Leonard Cohen Quotes Dylan: “As Dylan says in one of his songs, ‘I know my song well before I start singing’ That’s usually the case because it takes so long to really know it.”

From Lenny Plays It Cool by Bud Scoppa (Music Connection, April 6-19, 1987)

Note: The Dylan song from which Mr Cohen quotes is, of course, “A Hard Rain’s A-Gonna Fall”

Leonard Cohen-Bob 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

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

Bob Dylan’s “Ballad Of A Thin Man” Is On Leonard Cohen’s Jukebox

jukebox700

Leonard Cohen’s Jukebox

Biggest Influence on My Music – The jukebox. I lived beside jukeboxes all through the fifties. There was “The Great Pretender,” “Cross Over the Road.” I never knew who was singing. I never followed things that way. I still don’t. I wasn’t a student of music; I was a student of the restaurant I was in — and the waitresses. The music was a part of it. I knew what number the song was.

– Leonard Cohen (Yakety Yak by Scott Cohen, 1994)

Leonard Cohen’s Jukebox: Over the years, Leonard Cohen has mentioned a number of specific songs he favors. Leonard Cohen’s Jukebox is a Cohencentric feature that began collecting these tunes for the edification and entertainment of viewers on April 4, 2009. All posts in the Leonard Cohen’s Jukebox series can be found at The Original Leonard Cohen’s Jukebox Page.

Renik Van den Eynde points out that Leonard Cohen’s admiring use of Dylan’s lyrics from The Ballad Of A Thin Man qualifies it for Leonard Cohen’s jukebox:

I don’t know what is happening, and I don’t care what is happening, to tell you the truth, it’s none of my business. I know that the explanations that are available have their various degrees of interest, but nothing seems to be speaking to me personally about what is happening. I tend to, you know, let my attention wander from the various channels of information, whether they be newspapers, television, art, song, literature and even conversation; so something is happening, as Dylan says, but you don’t know what it is, do you Mr. Jones. So that’s the way I feel. So what is happening or what has happened to me or my writing or my lyrics, I’m not interested in the explanation, even my own, I’m only interested in the feeling that is just answering the appetite to describe moments and feelings that somehow has not been described in what is available.1

The referenced Dylan lyrics follow:

Because something is happening here but you don’t know what it is
Do you, Mr. Jones?
You raise up your head and you ask, “Is this where it is?”
And somebody points to you and says, “It’s his”

Bob Dylan – Ballad of a Thin Man
Desert Trip, Coachella: Oct 14, 2016

Bob Dylan Songs On Leonard Cohen’s Jukebox

Leonard Cohen-Bob 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

_____________________

  1. From Interview with Leonard Cohenby Kari Hesthamar, Los Angeles, 2005 []

“I love everything that Dylan does and I love to hear the old guys lay it out. Love and Theft produces tremendous energy.” Leonard Cohen

Leonard Cohen, on being asked what he “thought of Love and Theft – Bob Dylan’s new album” in the Sony 2001 online chat. Thanks to Tom Sakic, who alerted me to this.

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

“Dylan’s a Picasso–that exuberance, range, and assimilation of the whole history of music.” Leonard Cohen


quoteup2
Most music criticism is in the nineteenth century. It’s so far behind, say, the criticism of painting. It’s still based on nineteenth century art–cows beside a stream and trees and ‘I know what I like.’ There’s no concession to the fact that Dylan might be a more sophisticated singer than Whitney Houston, that he’s probably the most sophisticated singer we’ve had in a generation. Nobody is identifying out popular singers like a Matisse or Picasso. Dylan’s a Picasso–that exuberance, range, and assimilation of the whole history of music.quotedown2

Leonard Cohen

From an interview with Mark Rowland published in Musician (1988)

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

Leonard Cohen On The 1960s – He Was Not Impressed (Except With Dylan)


quoteup2
Except for one or two great poets like Dylan, I saw a lot that was extremely fuzzy. Then when I found out how bad the acid had been, what a bummer it really was. I started to suspect that all was not as it had been advertised. Then when I got ripped off by some people who wore boots and had long hair, I knew for certain that nothing had changed.quotedown2

Leonard Cohen

 

Quotation from Melancholy Baby by John Walsh. The Independent Magazine: May 8, 1993. Photo by Paul Townsend. Originally posted Jan 8, 2014 at DrHGuy.com, a predecessor of Cohencentric

Leonard Cohen Alludes To Dylan Song In “Democracy”

cdi
quoteup2
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