Is A New Leonard Cohen Album In The Making? – “Maybe they will see the light of day. I don’t know.” Patrick Leonard; “May they see the light soon for your ears.” Dustin O’Halloran

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In 2016, we learned Patrick Leonard reveals that Leonard Cohen was working on an R&B record by Tom Power (CBC: November 11, 2016). Hear the Patrick Leonard interview at the link.

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I wasn’t with Leonard when he died, but I’m certain that until he couldn’t hold a pen in his hand, he was working. That’s the way Leonard was. He had been weak and ill for a while, but he was working all the time. The hours in a day that he could work were narrowing, but the determination was still there. I think it was clear that the end was in sight, but I don’t think his October [2016] release You Want It Darker is him leaning toward mortality: Go back and listen to his first album [1967’s Songs of Leonard Cohen]—there are mortality issues there. The songs we were working on before he died were really light R&B, beautiful Leonard Cohen love songs. Another project we were working on was an extension of You Want It Darker’s reprise of ‘Treaty.’ We had 10 arrangements written and half of them recorded already—beautiful melodic arrangements—without his voice on them. Maybe they will see the light of day. I don’t know.quotedown2

Patrick Leonard

 

Today, we have this:

Leonard Cohen: Dance Me To The End Of Love Arose From Photo Of Concentration Camp Musicians

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This is a song that arose from a photograph that I saw when I was a child of some people in striped pajamas prison uniforms with violins playing beside a smoke stack and the smoke was made out of gypsies and children, and this song arose out of that photograph: Dance Me To The End Of Love.quotedown2

Leonard Cohen

 

From Leonard Cohen’s introduction to Dance Me To The End Of Love at the April 10, 1988 Koln concert. The photo is not, of course, the one described by Cohen but does show prisoner musicians at Camp Mauthausen.

More on this topic at

A Medical Note On The Death Of Leonard Cohen

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Leonard Cohen’s Death

Nine months after the event, I continue to receive questions about the cause of Leonard Cohen’s death. I am posting about two pertinent medical issues in hopes of resolving some of the confusion. Please be aware that this post reveals no facts about Leonard’s death that haven’t been previously published. Instead, I offer a physician’s take on the available information.

1. Leukemia, Coagulation Defects, and Falls

Prior to Leonard’s death, it was well known that he suffered from cancer (a fact most famously reported by David Remnick in the New Yorker), and since then, reports have been published that specified the diagnosis as leukemia.1

On Nov 16, 2017, Leonard’s manager, Robert Kory, issued a widely published statement2 about the cause of death:

Leonard Cohen died during his sleep following a fall in the middle of the night on Nov. 7. The death was sudden, unexpected and peaceful.

Much of the uncertainty in the queries sent my way arises from the misperception that a fall and leukemia are mutually exclusive causes of death. This is the viewpoint implicit in the opening lines of Leonard Cohen’s Cause of Death Revealed by Dave Lifton (Diffuser: November 17, 2016):

Although Leonard Cohen had been suffering from cancer, it was not the cause of his death last week. According to his manager, Robert B. Kory, it was the result of a fall he had recently suffered.

In reality, however, the explanation of Leonard’s death may well involve the combined effects of the fall and leukemia.

First, treatment for leukemia, as well as for pain or other symptoms of leukemia, may increase the risk of a fall.

More significantly, a common symptom of certain types of leukemia is faulty blood clotting, typically due to low levels of platelets although other issues can also be involved. Consequently, a fall could cause an internal hemorrhage that would ordinarily be stopped by normal coagulation before reaching dangerous levels, but in an individual with impaired clotting, bleeding from the same closed wound could continue relentlessly, leading to death, especially in the case of head trauma. In fact, Intracranial hemorrhage is the second leading cause of mortality in patients with one type of leukemia (acute myeloid leukemia).3

In summary, the most likely clinical interpretation of the presented data is that Leonard’s death was the consequence of bleeding which was immediately triggered by his fall and which continued unabated because of a coagulation defect, which was itself caused by leukemia.

2. No Heroic Measures

Some writers have questioned why no medical intervention was mentioned in the announcements of Leonard’s death.

It is not unusual for patients diagnosed with a terminal illness, especially those suffering physical deterioration, to stipulate in living wills or similar documents that no heroic measures or extraordinary life-sustaining treatment be implemented to avoid the coming of death. A typical provision of this sort follows:

If at any time I should have a terminal condition and my attending physician has determined that there can be no recovery from such condition and my death is imminent, where the application of life-prolonging procedures and “heroic measures” would serve only to artificially prolong the dying process, I direct that such procedures be withheld or withdrawn, and that I be permitted to die naturally.4

Given Leonard’s well-publicized statement, “I am ready to die. I hope it’s not too uncomfortable. That’s about it for me,”5 he may well have made similar arrangements. If so, a no heroic measures provision might have precluded a call for medical assistance.

