Leonard Cohen Talks About Why He Is More Popular In Europe Than America



Danny Fields: You’re the biggest star in the world in Europe.

Leonard Cohen: I’m a big act there, no question about it.

Danny Fields: Do you think it’s because you work there more, or because you pay more attention to Europe than America, or what?

Leonard Cohen: Maybe it’s because they can’t understand the lyrics.

Danny Fields: Do you look forward to the same vast acceptance in America?

Leonard Cohen: I don’t think it will happen in America. I don’t think the American tradition can accommodate a personage like that.

Danny Fields: What are the dimensions of that personage in Europe that can’t carry over the ocean?

Leonard Cohen: I think that that kind of singer is in the mainstream in Europe, and here it’s an eccentric kind of thing. I really think that the American music is black and Western, and whatever the permutations and combinations of those two things are. I don’t know if a chansonnier really fits into that.

From Leonard Cohen Looks at Himself  by Danny Fields. Soho Weekly News, Vol. 1, #9. Dec 5, 1974.

Credit Due Department: This outstanding interview was discovered and contributed by Jugurtha Harchaoui. Note: Originally posted Jan 21, 2014 at 1HeckOfAGuy.com, a predecessor of Cohencentric

“I feel much closer to the French chansonnier than I do to any English poet.” Leonard Cohen

From A Session With Poet Cohen by Jon Whyte et al. The Gateway: December 2, 1966 (The Gateway is the student newspaper of The University of Alberta)

Leonard Cohen Describes His Desired Audience

Inner-directed adolescents, lovers in all degrees of anguish, disappointed Platonists, pornography-peepers, hair-handed monks and Popists, French-Canadian intellectuals, unpublished writers, curious musicians, etc., all that holy following of my artquotedown2

Leonard Cohen


Excerpt from a letter written by Leonard Cohen to McCelland & Stewart re designing the format of  The Spice-Box of Earth to appeal to his audience. Source: Various Positions: A Life of Leonard Cohen by Ira B. Nadel

“One is not meant to understand the meaning in every song. Some work best if listeners just sit back & allow themselves to be ravished” Leonard Cohen


Leonard Cohen 1988 (photo by Pete Purnell)

I don’t think it’s necessary to love poetry to be a fine human being. I think there is a lot of ways we can get our information that has nothing to do with art and if somebody can’t penetrate Dylan’s imagery or my imagery then let them knock it aside. Besides, one is not meant to understand the meaning in every song. Some work best if the listeners just sit back and allow themselves to be ravished by the material.quotedown2

Leonard Cohen

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

“I can rock out …” Leonard Cohen On His Relation To Rock


I can rock out, if the moment is right for it. I can’t sell myself on that because I don’t have enough of that material, but I’ve loved it all my life, danced to it all my life. So no matter what some myopic critics might say, I don’t feel I have to justify my position in relation to rock. 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)

Credit Due Department: The image is the cover of Rock & Folk No. 154, November 1979 (illustrator: Dominique Lechaud) from the private collection of Dominique BOILE

“We are missionaries. Don’t act like we’re part of showbiz.” Leonard Cohen To 1993 Tour Musicians

I have a very important message I have to give to everyone. We are missionaries. Don’t act like we’re part of showbiz. We’re presenting messages that are beautiful.quotedown2

Leonard Cohen


From Leonard Cohen’s “Closing Time” and Other Memoirs by Bobby Furgo by Lisa Morgan (CV Weekly:November 22, 2016)