Leonard Cohen Invokes Light As The Breeze To Characterize His “Position More Or Less Over The Years”

cohen-kneel-wang9
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In [‘Light As The Breeze’] I say, ‘You can drink it or you can nurse it, it doesn’t matter how you worship, as long as you’re down on your knees.’ I think that’s been my position more or less over the years, and creakily standing up and regretting it and getting down again.quotedown2

Leonard Cohen

From Leonard Cohen by Barbara Gowdy (November 19, 1992 interview published in One on One: The Imprint Interviews, ed. Leanna Crouch,  Somerville House Publishing 1994). Photo by xrayspx. Originally posted January 16, 2015 at DrHGuy.com, a predecessor of Cohencentric

A Valentine’s Day Post: Leonard Cohen’s Most Seductive Song – Light As The Breeze

lightbreeSo I knelt there at the delta,
At the alpha and the omega,
At the cradle of the river and the seas.
And like a blessing come from heaven
For something like a second
I was healed and my heart
Was at ease.

In 2015, fans chose Light As The Breeze the #1 Most Seductive Leonard Cohen Song (see Ten Most Seductive Leonard Cohen Songs – 2015: #1-#5 and Ten Most Seductive Leonard Cohen Songs – 2015: #6-#10). So, what better video could be posted on Valentine’s Day?  This version is from the Best Of 2012 Leonard Cohen Tour Video Setlist, which comprises the best available video of each of the songs performed during the 2012 Leonard Cohen World Tour.

Light As The Breeze
Ghent: Aug 14, 2012
Video by

“You’ve got to renew the prayer” Leonard Cohen On Being Asked If There Would Be Songs If There Were No Longing.

[Interviewer] Looking beyond the end, in the song Lover, Lover, Lover, Leonard Cohen cries out that were he to start again he’d ask his father for “a spirit that is calm”. But would he, finally, if a spirit free from longing meant there would be no poetry, no songs?

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A prayer is something that is continuous. You can’t claim these things. It’s like when the children of Israel were given manna, they couldn’t store it. They were given enough for each day and if they tried to store it, it would go rotten at night. Our lives are like that. You’ve got to renew the prayer. Yet I don’t know that there would be no songs if there was no longing. And, like I say in the song Light as the Breeze, maybe the most we can reach for are those times when, ‘like a blessing come from heaven / For something like a second’ we are cured and our hearts are at ease.quotedown2

Leonard Cohen

 

From Songs Of Longing – The Joe Jackson Interview. The Irish Times: November 3, 1995. Accessed 05 April 2014 from LeonardCohenFiles

Note: Originally posted April 7, 2014 at DrHGuy.com, a predecessor of Cohencentric

2013 Leonard Cohen Pula Rehearsal Video: Anthem & Light As The Breeze

pula21

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

Leonard Cohen – Anthem & Light As The Breeze
Pula Soundcheck: August 1, 2013
Video by Roman Gavrilin

Note: Originally posted July 24, 2014 at DrHGuy.com, a predecessor of Cohencentric

Ten Most Seductive Leonard Cohen Songs – 2015: #1-#5

junopixThe results of the 2015 Survey of The Ten Most Seductive Leonard Cohen Songs #1-#5 (also see The Ten Most Seductive Leonard Cohen Songs – 2015: #6-#10) follow:

5. Take This Waltz
Verona: Sept 24, 2012
Video by

 

4. A Thousand Kisses Deep
From Ten New Songs

 

3. Dance Me to the End of Love
Verona: Sept 24, 2012
Video by

 

2. I’m Your Man
Radio City Music Hall: May 17, 2009
Video from sasaradovanovic82

 

1. Light As The Breeze
Ghent: Aug 14, 2012
Video by

 

Note: As stipulated in the original 2011 Ten Most Seductive Leonard Cohen Songs1 compilation, for the purposes of this survey, “seductive” carries the meaning of “tending to entice women into sexual behaviors.” Any specific song on this list may or may not have been originally intended to focus on love, lust, or libido, and any given song may or may not be characterized as romantic, overtly provocative, melancholy, raucous, dignified, downright sleazy, … . The only qualities shared by all the songs are (1) they are songs (not poems/spoken word) written and performed by Leonard Cohen and (2) they increase the likelihood that certain women2 will become desirous of sexual activity.3

Credit Due Department: Photo of Leonard Cohen at 1993 Juno Awards by George Kraychyk

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  1. See the 2011 version at The Ten Most Seductive Leonard Cohen Songs:  #1 to #5 and  #6 to #10 and #11 Take This Longing []
  2. Caveat #1: Cohencentric management makes no claim that every woman will find Leonard Cohen songs seductive. It is at least theoretically possible that some women are immune to his influence. DrHGuy, who has never personally observed this unnatural, perverse (and not in the fun way) phenomenon, maintains that the lack of a response on the part of a woman, while unsettling, would be useful as a sign of impending disaster. []
  3. Caveat #2: One should note that “increase the likelihood that desirable women will become desirous of sexual activity” does not specify the object of said desires. All too often, for example, the women in attendance at a Leonard Cohen audience attest to an enhanced sexual attraction – to Leonard Cohen. In terms of vectors, these songs reliably increase the velocity of amorous desires but do not predictably or dependably influence the direction of those desires. Still, as a male colleague who still routinely offers, with a notable success rate, mix CDs containing many of these tunes to his romantic interests sagely notes, “It can’t hurt.” []

The Ten Most Seductive Leonard Cohen Songs: #1 to #5

10songs

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Songs have a very specific purpose, They must be measured by their utility. Any jaunty little tune that can get you from one point to another as you drive, or get you through the dishes, or that can illuminate or dignify your courting, I always appreciate.1quotedown2

Leonard Cohen

 

Q: What do you think is the best music to fuck to?

