Q: Is it true that you wrote Beautiful Losers largely under the influence or with the help of drugs? Leonard Cohen: “That is true. I took a lot of amphetamines…”

Is it true that you wrote Beautiful Losers largely under the influence or with the help of drugs?

That is true. I took a lot of amphetamines. I felt that it increased the powers of my mind tenfold. I could work very hard for hours. I was never addicted, and I was not aware of the consequences. At a certain point, I could not take anything anymore, I could hardly live. It just stopped, I collapsed, the system collapsed. This is not a very good drug for the depressed because the descent is very unpleasant. I took ten years to fully recover, I had absences, I was grilled from the inside. I could not get up, I was in bed like a vegetable, long unable to do anything, without eating. I weighed less than 40 kg. It is said that amphetamines do not invent anything, that they draw on the resources to come. At home, they had taken over ten years. I have taken it once in a while, but never again regularly. I have not touched the hallucinogens, never the hard drugs, while many people around me have died, some very close.quotedown2

Leonard Cohen


From Comme Un Guerrier by Christian Fevret (Les Inrocks: Aug 21, 1991). Via Google Translate.

Also See The Miracle Of The Storks: Leonard Cohen Talks About His Breakdown & Recovery After Writing Beautiful Losers

Leonard Cohen Animation: Dino Soldo Fires Up Crowd


Dino Soldo was not only Leonard Cohen’s “Master Of Wind;” he was also the “Caliph Of Clapping.” To rev up the audience in anticipation of First We Take Manhattan, he would perform his signature above-the-head clapping. While Javier Mas and Bob Metzger would contribute as well, it was Dino who was the most emphatic. This animation depicts his efforts at the August 1, 2010 Sligo show as recorded by Albert Noonan.

View more animated gifs at Leonard Cohen Animations.

Leonard Cohen’s Rollicking Version Of “Is This What You Wanted” – Paris 1974

I’ve previously posted my contention that Is This What You Wanted offers the funniest lines of any Leonard Cohen song (see for example, Video: Is This What You Wanted by Leonard Cohen – Paris 1976). The performance of Is This What You Wanted at the 1974 Paris show, however, is the clincher to my argument. Leonard’s delivery is hilarious, the band, especially the honky-tonk piano, is into it, and the audience claps and chortles throughout the rendition. It is a treat. Heck, the introduction alone would justify Leonard’s self-assessment: “People say I’m a hoot to be with.”

This next song is a dialogue between you and your perfect lover, except your perfect lover is not present There is an excellent possibility that your perfect lover does not even exist.quotedown2

Leonard Cohen


Leonard Cohen – Is This What You Wanted
Paris: October 20, 1974

Thanks to Roman Gavrilin aka Hermitage Prisoner for making this version of “Is This What You Wanted” available. Photo by Pete Purnell.

“Religion, teachers, women, drugs, the road, fame, money … nothing gets me high and offers relief from the suffering like blackening pages, writing.” Leonard Cohen – From Adam Cohen’s Foreword To The Flame


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