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

“I’ll… fortify myself with a drink in order to confront the inevitable moral pneumonia that follows on a blizzard of praise.” Leonard Cohen Opens 2006 LA Film Festival Screening Of I’m Your Man Documentary

Leonard Cohen, Lian Lunson, & “Leonard Cohen – I’m Your Man” Appear At 2006 LA Film Festival

While this video of Leonard Cohen speaking before the 2006 LA Film Festival screening of “Leonard Cohen I’m Your Man” comprises only Leonard’s brief acknowledgment of his gratitude for the tribute, it merits watching as yet another demonstration of the singer-songwriter’s self-effacing graciousness and as a lesson in expressing sincere gratitude without resorting to the kind of treacle that serves as the primary constituent of, say, acceptance speeches at awards shows for performers.

Heck, it’s worth watching if only to hear Leonard Cohen’s describe his intention to retire to the green room in order to

fortify myself with a drink in order to confront the inevitable moral pneumonia that follows on a blizzard of praise.

Lian Lunson, the film’s director, describes what happened after she and Leonard slipped behind the screen at the end of his speech:

This screening was the only public screening Leonard attended. It was a windy night at the Ford amphitheater and Leonard and i sat alone behind the screen with a bottle of wine. The audience could not see us. And, because we were watching the film from behind the screen the film was reversed. It was beautiful to see it that way.

An Evening with Leonard Cohen
LA Film Festival at John Anson Ford Amphitheatre: June 24, 2006

Thanks to Lian Lunson for her charming account of this scene.

This video was originally posted May 3, 2010 at 1HeckOfAGuy.com, a predecessor of Cohencentric

The Belgian Bonanza – Maarten Massa’s Leonard Cohen Gifts

Maarten Massa has been one of the most generous contributors to Cohencentric.com and its predecessor sites so I suppose it shouldn’t surprise me to receive a box chock-full of Leonard Cohen treasures. I am, nonetheless, taken aback and deeply appreciative.

Credit Due Department: Photo by Penny Showalter.

“What I worry about is that the spirit will die before the country dies.” Leonard Cohen (2008)

There are forces of evil in this world that are too great. And they will push forward, no matter how many protests there are. Just like in Iraq, the war was an inevitability. Even with people protesting it all over the world, it was going to happen.quotedown2

Leonard Cohen


Neil Strauss: They were words that weren’t pleasant to hear: I prefer to think that all it takes is one person to create a change. He took an unhurried sip of mushroom tea, and responded with…

You become what you resist.quotedown2

Leonard Cohen


On The Loss Of A Great Artist & Inspiration… by Neil Strauss (NeilStrauss.com: November 11, 2016). Photo by Paul Zollo.