
Leonard Cohen Corrections Agency: The Case Of Suzanne Vs Volvo
The Leonard Cohen Corrections Agency offers rectification of inaccuracies promulgated by Leonard Cohen (see full explanation at the end of this post). Today’s focus is on the recalculation of a rule of thumb formulated by Leonard Cohen to take into account the impact certain facts, revealed by the passage of time, have had on his assessment of the longevity of his songs.
Mr. Cohen has repeated his testimony about the endurance of his songs on several occasions. This example is documented in Cohen Grows Into The Future Gracefully, And With A Grin by Peter Howell:1
My songs usually last about as long as a Volvo — about 30 years
That equation sounds valid and has, until now, never been challenged, but, as New York Governor Alfred E. Smith famously declared in his 1928 presidential campaign, “Let’s look at the record.”2
In 2009, the average life of a Volvo was calculated at 19.7 years, second only to Mercedes.3
Cohen Song Lifespan
Songs, such as Suzanne from his first album, Songs of Leonard Cohen, released in 1967, continue to be popular and to sell now, 44 years later [at time of original posting: Feb 8, 2012].
Update: Sales of Suzanne
From Wikipedia – Suzanne
The Verdict – Leonard Cohen Songs Outlast Volvo Cars
Update: The Appeal
The Leonard Cohen Corrections Agency
The Leonard Cohen Corrections Agency is a privately-funded organization dedicated to the rectification of inaccuracies promulgated by Leonard Cohen, no small task given the Canadian singer-songwriter’s admission that “I don’t want to let the facts get in the way of the truth.”
Cases already completed have ranged from cleaning up simple verbal typos such as Cohen’s misidentification of the decade in which he met the young Spaniard who taught him guitar lessons (it was the 50s, not the 60s)4 to setting right mistaken references such as the name of the fast food chain that ran the 1984 “Where’s The Beef?” advertising campaign (it was a promotion for Wendy’s not Burger King or McDonald’s as Mr. Cohen stated)5 to spotlighting inconsistencies such as Mr. Cohen taking both sides in a debate about the relationship of his songs and his poems:
… I regard everything I write as being set to music, almost as if I hear a giant guitar accompanying me!6
I never did set poetry to music. … I got stuck with that. It was a bum rap. I never set a poem to music. I’m not that hopeless. I know the difference between a poem and a song!7
Credit Due Department: Volvo photo by AlfvanBeem – Own work, CC0, via Wikipedia Commons. Originally posted Feb 8, 2012 at 1HeckOfAGuy.com, a predecessor of Cohencentric
- Cohen Grows Into The Future Gracefully, And With A Grin by Peter Howell. Toronto Star, November 19, 1992. [↩]
- Mr. Smith’s slogan was one of the few survivors of that unsuccessful campaign. [↩]
- Wikipedia, eHow, DesktopCar, and several other sites [↩]
- Leonard Cohen: The Prince Of Asturias Awards Speech With Annotations & Commentary [↩]
- Rarely Viewed Video – Leonard Cohen On His Atrocious Voice, Dylan, Lead Belly, Ice-T, Songwriting, Love, & Where’s The Beef [↩]
- Leonard Cohen Seventeen. March 1968 [↩]
- “Porridge? Lozenge? Syringe?” by Adrian Deevoy, Q Magazine, 1991 [↩]
This connection—the unavoidable presence of the Other—has driven us to religion. The great religion is the great work of art. We form ourselves around these problems. These problems exist prior to us, and we gather ourselves, almost molecularly, around these perplexities. That’s what a human is: a gathering around a perplexity.
Leonard Cohen quoted in Leonard Cohen: Several Lifetimes Already by Pico Iyer (Shambhala Sun, September, 1998). Originally posted November 26, 2013 at DrHGuy.com, a predecessor of Cohencentric
Q: What do you like about Leonard Cohen’s lyrics?
They are wonderful to sing. Leonard is an extraordinary songwriter because he is first of all a poet. His lyrics read like poems. He has the wonderful gift of juxtaposing images that would normally never be brought together. This results in sharp, impressive, almost magical word pairings. For example, Blue Alert starts with the lines: ‘There’s perfume burning in the air.’ In the song, words like ‘perfume’ and ‘beauty’ become ‘shrapnel’ and ‘dirt.’ For me this is the description of a very original, essential feeling state.
From Mit Gedächtnisschwund kommt man schon sehr weit by Von Johannes Wächter. Süddeutsche Zeitung Magazin: Issue 17: 2007, an interview with Leonard Cohen & Anjani Thomas about their connection. Quote via Google Translate. Photo by Dominique BOILE. Originally posted April 24, 2014 at DrHGuy.com, a predecessor of Cohencentric