The Cat In The Hat Is Back – Leonard Cohen Prepares For 2008 Tour


I’m Your (Sharp-dressed) Man

They come runnin’ just as fast as they can
‘Cause every girl crazy ’bout a sharp dressed man.

– From Sharp-dressed Man by ZZ Top

This shot of Leonard Cohen rehearsing for his upcoming World Tour in his Sunday-go-to-meeting clothes1 is intriguing and even a tad mysterious.

How, for example, does he look so good in that hat? Why does he look like an illustration for the dictionary definition of “dapper” wearing a double breasted jacket while 97% of the men that don them (including Dave Letterman, who wears one almost every night on his show) resemble nothing else as much as a corpse being fitted for a shroud? Why is he fingering a keyboard when he typically plays a guitar, if he plays any instrument, in his concerts? Why does he have only one hand on the keyboard? Is the one hand in the pocket stance essential as a component of the not quite insouciant slouch?

And what the heck is with that gong in the background?


Credit Due Department: Photo by Lorca Cohen. Used by permission of Leonard Cohen via Ed Sanders. Thanks to Dick Straub for alerting me to the photo.

Note: Originally posted Apr 27, 2008 at, a predecessor of Cohencentric

  1. Or would these be Leonard Cohen’s “Sabbath-go-to-meeting Clothes?” Or his “Sabbath-go-to-synagogue Clothes?” Such are the perils of the culturally sensitive blogger. []

Leonard Cohen: Fashion Exemplar – The Hollywood YMCA T-shirt


The ever dapper Leonard Cohen had at least one t-shirt in his wardrobe that showed up on occasion in photos and videos. In the above screenshot from Harry Rasky’s Song of Leonard Cohen, the Canadian singer-songwriter is wearing a Hollywood YMCA shirt. In a video of “Take This Longing,” that same Hollywood YMCA shirt can be viewed peeking out from Leonard Cohen’s jacket.


On the cover art of the Birmingham bootleg, a Hollywood YMCA T-shirt is paired with shorts for that especially casual look.

LCbhamBkEsther Parks points out that Leonard sports that shirt on the photo spread below.


Esther goes on to note,

If he [Leonard Cohen] were a gentleman and cared anything about his female fans, he would have given the shirt to her and gone topless himself.

And A Historical Note – The Roscoe Beck-Leonard Cohen Hollywood YMCA Connection

In related news, those perpetually popular and always astute reliable sources have it that Rosco Beck and Leonard Cohen wore Hollywood YMCA t-shirts “all the time” during the 1979 tour rehearsals and swam daily at the Hollywood YMCA.

Consequently, it seems likely that more photos of Leonard and perhaps some of Roscoe sporting these garments may be floating about. Viewers who happen onto such specimens are urged to contact me

Update: From The Hollywood YMCA Perspective

This pertinent comment was left by Hollywood YMCA Executive Director, Norris Lineweaver on

Needless to say, hundreds of Hollywood YMCA engraved towels, shorts and t-shirts, muscle shirts, lifeguard shirts, camp counselor shirts, Adventure Trails shirts, staff security shirts, and even maintenance staff uniforms are in circulation. I am embarrassed to say probably one of the most out of control inventory under my watch. Now that Leonard Cohen has come out in the open with contraband I am certain my successors couldn’t do better even with a chain and lock on every t-shirt. Thank you, Leonard! We love you!
Norris Lineweaver
Executive Director (1980-88)

Note: Originally posted Feb 2, 2011 at, a predecessor of Cohencentric

Leonard Cohen’s Saints Bracelet(s)

Leonard Cohen: Oakland March 2, 2013 (Photo by Art Siegel)

Leonard Cohen: Oakland March 2, 2013 (Photo by Art Siegel)

The recent interest in -Leonard Cohen’s  has led to an interest in the Saints Bracelet Mr Cohen was first observed wearing on his right wrist at the July 25, 2010 Zagreb concert (see screenshot below).


The accoutrement features pictures of Jesus and a selection of Catholic saints mounted on rectangular or round wooden, metal, or ceramic pieces. At the time, a LeonardCohenForum post by mnkyface notes the similarity of the bracelet worn by Cohen for the first time at the Zagreb concert to a bracelet of Catholic saints such as the one shown below.
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