“I still pack [Leonard Cohen] like a sleeping pill, a beautiful ghost to surrender to, a spiritual songster for these unspiritual times.” Ahmed Rashid

quoteup2
Throughout my life I have taken Cohen everywhere and I have done so like many others for wanting the poetry of love and tolerance, musical harmony and his gruff voice to end days of covering wars and political conflict as a journalist. Whenever I travel I still pack him like a sleeping pill, a beautiful ghost to surrender to, a spiritual songster for these unspiritual times. In a 1993 interview he came closest to defining his credo:

“I am completely open and transparent and therefore its easy for anyone to grasp the emotion that’s there. I am the person who tries everything and experience myself as falling apart. I try drugs, Jung, Zen meditation, love and it all falls apart at every moment. And the place where it all comes out is in the critical examination of those things – the songs. And because of this, I am vulnerable. There’s the line in ‘Anthem’ that says, ‘There’s a crack in everything/That’s how the light gets in.’ That sums it up: it’s as close to a credo as I’ve come.”quotedown2

Ahmed Rashid

 

From Death Of Leonard Cohen by Ahmed Rashid (ahmedrashid.com: November 11 2016). Photo by Chatham House – Ahmed Rashid, Journalist; Author, Pakistan on the Brink: The Future of Pakistan, Afghanistan and the West, CC  Wikipedia Commons

Also see Why I Love Leonard Cohen by Ahmed Rashid (New York Review of Books: Nov 15, 2012)

Thanks to Klaus Offermann, who alerted me to Death Of Leonard Cohen by Ahmed Rashid

Striking Video: Leonard Cohen Performs Anthem – Adelaide 2013

adelaideI can’t run no more
With that lawless crowd
While the killers in high places
Say their prayers out loud
But they’ve summoned, they’ve summoned up
A thundercloud
And they’re going to hear from me

Leonard Cohen – Anthem
Adelaide: Dec 11, 2013
Video by by alanm5049

Note: Originally posted Dec 12, 2013 at 1HeckOfAGuy.com, a predecessor of Cohencentric

Best Of The 2008-2010 Leonard Cohen World Tour: Anthem – Oakland 2010

Ring the bells that still can ring
Forget your perfect offering
There is a crack in everything
That’s how the light gets in

Leonard Cohen – Anthem
Oakland: December 5, 2010

This is Leonard Cohen’s long version of Anthem with an preamble that begins with “a kid with a crazy dream” and band introductions that include the Rafael Gayol Saga that invariably triggers giggling from the drummer (for more see Leonard Cohen And The Saga Of Rafael Gayol).

Leonard Cohen – Anthem
Oakland: December 5, 2010
Video from arlenedick15

Note: Originally posted June 27, 2012 at 1HeckOfAGuy.com, a predecessor of Cohencentric

“‘There’s a crack in everything, that’s where the light gets in.’ That’s the closest thing I could describe to a credo.” Leonard Cohen

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‘There’s a crack in everything, that’s where the light gets in.’ That’s the closest thing I could describe to a credo. That idea is one of the foundations, one of the fundamental positions behind a lot of the songs.quotedown2

Leonard Cohen

Sincerely, L. Cohen by Brian Cullman (Details for Men, January, 1993). Photo by Ted McDonnell.

Video: Leonard Cohen Performs Anthem, Quotes Yeats – Sligo 2010

yeats

Signature Sequence Of Leonard Cohen Lissadell House Concert

Leonard Cohen closed the first set of the July 31, 2010 Lissadell House concert by  quoting the opening lines from  “In Memory Of Eva Gore-Booth And Con Markiewicz” by William Butler Yeats –

The light of evening, Lissadell,
Great windows open to the south,
Two girls in silk kimonos, both
Beautiful, one a gazelle.

Leonard Cohen – Yeats Quote & Anthem
Lissadell House, Sligo: July 31, 2010
Video from albertnoonan

Note: Originally posted Aug 6, 2010 at 1HeckOfAGuy.com, a predecessor of Cohencentric

“I want to serve you baby, but I’ve forgotten how to bend my knee” Leonard Cohen

wingLyrics to an early version of Anthem sung by Leonard Cohen in Exceptional Video: Portrait Of Leonard Cohen – 1992 Interview On Songwriting

Credit Due Department: Thanks to J.J. Harchaoui, who noted that the line correctly reads “I want to serve you baby, but I’ve forgotten how to bend my knee” rather than “I want to serve you baby, but I’ve forgotten how” as initially posted.