Conclusion

Again, I want to emphasize that this post is a medical perspective on rather than an investigation of the events surrounding Leonard’s death. The key conclusion is simply that, while I have no definitive proof that the scenarios I’ve outlined are indeed what took place, they do represent reasonable, unstrained clinical explanations of the available information. If this seems anticlimactic, it’s because my personal belief is that the loss of Leonard Cohen was a tragedy, not a mystery.
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  1. For example, in  I already knew Leonard Cohen was dead on Election Day (Slate: Nov 19, 2016), notes “The cause of his [Leonard Cohen’s] death was leukemia.” []
  2. E.g., in The New York Times []
  3. Prediction of fatal intracranial hemorrhage in patients with acute myeloid leukemia by C.-Y. Chen C.-H. Tai W. Tsay P.-Y. Chen H.-F. Tien (Annals of Oncology, Volume 20, Issue 6, 1 June 2009) []
  4. Source: Living Will []
  5. Leonard Cohen Makes It Darker, by David Remnick (New Yorker: Oct 17, 2016) []

“When you fall ill, people send you CDs. Very often… these are by Leonard Cohen.” Months Before His Death, Christopher Hitchens Writes About If It Be Your Will

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When you fall ill, people send you CDs. Very often, in my experience, these are by Leonard Cohen. So I have recently learned a song, entitled ‘If It Be Your Will.’ It’s a tiny bit saccharine, but it’s beautifully rendered and it opens like this:

If it be your will,
That I speak no more:
And my voice be still,
As it was before …

I find it’s best not to listen to this late at night. Leonard Cohen is unimaginable without, and indissoluble from, his voice. (I now doubt that I could be bothered, or bear, to hear that song done by anybody else.)quotedown2

Christopher Hitchens

 

Update: Christopher Hitchens died December 15, 2011

Christopher Hitchens, writing in “Unspoken Truths” (Vanity Fair, June 2011) about the diagnosis, treatment, and course of the malignant cancer that attacked his vocal cords. While I have focused on the small portion that addresses Leonard Cohen, the complete article is poignant, thoughtful, and insightful. Photo by Fri Tanke – http://www.mynewsdesk.com/se/images/christopher-hitchens-29854, CC BY 3.0, Link

Originally posted May 10, 2011 at DrHGuy.com, a predecessor of Cohencentric

“I think it’s impossible to get through this vale of tears entirely sober. I’m more like Baudelaire: let me be drunk with wine, with women, with poetry – whatever the thing is” Leonard Cohen

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lc-b

The Baudelaire reference is to the poem, “Enivrez-Vous” (Poem #581) from Petits Poemes en Prose (Little Prose Poems). An English translation follows and is itself followed by the poem in its original French:

Get Drunk! by Charles Baudelaire

Always be drunk.
That’s it!
The great imperative!
In order not to feel
Time’s horrid fardel
bruise your shoulders,
grinding you into the earth,
Get drunk and stay that way. Continue Reading →

6 Leonard Cohen Montreal Mural Instagram Photos Posted In Past 6 Hours

Fantastic artwork in Montreal #leonardcohen #streetart #montreal #mural

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#leonardcohen #mtl #views

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#leonardcohen , #canadian #artist #poet , #graffiti #art #mural #welcome #montreal

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C'est le temps de partager avec vous mes photos de Montréal 🇨🇦 Je veux vous présenter mon point de vue préféré sur la ville. C'est un des symboles de Montréal – Parc du Mont-Royal. Chaque année il attire des visiteurs de partout dans le monde, mais aussi les Montréalais. Un vrai amour! Profitez de cette magnifique vue panoramique sur le Mont-Royal ! Je t'aime Montréal ♥️ Буду по-тихоньку делиться с вами фотографиями моего любимого города. От этого вида дух захватывает! Это любовь с первого взгляда ) Вид на Монреаль с самой популярной обзорной площадки города в парке Монт Рояль. Наслаждайтесь 🤗 Монреаль ♥️🇨🇦 #mavie #mtl #montreal #montroyal #montroyalpark #leonardcohen #mtlmoments ##mtlblog ##montreal_gallery #ilovemtl #explorecanada #canada #livemontreal #montrealjetaime ##канада #монреаль #mood #instamood #photo #photography #city

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Leonard Cohen’s Dating Degrees Of Separation To Justin Bieber (8) & Bob Dylan (4)

Using the profoundly significant sociological service offered by authoritative site, WhoDatedWho, I calculated the Degrees Of Separation romantically linking Leonard Cohen and a couple of other artists to whom he’s been compared.

Who else is gonna tell you this stuff?

