Hear Leonard Cohen’s Lover, Lover, Lover Performed In Hebrew


Indie musician Shai Tsabari released a new rendition this week of Leonard Cohen’s 1974 song “Lover, Lover, Lover.” Shlomi Shaban is responsible for the Hebrew version of the song.

In this rendition of the song that Cohen wrote during the Yom Kippur War, the final lines are, literally: “And may the spirit of this song / waft in pure freedom / May it be a shield for you / against the enemy and the cold.” In rock pianist Shlomi Shaban’s translation into Hebrew, the lines rhyme.

From This Version of Leonard Cohen’s ‘Lover, Lover, Lover’ Is Not Something You Hear Often (Haaretz: Feb 19, 2017)

Thanks to Batia Gilad, who alerted me to this video and to Jugurtha Harchaoui, who alerted me to the Haaretz article.

Video: Leonard Cohen & The 1973 Yom Kippur War


Note: A video of “Leonard Cohen Sings to Israeli Troops in the Yom Kipur War” has recently been posted to YouTube, but appears to be a segment of the video below.

Video from אורי שפירא

Credit Due Department: Thanks to Jo Meul & Linda Sturgess, who brought these videos to my attention. Note: Originally posted January 13, 2014 at DrHGuy.com, a predecessor of Cohencentric

Stellar Video: Leonard Cohen’s Full French TV Performance – Lover, Lover, Lover 1976

loverloverAnd may the spirit of this song
May it rise up pure and free
May it be a shield for you
A shield against the enemy


‘Lover, Lover, Lover’ was born over there; the whole world has its eyes riveted on this tragic and complex conflict. Then again, I am faithful to certain ideas, inevitably. I hope that those of which I am in favour will gain.1quotedown2

Leonard Cohen

These words by Leonard Cohen reference the 1973 Yom Kippur War

bkup56Jo Meul alerts us to a improved version of Leonard Cohen singing Lover Lover Lover on French TV in 1976. An already outstanding video, which has been available for some time, is now stellar: the annoying subtitles are gone and, more importantly, the length is more than doubled.  It’s a gem.

Leonard Cohen – Lover Lover Lover
With Laura Branigan and Cheryl Barnes
Le Grand Echiquier on French TV: May 27, 19762

The 1976 Tour musicians follow:

  • Laura Branigan and Cheryl Barnes – backup singers
  • Sid McGinnes – guitar
  • Johnny Miller – bass
  • Fred Thaylor – keyboards
  • Luther Rix – drums


  1. “I’m Just A Minor Poet” By Gilles Medioni. L’Express, France, October 4, 2001. Found at Leonard Cohen French Web Site. []
  2. Le Grand Echiquier was a live tribute program presented by Jacques Chancel and dedicated to Charles Aznavour, featuring Bird on The Wire, Lover Lover Lover, and Suzanne. Source: Diamonds in the Mine []

Video: Leonard Cohen Performs Lover, Lover, Lover Featuring Javier Mas – Kingston 2012


And may the spirit of this song,
may it rise up pure and free.
May it be a shield for you,
a shield against the enemy.

This is another entry in our ongoing informal series, When Bad Seats Happen To Good Videographers. This video appears to have been taken over Charley Webb’s shoulder, but the result is a uniquely enjoyable perspective on the performance.

Leonard Cohen – Lover Lover Lover
Kingston: Dec 13, 2012
Video by JP Rayne

Credit Due Department: Thanks go to Laurence of Paris, who alerted me to this video

“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?

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

Video: Leonard Cohen’s Rapturous Performance Of Lover, Lover, Lover – Lucca 2013


The Song & The Concert

Szilvia Szanto, the videographer has provided not only an high quality video but also a striking, succinct summary of the concert in the YouTube blurb:1

Short, but absolutely strong and dynamic concert at the Lucca Summer Festival. For timing reasons, Anthem did not close the first part of the show (and Tower Of Song did not open the second one); in its place was an unusual, but very good choice – a spinning performance of Lover Lover Lover! Leonard was in good shape, relaxed and passionate at the same time – great final, much appreciated by a hot, enthusiastic public! 

This video also includes Leonard Cohen’s extensive introductions of his musicians and crew and his lilting skipping as he departs the stage,

Leonard Cohen – Lover, Lover, Lover & Band Introductions
Lucca: July 9, 2013
Video by 30gallina72 (Szilvia Szanto)

Note: Originally posted July 13, 2013 at 1HeckOfAGuy.com, a predecessor of Cohencentricc

  1. I’ve made some modest edits for continuity. []