Photo: Bob Johnston, Leonard Cohen & Charlie Daniels – 1970

DrHGuy Note: Leonard Cohen didn’t tour in 1971, but he and The Army, including Charlie Daniels & Bob Johnston, played Royal Albert Hall May 10, 1970.

Note: Originally posted December 23, 2013 at, a predecessor of Cohencentric

Leonard Cohen Mesmerizes Audience At 1970 Isle of Wight Festival


Jimi Hendrix was a tough act to follow under the best of circumstances. But to follow him onstage after midnight in front of a crowd of more than half a million people that had been setting fires and throwing bottles at the stage seemed like an impossible task for a poet with an acoustic guitar and a gentle band of backing musicians. Yet Leonard Cohen turned the volatile situation at the 1970 Isle of Wight Festival into one of the most magical performances of his career.

Excerpt from Leonard Cohen Plays a Spellbinding Set at the 1970 Isle of Wight Festival by Mike Springer (Dangerous Minds: Oct 10, 2015)

While there is little in this post that will be new to hardcore Leonard Cohen fans, savoring the account of Cohen’s iconic performance is always worth a read and a viewing, and for those not familiar with this remarkable episode early in the Canadian singer-songwriter’s career – well, you’re in for a treat.

The article and an embedded video of Murray Lerner’s Leonard Cohen’s Live At The Isle of Wight 1970 can be found at Leonard Cohen Plays a Spellbinding Set at the 1970 Isle of Wight Festival

Credit Due Department: Thanks to Jo Meul, who alerted me to this post.

Signs of Leonard Cohen: Newspaper Ad for 1970 UCLA Concert: “A program of now poetry and music for beautiful losers and saints of all age”

ucla1970adAd for the 1970 Leonard Cohen and The Army concert at Royce Hall:  I especially like the performance being styled as “a program of now poetry and music for beautiful losers and saints of all ages,” in the expectation that those viewing the ad would be interested in Cohen’s poetry as well as his music and would also recognize the allusions to his literary work. (OK, I also like the prices: $5.50, $4.75, $4.00, $3.25; Students $2.50)

For a personal report on the 1970 UCLA show, see The 1970 Leonard Cohen Champagne & Crazy Guy Concert At UCLA: A First-Hand Account

Signs Of Leonard Cohen: 1970 Leonard Cohen University Of Wisconsin–Madison Homecoming Concert

1970uof2Poster for the 1970 University Of Wisconsin–Madison Homecoming (“Homecoming For The G.I.s”), which includes a listing for the Oct 30, 1970 Leonard Cohen concert.

A first hand account of that show can be found at The 1970 Leonard Cohen University of Wisconsin-Madison Concert, The Anti-War Movement, & Joe Way

Note: Originally posted February 3, 2014 at, a predecessor of Cohencentric

The 1970 Leonard Cohen University of Wisconsin-Madison Concert, The Anti-War Movement, & Joe Way



Madison – Brigadoon with a touch of Havana

Leonard Cohen


DrHGuy Note: This extraordinary personal account of the 1970 Leonard Cohen University of Wisconsin-Madison Concert and its sociopolitical context has been unavailable recently.1 Now, however, Cohencentric, in cooperation with the author, Joe Way, is proud to publish the report in its entirety. I heartily recommend this article, written at a time when the Gulf War was this country’s key political issue, not only to Leonard Cohen fans but also to anyone interested in the social protests and peace movement of the late Sixties and early Seventies, the contentions over the war in Viet Nam, or the atmosphere in which the Boomer Generation made the transition from adolescence to adulthood.

1970 Leonard Cohen Madison Concert Review by Joe Way

“The fifteen minutes of the sixties” (as Leonard Cohen has characterized them) wore on into the summer and fall of 1970. Examine this timeline:

  • May 4, 1970. Four students are killed and eight wounded by National Guard troops in an anti-Viet Nam demonstration at Kent State University in Ohio.
  • August 24, 1970. Sterling Hall (in which is housed the Army Math Research Center) at the University of Wisconsin-Madison is destroyed by a homemade bomb killing one young researcher in another Viet Nam war protest.
  • August 31, 1970. Leonard Cohen performs at 4 AM at the Isle of Wight festival following a Jimi Hendrix appearance that according to Ira Nadel “set the stage on fire.” Leonard first appeared in pajamas, but then followed his seventeen song set with a fourteen minute encore that according to Kris Kristofferson was “the damnedest thing you ever saw – he charmed the beast.”
  • September 18, 1970. Jimi Hendrix dies in his sleep.
  • October 4, 1970. Janis Joplin dies at 27.
  • October 5, 1970. British Trade Commissioner, James Cross, is kidnapped by FLQ (Front de liberation du Quebec) terrorists in Westmount, Leonard Cohen’s childhood Montreal home area. (Read the FLQ’s communiqué and demands after kidnapping Cross.)
  • October 10, 1970. Quebec reporter, Pierre Laporte, is kidnapped by FLQ (Front de liberation du Quebec) terrorists.
  • October 16, 1970. Pierre Trudeau implements Canada’s War Powers Act establishing martial law. When questioned about the act, an angry Trudeau replies: “There’s a lot of bleeding hearts around who just don’t like to see people with helmets and guns. All I can say is go on and bleed.” (View the CBC interview clip with Prime Minister Trudeau where he made this comment.)
  • October 17, 1970. Pierre Laporte is found dead in a car trunk.
  • October 30, 1970. Leonard Cohen performs at the Wisconsin Student Association sponsored, anti-war, “Bring them Home from Viet Nam” Homecoming celebration at the University of Wisconsin Field House in Madison.


manchild Insert here an eighteen year old freshman from a very small town in northern Wisconsin called, “Tigerton” who arrived in Madison somewhere in the middle of September 1970 to start his college life. The people of Tigerton were concerned that he would turn communist and lose his religion on this godless campus. That person was me.

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  1. Portions of this material were posted Feb 16, 2009 at, a predecessor of Cohencentric. []