“The improvement of the soul is a lifetime project” Leonard Cohen 2008

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From On The Loss Of A Great Artist & Inspiration… by Neil Strauss (NeilStrauss.com: November 11, 2016). Photo by Ketil Blom Haugstulen @ http://cargocollective.com/ketilblom/

Leonard Cohen To Interviewer “Why don’t you just ask me what my favourite colour is? It’s yellow. Well, and blue.”

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Thank goodness Leonard also liked blue; “Famous Yellow Raincoat” just doesn’t scan

Leonard Cohen’s comment was spoken to protest the interviewer focusing on issues (e.g., Zionism) that were “too complex, too serious to speak of over coffee.” From Love Me, Love My Gun Barrel by Graham Lock. New Musical Express: February 23, 1980.  Leonard also gave yellow as his favorite color in this 1988 video interview.

Was Marianne Thinking Of “Come On, Marianne” By The Four Seasons When She Heard Leonard Cohen Sing “So Long, Marianne”?

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marianne2

Come On/So Long, Marianne

In researching the Marianne Variations,1 I came upon this excerpt about the recording of Songs Of Leonard Cohen in I’m Your Man: The Life Of Leonard Cohen by Sylvie Simmons (Ecco: 2012):

By this point, Leonard was cutting his sixteenth take of “Suzanne” as well as a song titled “Come On, Marianne.” “I thought it always was ‘Come on, Marianne, it’s time that we began to laugh and cry’‘ says Marianne, but – unless I’m dreaming – there was a group in California, maybe the Beach Boys, who had similar words in a song. When he wrote it, for me it was like, ‘Come on, if we can just keep this boat afloat.’ And then we found out that we could not.

Of course, “Come On, Marianne” became “So Long, Marianne,” the classic Leonard Cohen song about leaving – not restoring – a relationship.

I was taken with Marianne’s recall of a group from the same era with “similar words in a song.” I couldn’t find any songs by the Beach Boys or other California groups released during that time with words similar to “Come on, Marianne, it’s time that we began to laugh and cry,” but a 19672 hit by the iconic New Jersey group, The Four Seasons, fits that description and may be the song Marianne had in mind.

“C’mon Marianne,” written by L. Russell Brown and Raymond Bloodworth and popularized by The Four Seasons, hit #9 on the charts in June, 1967. 3 The lyrics follow:

Marianne, Marianne, Marianne, Marianne

Whoa-ho-ho here I am on my knees again
I’ll do anything just to make it right
Say you’ll understand, oh I know you can, c’mon Marianne

No matter what people say, it didn’t happen that way
She was a passing fling and not a permanent thing
Say you’ll understand, oh I know you can

C’mon Marianne, c’mon Marianne
C’mon Marianne, say you can understand
My Marianne, Marianne, Marianne, Marianne

Well now your big brown eyes are all full of tears
From the bitterness of my cheatin’ years
So I hang my head, wish that I was dead

C’mon Marianne, c’mon Marianne
C’mon Marianne, say you can understand
My Marianne
C’mon Marianne, c’mon Marianne
Marianne, Marianne, Marianne, Marianne

Marianne
Marianne
Marianne

The Four Seasons – C’mon Marianne

Note: Originally posted July 19, 2014 at 1HeckOfAGuy.com, a predecessor of Cohencentric

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  1. The Marianne Variations comprises posts devoted to the major recurring variations of  Leonard Cohen’s “So Long, Marianne” []
  2. “So Long, Marianne” was a track on the Songs Of Leonard Cohen album released December 27, 1967 []
  3. “C’mon Marianne” was, in fact, the final US Top Ten hit for The Four Seasons in the 1960s. []

Leonard Cohen Video: In My Secret Life – Beacon Theatre, New York 2009

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secretbeac

I saw you this morning
You were moving so fast
Can’t seem to loosen my grip
On the past
And I miss you so much
There’s no one in sight
And we’re still making love
In my secret life

The first Leonard Cohen concert I attended was the stellar 2009 Beacon Theatre show, which was also the first time the Canadian singer-songwriter had appeared in the US in 15 years.  Of the many great performances that night, In My Secret Life stands out in my mind.

