Leonard Cohen lists Pete Seeger & Josh White among “first singers I listened to with any real pleasure”

Who were the singers who you’ve admired?

The first singers I listened to with any real pleasure were Pete Seeger and Josh White and the singers from Wheeling, West Virginia, the country music radio station. Those were the singers I listened to with a lot of pleasure. I used to write to music all the time and it was folk music mostly, Spanish music and flamenco music.quotedown2

Leonard Cohen

From I Have No Idea of the Sound I’m Looking For – An Interview with Leonard Cohen by Michael Harris. Duel: Winter 1969.

Also see Leonard Cohen Attends First Live Gig: Josh White – Ruby Foo’s Montreal 1949

Originally posted June 9, 2014 at DrHGuy.com, a predecessor of Cohencentric

Unpublished Photos Of Leonard Cohen In India – With Ratnesh & Sangeeta Mathur And Unidentified Companion

Ratnesh Mathur, whose account and photos of Leonard Cohen’s Indian Sojourn appear at Leonard Cohen, India, & Me By Ratnesh Mathur and Leonard Cohen’s Spiritual Sojourn In India By Ratnesh Mathur, offers these previously unpublished images of Leonard in India.

The woman beside Ratnesh in these photos is his wife, Sangeeta. Ratnesh recalls that the Israeli woman beside Leonard

met Leonard at Ramesh’s satsangs, and he invited her to join us on that day when we stepped out into Bombay’s Old Town to see some sites and have lunch at Bombay’s Khyber restaurant. Leonard spent quite some time with her that week / month in 1999. I wonder where she is now? She would have some insights.


Leonard Cohen Punchline Video: “No one ever listens to me anyway. I might as well be a Leonard Cohen record.”

I’ve previously pointed out that Leonard Cohen is a nickname magnet; it turns out that he is also a metaphor magnet. i.e., he or his songs are frequently employed in ostensibly humorous figures of speech – almost always to connote something negative.

This phenomenon seems especially prevalent in the British media, although this may be an observational error stemming from my inability to comprehend any language other than English. For all I know, the entirety of contemporary popular culture in Norway could be built upon Cohen-dependent analogical constructs hidden from me by my ignorance of the Norwegian language.

In any case, I have collected some of these figures of speech and, like Mr Cohen himself, “I’m not the sort of chap who would keep this to himself … .1

Today’s offering is a lament by Neil, a character in The Young Ones, a British comedy series described by the IMDb as “the crazy and sometimes surreal comedic adventures of four very different students in Thatcher’s Britain.”

Neil complains,

No one ever listens to me anyway.
I might as well be a Leonard Cohen record.

The video clip below demonstrates this line in situ.

Note: Originally posted Jun 13, 2012 at 1HeckOfAGuy.com, a predecessor of Cohencentric


  1. Leonard Cohen, in concert at Praha on August 29, 2009 []

Leonard Cohen on writing songs after his depression lifted: “The work isn’t easier. You know, lifting boulders isn’t easier when you’re in a good mood.”

State of Grace by Doug Saunders. Globe and Mail: Sept 1, 2001. Originally posted June 17, 2014 at DrHGuy.com, a predecessor of Cohencentric

Hear Leonard Cohen Talk About James Joyce’s Influence & Bono’s Cover Of Hallelujah

Two brief excerpts from a 1995 telephone interview of Leonard Cohen by Joe Jackson have been uploaded to YouTube.

Leonard Cohen On Literary Influences – 1995

In the first, Cohen discusses the literary voices, many of which were Irish, that influenced his own work. Cohen quotes from the final paragraph of The Dead by James Joyce, making a minor error in the process:

Leonard Cohen: “snow was gen­eral over all of Ire­land”

James Joyce: “snow was gen­eral all over Ire­land”1

Leonard Cohen On Bono’s Cover Of Hallelujah – 1995

Joe Jackson, the interviewer, attempts to goad Cohen into criticizing Bono’s performance of “Hallelujah” on the Tower Of Song tribute album. Jackson, for example, points out that Bono changed Cohen’s original lyrics, “nothing on my tongue,” (from the line before the final chorus, “With nothing on my tongue but Hallelujah”) to “nothing on my lips.”  Cohen is clearly having none of it, first praising Bono’s characterization of David as the “first great blues singer” as well as calling the Irish musician “very smart,” and then shifting to mock outrage, proclaiming “He’s  [Bono has] ruined it. He’s dead.”

Note: Originally posted Jun 24, 2012 at 1HeckOfAGuy.com, a predecessor of Cohencentric


  1. For context, the entire final paragraph from The Dead by James Joyce follows with the quoted words in bold:

    Yes, the news­pa­pers were right: snow was gen­eral all over Ire­land. It was falling softly upon the Bog of Allen and, fur­ther west­wards, softly falling into the dark muti­nous Shan­non waves. It was falling too upon every part of the lonely church­yard where Michael Furey lay buried. It lay thickly drifted on the crooked crosses and head­stones, on the spears of the lit­tle gate, on the bar­ren thorns. His soul swooned slowly as he heard the snow falling faintly through the uni­verse and faintly falling, like the descent of their last end, upon all the liv­ing and the dead. [emphasis mine] []

Leonard Cohen Talks About How “We’re drawn to the truth”

We’re drawn to the truth. We’re drawn to the truth when we hear it and when we see it. We’re hungry for the truth. We’re always surprised because the truth manifests itself in so many different ways and in so many different forms. You can hear it for a moment from your friend, you can hear it from your wife, you can hear it from your children. You can hear it for a moment in a song on the radio. It is so precious when you hear it that you are immediately drawn to it. So I tend to be wary of confining this expression of truth to one kind of activity, one kind of artistic activity.quotedown2

Leonard Cohen

From Leonard Cohen: A Portrait in First Person, a 1988 CBC broadcast narrated by Moses Znaimer. Originally posted April 11, 2014 at DrHGuy.com, a predecessor of Cohencentric