Leonard Cohen – Justin Bieber

Leonard Cohen – Bob Dylan

Originally posted February 22, 2013 at DrHGuy.com, a predecessor of Cohencentric

“Unlike Leonard [Cohen], who diligently sits and writes/draws/composes every day, I’ll do anything to avoid work.” Anjani

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I’m a procrastinator. Unlike Leonard, who diligently sits and writes/draws/composes every day, I’ll do anything to avoid work. Then, when the deadline looms — or worse — has passed, I go into a frenzied state of action and if I’m lucky, I pull a rabbit or two out of the hat. It never ceases to amaze me how slothful I am, and how productive only when I need to be. On the other hand, I make a kickass carrot cake and I know my way around a garden.
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Anjani Thomas

 

Personal communication. Image is screen capture from 1985 video. Originally posted Jan 19, 2008 at 1HeckOfAGuy.com, a predecessor of Cohencentric.

“Leonard Cohen was… a capacious and compassionate spirit, and rock and roll’s most literate and sensitive bard of the last half-century. The world has rarely seen a sweeter, humbler tenant in the glorious Tower of Song.” David Was

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My most lasting memory of Leonard Cohen is of a night we spent together at a Tom Waits concert at the Wiltern Theater in Los Angeles. The headliner was in fine form that evening, croaking out his psychedelic sea shanties and forging ironies by the half-ton. But I must confess that my greatest joy was sitting next to the rumpled genius as he warmly greeted a steady parade of fans and admirers before and after the show. His humility was unforced—he’d learned to reduce his ego to a mere shadow after many years at the Mount Baldy Zen Center… Leonard Cohen was the hippest Jewish uncle I never had growing up, a capacious and compassionate spirit, and rock and roll’s most literate and sensitive bard of the last half-century. The world has rarely seen a sweeter, humbler tenant in the glorious Tower of Song. quotedown2

David Weiss

Note: David Weiss aka David Was founded, along with his stage-brother Don Was, the pop group Was (Not Was). See Video: Elvis’s Rolls Royce Featuring Leonard Cohen By Was (Not Was) – “I Really Love It!” Don Was.

Leonard Cohen Smiles Down on Us From the ‘Tower of Song’ by David Weiss (Newsweek: Nov 11, 2016). Photo by Mandy MacLeod.

Leonard Cohen On His Drug Of Choice When Recording Death Of A Ladies’ Man

What was your drug of choice at that time [when recording Death Of A Ladies’ Man]?

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Well, I don’t like to speak about these things because I don’t want to corrupt the youth . . . but I always liked speed.quotedown2

Leonard Cohen

 

Leonard Cohen: Porridge? Lozenge? Syringe? by Adrian Deevoy. Q, 1991.

Leonard used speed during other creative endeavors, such as writing Beautiful Losers (see The Miracle Of The Storks: Leonard Cohen Talks About His Breakdown & Recovery After Writing Beautiful Losers). He also tried amphetamine and Ritalin to deal with his depression. A summary of Leonard Cohen’s depression, its treatment, and its disappearance is available at Leonard Cohen’s Depression, Its (Failed) Medical Treatment, & Its Resolution.

Video: 45 Seconds Of 2008 Leonard Cohen Soundcheck Fun

A Leonard Cohen Teaser

This brief video shows Leonard Cohen and his musicians rehearsing “Ain’t No Cure For Love” on a sweltering July day in 2008. The location and exact date are not given, but based on the month and year provided (July 2008) and that stage platform with the white markings, I suspect this rehearsal took place before the July 1, 2008 Leonard Cohen concert in Oslo.

Seeing Leonard and company in civilian clothes, The Webb Sisters & Sharon Robinson moving to the music, and Leonard rehearsing kneeling before Javier Mas is a treat.

Note: The first 27 seconds of the video is a 2007 Lou Reed soundcheck. The video player should automatically begin 27 seconds into the film with Leonard Cohen rehearsing; if not, simply advance the video to that mark or enjoy Lou Reed.

Video by monod erika

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

Leonard Cohen – Another Brick In Phil Spector’s Crumbling Wall Of Sound?

In his essay, True Love Leaves No Traces (Mas Context: Fall 2013), Daniel Luis Martinez examines the significance of the Wall Of Sound as an architectural metaphor and the dissolution of Spector’s musical construct, using instances from Death of a Ladies Man, the 1977 Leonard Cohen-Phil Spector collaboration. A representative excerpt follows:

There is evidence of the Wall of Sound’s dissipation at the very beginning of the album in the aptly titled, “True Love Leaves No Traces.” Based on one of Cohen’s poems, the song itself is a series of repetitions (intro/ verse/ chorus/ intro/ verse/ chorus, etc), dramatized by Spector’s decision to use a protracted fadeout. Hang in there long enough and the song’s cyclical structure is revealed as you hear the faint start of a third chorus. It’s as if you’ve been invited to hear four minutes and twenty-five seconds of an endless loop.

True Love Leaves No Traces (illustrated with images from Dominique BOILE’s private collection) is an insightful and enlightening essay that rewards careful reading. The complete article can be found at the link.

Originally posted October 4, 2013 at DrHGuy.com, a predecessor of Cohencentric