Leonard Cohen – In My Secret Life
Beacon Theatre, NYC: Feb 19, 2009
Video by albertnoonan

Originally posted Feb 19, 2013 at 1HeckOfAGuy.com, a predecessor of Cohencentric

“[I’ll] start smoking when I’m 80 … try a little acid when I’m 90 and sex when I’m 100.” Leonard Cohen – Edmonton 2012

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Leonard Cohen at Nov 18, 2012 Edmonton Concert, quoted in Godfather of Blissful Doom by Mike Ross (Edmonton Sun: Nov 18, 2012). Originally posted Nov 19, 2012 at DrHGuy.com, a predecessor of Cohencentric

Q: I feel humiliated and exposed by my needs and my desires, even when they’re reciprocated. How can I deal with this? Leonard Cohen: “You feel humiliated and confused anyway. Do not confuse the issue with your needs and desires.”

Leonard Cohen answering questions in Details (July, 1993). Originally posted May 13, 2011 at DrHGuy.com, a predecessor of Cohencentric

Now We Know: The Story Behind This Leonard Cohen Photo

Over the years, I have repeatedly seen this photo online, always without attribution or explanation, and wondered – What the heck is Leonard doing? Happily, I finally discovered the photographer was Ian Cook, who was gracious enough not only to allow me to post this photo but also to answer my query:

I spent several days with Leonard Cohen when he was on tour [and 1979] and at one period he was having a slight nasal and voice problem so he went to a Harley Street Doctor in London who helped him and he was able to carry on with the tour.

Photo Credit: Ian Cook www.iancookphotography.com

“I try everything. I’ll do anything… Nothing works. After a while, if you stick with a song long enough, it will yield. But long enough is way beyond any reasonable estimation of what you might think long enough may be.” Leonard Cohen On Songwriting


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[I bring] anything I can bring to it [writing a song]. Thought, meditation, drinking, disillusion, insomnia, vacations… Because once the song enters the mill, it’s worked on by everything that I can summon. And I need everything. I try everything. I try to ignore it, try to repress it, try to get high, try to get intoxicated, try to get sober, all the versions of myself that I can summon are summoned to participate in this project, this work force. I try everything. I’ll do anything. By any means possible. [Interviewer: ‘Do any of these methods work best?’] No. Nothing works. After a while, if you stick with a song long enough, it will yield. But long enough is way beyond any reasonable estimation of what you might think long enough may be.quotedown2

Leonard Cohen

 

From Leonard Cohen by Paul Zollo. Boulevard Magazine: Jan 29, 2013. Photo by J. Scherr.

Leonard Cohen On Writing Songs For New Skin For The Old Ceremony: “I went to Ethiopia looking for a suntan. It rained, including in the Sinai desert, but through this whole period I had my little guitar with me, and it was then I felt the songs emerging”

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I work very slowly and abandoned hope for many of them [the songs for New Skin For The Old Ceremony]. However, last summer I went to Ethiopia looking for a suntan. It rained, including in the Sinai desert, but through this whole period I had my little guitar with me, and it was then I felt the songs emerging – at least, the conclusions that I had been carrying in manuscript form for the last four or five years, from hotel room to hotel room.quotedown2

Leonard Cohen

 

From Leonard Cohen: Cohen’s New Skin by Harvey Kubernik. Melody Maker: 1 March 1975. Originally posted Dec 18, 2013 at DrHGuy.com, a predecessor of Cohencentric

“I started playing guitar in 1950, when I spent the summer in a socialist summer camp near Montreal. I really liked the people there because they were the only ones who were interested in songs as a form of self-expression – as people’s music.” Leonard Cohen

leonard-cohen-playing-for-my-mom-uncle-early-1950s-at-my-great-grandmothers-summer-camp-ed1200-1024x718

From ”En tunne vanhenevani lainkaan” – Leonard Cohen Soundissa 1976: The 2016 reprint of a June 1976 Leonard Cohen interview by Dougie Gordon. (Soundi: Nov 11, 2016). Via computer translation. Photo of “Leonard Cohen playing for my mom & uncle, early 1950s, at my great grandmother’s summer campby noahbloom