“When you have those moments where you inform yourself of something that wasn’t immediately apparent, that’s when it becomes interesting.” Leonard Cohen On Songwriting

In many ways, [your 1992 album] The Future picked up on what was in the air and became almost prophetic.

I think that sensibility is nothing you can summon, but it really arises if you keep uncovering the song and trying to get beneath the slogan – either the emotional slogan or the political slogan. So much of the work that I hear, there’s nothing wrong with it, but much of it has the feel of a slogan or an agenda that’s already been written. It’s a perfectly good slogan, and there are interesting variations on it. But if you’re interested in forming yourself through your work, which I think is more interesting, then you have to keep uncovering and discarding those slogans until you get something. When you have those moments where you inform yourself of something that wasn’t immediately apparent, that’s when it becomes interesting.quotedown2

Leonard Cohen


From Everyone Loves You When You’re Dead (and other things I learned from famous people) by Neil Strauss (The Truth About Lies: July 9, 2011)

“The term clinical depression finds its way into too many conversations these days. One has a sense that a catastrophe has occurred in the psychic landscape.” Leonard Cohen (1968)

From International Herald Tribune. Paris, November 4, 1968.

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

All posts dealing with Leonard Cohen’s depression can be accessed at

“Why have I become Scott Fitzgerald but without any loot or social connections?” Leonard Cohen (1962)

Leonard Cohen writing from Hydra in 1962 to his friend Daniel Kraslavsky in Montreal. From Various Positions: A Life of Leonard Cohen By Ira B. Nadel (Random House of Canada: 1996). Originally posted July 24, 2014 at DrHGuy.com, a predecessor of Cohencentric

Leonard Cohen’s Style – Likes Suits, Doesn’t Like Shopping



Interviewer: Did you always dress this well? Or is it something you’ve developed?”

Leonard Cohen: “No, I always wore a suit, pretty much. I grew up before blue jeans hit. I always felt better in a jacket.”

Interviewer: “So you put on a jacket even if you’re not going out?”

Leonard Cohen: “Especially if I’m not going out.”

Evidently, wearing a jacket and tie was a matter of discipline, a poet’s version of a uniform. The jacket, which was purchased at a thrift store on Fairfax, cost $7, and most of Cohen’s suits are years, sometimes decades old. “I don’t like shopping,” he explained, showing me a threadbare Armani in his closet. Next to it was another jacket with a small gold badge on the lapel. The badge said: Canadian Border Patrol.

From Angst & Aquavit by Brendan Bernhard. LA Weekly: September 26, 2001. Photo by Michael Donald.

“And that’s what I’m doing. Preparing to die.” Leonard Cohen (2008)


He was discussing a book he’d read on Auschwitz. Some scholars, he explained, wondered why the Jews didn’t rush forward and try to overpower the handful of machine gunners about to shoot them when they were being led to mass graves. According to the book he was reading, the answer was:

It’s because that’s not what they wanted to do. They wanted to reflect on their life and prepare to die. And that’s what I’m doing. Preparing to die.quotedown2

Leonard Cohen


On The Loss Of A Great Artist & Inspiration… by Neil Strauss (NeilStrauss.com: November 11, 2016). The quotation is from a 2008 interview. Photo by Maarten Massa.

Bon Jovi Chows Down At Moishes Steakhouse, Checks Out Leonard Cohen Mural

Bon Jovi’s visit to one of Leonard’s Montreal haunts wasn’t their first connection with the Canadian singer-songwriter. Just after Leonard Cohen’s death, Bon Jovi tweeted

Leonard Cohen’s gone home. but he will live forever through his songs. thank you Leonard

Bon Jovi, who famously covered Leonard Cohen’s Hallelujah, had this to say in a 2008 interview (no longer online):

You’re covering Leonard Cohen’s Hallelujah these days. . .
It’s a pleasure to sing that song. I’m jealous . . . what a song.

Is that a song you wish you’d written?
It’s right up there, man. It’s up there in the Top 10 of all time. The only thing that gives me any solace is that I read it took him five years to write it. It’s a masterpiece.

Do you like the Jeff Buckley version?
I do. I saw him in a bar, couldn’t have been more than 50 people there, no exaggeration, in Asbury Park, New Jersey. It was for that first EP (Live at Sin-E) with the coffee cup ring on it. He was this close to the bar. He could sing. The honest-to-God truth is that was the first time I heard Hallelujah.

I didn’t know Cohen’s version before that. I heard that song and went, ‘‘There’s the hit!” and my friend went, ‘‘You genius, it’s a Leonard Cohen song, you’re not so bright are you?” Nope, but at least I wasn’t the last one to know it was a Cohen song.

Thanks to Marie Cohen Viana, who alerted me to the Moishes Steakhouse Facebook image.

Ben Harper Covers Leonard Cohen’s “Hallelujah” – Paris 2014

Laurence of Paris, who attended the May 17, 2014 Ben Harper concert at the Folies Bergere in Paris, recommends this video of his performance of Leonard Cohen’s “Hallelujah.” As a fan of Ben Harper myself, I heartily concur with the endorsement.

Ben Harper – “Hallelujah”
Folies Bergere, Paris: May 17, 2014
Video by zerockerparis

Note: Originally posted May 19, 2014 at DrHGuy.com, a predecessor of Cohencentric