Videos: All Six Songs From 1988 Leonard Cohen Live At Roskilde TV Broadcast

Dance Me To The End Of Love, Everybody Knows, First We Take Manhattan, Take This Waltz, Hallelujah,  Suzanne

On July 2, 1988, Leonard Cohen appeared  at the 1988 Roskilde Festival, held south of Roskilde, Denmark. Six of those songs were broadcast on TV2 Denmark. a1000kissesdeep (aka Tom Sakic to ongoing readers) has uploaded these to YouTube. Although all six suffer from color distortion, these videos are fascinating, not only because of the impressive performances by Leonard Cohen and his musicians but also due to the exuberant, banner-waving audience. Worthy of special note is Everybody Knows, which offers a precursor to one of Leonard Cohen’s signature moves during the 2008-2013 tours – kneeling beside John Bilezikjian on the oud  as he would later kneel beside Javier Mas to establish face to face contact as he sings and Mas plays.

1. Dance Me To The End Of Love
2. Everybody Knows
3. First We Take Manhattan
4. Take This Waltz
5. Hallelujah
6. Suzanne

Embedded below is  a representative performance, Take This Waltz.

Leonard Cohen – Take This Waltz
Roskilde: July 2, 1988

Note: Originally posted Aug 6, 2011 at, a predecessor of Cohencentric

Leonard Cohen On The Evolution Of “First We Take Manhattan”

If the lyric [of First We Take Manhattan] was set to something more solemn or ponderous it would have bored me to death. If it didn’t have that kind of techno-pop counter-point the song would collapse. But these things aren’t done from a point of view of strategies. They just evolve. Like that song grew out of one called ‘In Old Berlin’, half of which went off to become ‘Dance Me To The End Of Love.’ And to get to where it is I had to go through five notebooks of maybe 50 verses, just slowly scratching away. I don’t have any strategies, even in my private life. Any I had collapsed years ago. It’s my music as much as any other music is.quotedown2

Leonard Cohen


From Read Leonard Cohen’s exclusive interview with Hot Press from 1988 by Joe Jackson (Hot Press: 11 Nov 2016)

Also see Leonard Cohen Credits Jeff Fisher For Rescue Of “First We Take Manhattan”

Leonard Cohen “There has always been a religious side to my work. Most of my songs have confused God and woman.”

There has always been a religious side to my work. Most of my songs have confused God and woman. In Dance Me To The End Of Love, I’m not trying to make it literal; I’m trying to make it sing.quotedown2

Leonard Cohen

Leonard Cohen Work Finds A Place by Mary Campbell (AP – Kentucky New Era: June 29, 1985). Note: Originally posted Sep 13, 2014 at, a predecessor of Cohencentric

Video: Leonard Cohen Performs Dance Me To The End Of Love At 1985 Elixir Festival, Guéhenno


Jo Meul has tracked down another (partial) Leonard Cohen performance at the 1985 Elixir Festival in Guéhenno. The minute or so of Dance Me To The End Of Love includes good views of Leonard and his band, including Anjani Thomas on keyboards and vocals. There is another 30 entertaining seconds of scenes devoted to the audience at the 1985 Elixir Festival, perhaps the most incongruous of settings for a Leonard Cohen show. For more about Leonard’s appearance at this festival, see Leonard Cohen At 1985 Elixir Festival, Guéhenno With Video Of “Passing Through” Performance.

Video: “Dance Me To The End Of Love” Performed On Streets of Tehran One Day After Leonard Cohen’s Death

tehranBecause Music Is Life

I find this performance of Leonard Cohen’s classic “Dance Me To The End Of Love”  by Tehran street buskers just after the Canadian singer-songwriter’s death especially moving. The following annotation was posted by Arash Bt at Leonard Cohen-Facebook:

I was walking the streets of Tehran when in the distance I heard that familiar melody of one of the greatest songs of all time, Dance Me to the End of Love, being played live by three young superb street musicians. It was the day after Leonard Cohen’s passing. And I couldn’t help but momentarily break into song as I approached them. I sat there and enjoyed a wonderful performance for nearly a half an hour, of all places, on a sidewalk, in Tehran! The whole thing was a bit surreal. Later, after befriending them, I learned that the accordionist, Payam Eghdami, was actually the composer for the closing score of the latest movie by Asghar Farhadi, The Salesman; a movie which is sure to win The Oscars this coming year for best foreign film. Yet there he was performing on a street in Tehran with his buddies, and risking being harassed by the random roaming morale enforcers (which actually did happen the following day at that same spot) for one and only one reason: because music is life.

Leonard Cohen – Streets of Tehran musicians

Complete 1993 “Leonard Cohen on Later … With Jools Holland” Show Now Online

jools3While sections of this program have been previously available, it is now online in its entirety. The Vimeo description follows:

In 1993 while on a European tour Leonard Cohen came into the Later…with Jools Holland studio at Television Centre during the show’s second series with his impressive band and angelic backing singers to perform two songs from The Future album – the title track and Democracy – both extraordinarily prescient post on American election, and finished the show with an extraordinary, hymn-like version of his devastating ‘Dance Me To The End of Love’ from the Various Positions album. Cohen also chatted to Jools about his vision and his career and enjoyed seeing a clip of his duet with Julie Felix on Hey, That’s No Way to Say Goodbye from her 1967 BBC TV series, Once More with Felix, for the very first time. In this exclusive includes all those performances and the interview in 25 plus-minutes of the great Leonard Cohen on Later…with Jools Holland.

Leonard Cohen on Later … With Jools Holland
Uploaded by JORGE BOWEN

Credit Due Department:Thanks to Linda Sturgess, who alerted me to this video