Leonard Cohen Clarifies His Work On Lullaby In Blue Before He Gave To Adam Who Bestowed It On Bette Midler

Tracking The Source Of  Lullaby In Blue

Bette Midler recorded Lullaby In Blue on her 1998 Bathhouse Betty album, describing it as her favorite of the tracks:

I’ve never heard a pop song about a person who gives their child up and is missing the child… The first time I heard that song, I burst into tears. I had to pull over to the side of the road. 1

On the album, the song is listed as having been co-written by Adam Cohen and Brock Walsh.

A reader referencing I’m Your Man by Sylvie Simmons (Ecco: 2012), however, points out that Leonard Cohen originated the song:

Leonard [Cohen] gave his son [Adam Cohen] a song that he had been “working on for years” and knew he’d “never get around to doing,” “Lullaby In Blue.”

How  similar the iteration Leonard Cohen gave Adam is to the final version Bette Midler song is unknown.2

DrHGuy Note: That’s where things stood when this entry was posted. About eight minutes after it went online, I heard from Leonard Cohen, who was then ensconced at the Regina Encampment, where a concert had been canceled because of wide-spread illness among the Unified Heart Touring Company. As Joey Carenza posted on March 10, 2013, Cohen & crew were “bunkered in Regina and on the mend.”

Regina Airport: Photo by Joey Carenza

Well, it turns out that Leonard found time during this hiatus to check in on my online ramblings and respond to “How  similar the iteration Leonard Cohen gave Adam is to the the final version Bette Midler song is unknown:”

Dr Heck,

The tune and the words are Adam’s

All I gave him were the words:

The child I never knew
My lullaby in blue

Warm Regards,


And thus is another seemingly unanswerable query concerning the life and times of Leonard Cohen answered. It’s just another day at the premier Leonard Cohen blog noir.


Note: Originally posted February 28, 2013 at DrHGuy.com, a predecessor of Cohencentric

  1. “Midler makes Warner Bros. debut with ‘Bathhouse Betty’” by Melinda Newman. Billboard: Sept 5, 1998 []
  2. I checked with Sylvie, who concurred that she had no further information on this point. []

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