Leonard Cohen On “Eastern European Flourishes” He Added To Closing Time & Why That Song Didn’t Get Played “In Country-Western Territory”

My mother was Russian, and she sang beautiful Russian and Yiddish songs. I love the violin, and I did put in those kind of eastern European flourishes in a country-western song [Closing Time], which I think worked rather well. It wasn’t that that didn’t get it played in country-western territory, though. What the country singers and country radio programs didn’t like was that line ‘The whole damn place goes crazy twice, once for the Devil and once for Christ,’ which they found theologically offensive, although I could reconcile it with orthodox Christian thought.quotedown2

Leonard Cohen


From A Purple Haze To A Purple Patch by Adam Sweeting (The Canberra Times: July 24, 1994)