Leonard Cohen Talks About His “Count Dracula” Verse Of Democracy


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I had a verse in my song, Democracy, which as you know has endless verses, but one of them was, ‘It ain’t coming to us European-style, concentration camp behind the smile, it ain’t coming from the East with its temporary feast as Count Dracula comes strolling down the aisle.’ I asked myself, a territory that has produced everybody from Dracula to Ivan the Terrible to Stalin, is this really the fertile ground for parliamentary democracy? I didn’t think so. It was clear to me that the real laboratory of democracy is America. It’s America where the races are really confronting each other, where the classes are confronting one another, where even people of a different sexual orientation are confronting one another. That’s where democracy started, and that’s where it’s really unfolding.quotedown2

Leonard Cohen

From A Purple Haze To A Purple Patch by Adam Sweeting (The Canberra Times: July 24, 1994)

“From the church where the outcasts can hide/Or the mosque where the blood is dignified…” Unused Verse From Leonard Cohen’s Democracy

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From the church where the outcasts can hide
Or the mosque where the blood is dignified
Like the fingers on your hand
Like the hourglass of sand
We can separate but not divide
From the eye above the pyramid
And the dollar’s cruel display
From the law behind the law
Behind the law we still obey
Democracy is coming to the U.S.A.

From early draft of Democracy quotedown2
by Leonard Cohen

 

Source: Tower Of Song – Interview (Feb 1992) by Paul Zollo. SongTalk: April 1993. One of the verses Leonard Cohen discarded from “the 50 or 60 I discarded for ‘Democracy’” (Interview: Bob Harris’s Whispers: May 26, 1993). Originally posted Sep 2, 2014 at DrHGuy.com, a predecessor of Cohencentric

“First we killed the Lord & then we stole the blues” Why Leonard Cohen Discarded This Verse From “Democracy”

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The Verse Not Taken

First we killed the Lord and then we stole the blues
This gutter people always in the news
But who really gets to laugh behind the black man’s back
When he makes his little crack about the Jews?
Who really gets to profit and who really gets to pay?
Who really rides the slavery ship right into Charleston Bay?
Democracy is coming to the U.S.A.

This verse, completed for “Democracy” but omitted from the final version (the lines were performed as a spoken verse in two concerts: San Francisco – July 3, 1993 and Boston – July 16, 19931) is an artifact of the rigorous revising that was integral to Leonard Cohen’s songwriting process and offers insight into his insight and intent. The following excerpt, from Tower Of Song – Interview (Feb 1992) by Paul Zollo. SongTalk: April 1993, is Leonard’s response to the query “Why did you take that [verse] out?”

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I didn’t want to compromise the anthemic, hymn-like quality. I didn’t want it to get too punchy. I didn’t want to start a fight in the song. I wanted a revelation in the heart rather than a confrontation or a call-to-arms or a defense.quotedown2

Leonard Cohen

 

Note: Originally posted Aug 22, 2014 at DrHGuy.com, a predecessor of Cohencentric

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  1. Source: Diamonds In The Lines []

Leonard Cohen Alludes To Dylan Song In “Democracy”

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There is a line in Democracy that referred specifically to the Dylan song ‘Everybody is Broken.’ The line is ‘The singer says it’s broken and the painter says it’s gray.’quotedown2

Leonard Cohen

Paul Zollo, Songwriters on Songwriting, Da Capo Press, 2003.

The Cohen-Dylan Interface

All posts about Leonard Cohen’s & Bob Dylan’s opinions of each other, their meetings, and comparisons by others can be found at

Thanks, Leonard Cohen, For Coming To The USA – The Video Celebration

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Video: Leonard Cohen USA Concert Highlights

I created the video, “Thanks, Leonard Cohen, For Coming To The USA,” in commemoration of the 2009 Leonard Cohen USA Tour – a triumph and a joy still worth celebrating today.

Heck Of A Guy proudly announces the release of
Thanks, Leonard Cohen, For Coming To The USA

A video offered in appreciation of
Leonard Cohen’s Fall 2009 US Tour
and in celebration of the
2008-2009 Leonard Cohen World Tour,
a labor born of catastrophe and betrayal
that became a triumph of music and spirit

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A Look At The Leonard Cohen Fall 2009 USA Tour

Thanks, Leonard Cohen, For Coming To The USA is a ten minute video with photo and YouTube highlights focusing on the Fall 2009 Leonard Cohen concert series that began in Fort Lauderdale and concluded in San Jose, California. Additional scenes track back to the beginning of the Tour and Cohen’s induction into the Rock and Roll Hall Of Fame and extends to the 2010 iteration of the Tour and beyond.

The soundtrack includes segments from “First We Take Manhattan” and “Closing Time” bracketing “Democracy,” the final song at the final concert of the USA Tour.

Thanks, Leonard Cohen, For Coming To The USA

Note: Originally posted Jan 7, 2010 at 1HeckOfAGuy.com, a predecessor of Cohencentric

“The Sorrow In The Street” By Trent Miller Featuring Leonard Cohen’s Democracy Lyrics Printed In Today’s Cap Times

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Joe Way sends this scan of the Cap Times print  publication of Trent Miller’s graphic, which displays lines from Leonard Cohen’s Democracy and was previously posted here Nov 16, 2016