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In the old days people used to say that my stuff was very good for that. I prefer Chopin ‘Nocturnes’ myself.2quotedown2

Leonard Cohen

Update: The 2015 Edition of Ten Most Seductive Leonard Cohen Songs

The Ten Most Seductive Leonard Cohen Songs listing, as presented in this sequence of posts, was originally published Jan 25 & 26, 2011 at 1HeckOfAGuy.com, a predecessor of Cohencentric. It is now up for revision. Nominations can be left in the comments or, preferably, sent to [email protected] While the focus is on the song selection, if you feel a specific video is especially effective, please provide a link to it as well.

Determining Factors For “Seductive Leonard Cohen Songs”

Yesterday’s post featured songs #6 – #10 of The Ten Most Seductive Leonard Cohen Songs.  Today’s post covers songs #1 – #5.

As set forth in the preceding post, for the purposes of this post, “seductive” carries the meaning of “tending to entice women into sexual behaviors.” Any specific song on this list may or may not have been originally intended to focus on love, lust, or libido, and any given song may or may not be characterized as romantic, overtly provocative, melancholy, raucous, dignified, downright sleazy, … . The only qualities shared by all the songs are (1) they are songs (not poems/spoken word) written and performed by Leonard Cohen and (2) they increase the likelihood that certain women3 will become desirous of sexual activity.4

5. Closing Time

cltimeThe roles played in the making of the official Closing Time video by backup singers, Perla Batalla and Julie Christensen, and by Cohen’s paramour at that time, Rebecca De Mornay, are so delicious as to demand describing. This excerpt is from “Growing Old Disgracefully” by Ian Pearson (Saturday Night, March, 1993):

At the video shoot of “Closing Time,” the joy was starting to flow around 10 p.m., eight hours after the star’s arrival. Cohen and his band were on stage, lip-synching the song while the camera pored over their faces. The band was getting giddy. Cohen planted himself as solidly as a tree in centre stage, clenching his fists, mouthing the lyrics, and staring resolutely into the mid-distance. The back-up singers — Perla Batalla and Julie Christensen — were vamping outrageously beside Cohen, dancing provocatively and shooting delicious come-hither looks at him every time he glanced their way.

“Oh we’re drinking and we’re dancing / and there’s nothing really happening / the place is dead as Heaven on a Saturday night,” Cohen sang, and Rebecca De Mornay trapped his stare as she danced seductively behind the camera. He continued: “And my very close companion / gets me fumbling gets me laughing / she’s a hundred but she’s wearing something tight.” De Mornay, who was in her early thirties and wearing a tight green sweater and a snug linen skirt, suggestively started toying with her fingers at the edge of her lips. As his very close companion continued to swoon and gyrate, Cohen broke up on stage. “You guys were really beautiful,” Cohen said in a lounge-singer homily at the end of the take. Unlike a lounge singer, he really meant it.

The director, Curtis Wehrfritz, was pleased, but he wanted a close-up of Cohen putting a bit more emotion into the song. De Mornay had a plan. She asked for a pair of wooden crates to be placed in front of the stage beside the camera. The camera started rolling and the tape began playing. Cohen started a deadpan delivery of the song, more in his prophet than in his playboy mode. De Mornay and Perla Batalla kicked off their shoes, climbed onto the crates, and started gyrating like go-go dancers. A metre or so away from his face, De Mornay fixed her blue eyes on Cohen and pumped her hips. “The women tear their blouses off / the men they dance on the polka dots…/ it’s closing time,” sang Cohen, and De Mornay took the words as cue for a mock striptease. She pulled out the front of her sweater from under her skirt and then tantalizingly gestured with her hands in front of her chest.

The singer responded with an intensely erotic gaze. He sang every word to De Mornay, and came up with a true performance under the most artificial of circumstances. The song ended, and De Mornay turned to Wehrfritz and laughed, “We really put a sparkle in his eye.”

Cohen climbed off the stage. Ever the gentlemen with Old World manners, he bent down to put on De Mornay’s shoes for her. The gloomy-poet-turned-bard-of-the-bedsits looked up at his friends and the crew and pronounced, “That was fun.”

Leonard Cohen – Closing Time
Closing Time Official Video

Continue Reading →

  1. At Lunch With Leonard Cohen; Philosophical Songwriter On A Wire by Jon Pareles. New York Times: October 11, 1995. Emphasis mine. []
  2. Rebirth Of A Ladies’ Man by Steven Blush. Seconds No 22: June/July 1993. []
  3. Caveat #1: Cohencentric management makes no claim that every woman will find Leonard Cohen songs seductive. It is at least theoretically possible that some women are immune to his influence. DrHGuy, who has never personally observed this unnatural, perverse (and not in the fun way) phenomenon, maintains that the lack of a response on the part of a woman, while unsettling, would be useful as a sign of impending disaster. []
  4. Caveat #2: One should note that “increase the likelihood that desirable women will become desirous of sexual activity” does not specify the object of said desires. All too often, for example, the women in attendance at a Leonard Cohen audience attest to an enhanced sexual attraction – to Leonard Cohen. In terms of vectors, these songs reliably increase the velocity of amorous desires but do not predictably or dependably influence the direction of those desires. Still, as a male colleague who still routinely offers, with a notable success rate, mix CDs containing many of these tunes to his romantic interests sagely notes, “It can’t hurt.” []