“When I went to record the vocal for [I Can’t Forget] I found I couldn’t get the words out of my throat. I couldn’t sing the words because I wasn’t entitled to speak of the emancipation of the spirit.” Leonard Cohen

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I Can’t Forget began as a song about the exodus of the Hebrew children from Egypt, which was intended as a metaphor for the freeing of the soul from bondage. When I went to record the vocal for the track, however, I found I couldn’t get the words out of my throat. I couldn’t sing the words because I wasn’t entitled to speak of the emancipation of the spirit. I was at the point of breaking downquotedown2

Leonard Cohen

 

Interview by Kristine McKenna (L.A. Weekly: May 6, 1988). The Leonard Cohen I Can’t Forget single depicted atop this post is from the private collection of Dominique BOILE.

More About I Can’t Forget: A comprehensive examination of this song can be found at I Can’t Forget By Leonard Cohen: A Dossier.

“The trouble that I find is that I have to finish the verse before I can discard it.” Leonard Cohen On Revising His Songs

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The only advice I have for young songwriters is that if you stick with a song long enough, it will yield. But long enough is not any fixed duration, its not a week or two, its not a month or two, its not necessarily even a year or two. If a song is to yield you might have to stay with it for years and years. ‘Hallelujah’ was at least five years. I have about 80 verses. I just took verses out of the many that established some sort of coherence. The trouble that I find is that I have to finish the verse before I can discard it. So that lengthens the process considerably. I filled two notebooks with the song, and I remember being on the floor of the Royalton Hotel, on the carpet in my underwear, banging my head on the floor and saying, ‘I can’t finish this song.’quotedown2

Leonard Cohen

From Hallelujah: Leonard Cohen on Hallelujah by Neil McCormick. The Telegraph: December 19th, 2008. Photo of Leonard Cohen taken at the 2008 Fredericton show by J. Gordon Anderson.

Video: Leonard Cohen Performs Hey That`s No Way To Say Goodbye, Featuring Alex Bublitchi – Paris 2012

Leonard Cohen – Hey That`s No Way To Say Goodbye
Paris; Sept 29, 2012
Video by

I loved you in the morning, our kisses deep and warm
Your hair upon the pillow like a sleepy golden storm
Yes, many loved before us, I know that we are not new
In city and in forest they smiled like me and you
But now it’s come to distances and both of us must try
Your eyes are soft with sorrow
Hey, that’s no way to say goodbye

Originally posted Oct 9, 2012 at 1HeckOfAGuy.com, a predecessor of Cohencentric

“Coming up with the words is very hard. Hard on the heart, hard on the head and it just drives you mad.” Leonard Cohen On Writing

lcerite

Have you always found it easier to write about women?

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I’ve never found it easy to write. Period. I mean, I don’t want to whine about it or anything but… it’s a bitch! It’s terrible work. I’m very disciplined in that I can settle down into the work situation but coming up with the words is very hard. Hard on the heart, hard on the head and it just drives you mad. Before you know it, you’re crawling across the carpet in your underwear trying to find a rhyme for ‘orange.’ It’s a terrible, cruel job. But I’m not complaining.quotedown2

Leonard Cohen

 

From Porridge? Lozenge? Syringe? by Adrian Deevoy/ Q Magazine: 1991. Found at LeonardCohenFiles.

“My standard of living deteriorated considerably as I made money” Leonard Cohen


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My standard of living deteriorated considerably as I made money, and that was a kind of trap for me because I noticed that before I had any money I was really much better.quotedown2

Leonard Cohen

 

From The Strange, Sad and Beautiful World of Leonard Cohen By Andrew Furnival. Petticoat: December 30, 1972. Originally posted Oct 26, 2013 at DrHGuy.com, a predecessor of Cohencentric

“This was one of the most generous, attentive, nourishing characters I’d ever met.” Adam Cohen On Acknowledging The Influence Of His Father, Leonard Cohen

You grew up with your father’s voice. You grew up with him writing. You grew up with him reading to you. You watched him backstage as he performed. Was it hard for you to find, like, your own voice, to recognize that his voice was a part of you, that it influenced you in the way that people have a right to be influenced by the people who they take in as they’re going through their formative years? Was it hard to acknowledge that influence in the same – and at the same time figure out who you were as a singer and songwriter?

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You know, I’m triggered to answer that in two ways. I mean, the first is to look at it statistically, you know? Statistically, I think in humanity, you know, Napoleon’s son, Frank Sinatra’s son – you know, it’s very, very difficult to capture people’s imaginations in the same way as one would if your name was Joe Smith – you know? – and you had no provenance. Statistically, the heirs of people who do great things can often not do great things as remarkably and in such a beloved way. There’s that. And then there’s the idea that – you know, that I grew up perhaps under this tyrannical shadow, this oppressive, tyrannical shadow. And it’s quite the contrary. I mean, this was one of the most generous, attentive, nourishing characters I’d ever met. He encouraged me up to the upper-sunniest branches of the family tree. And as I say, you know, I really do believe my story is far more of a success story, not just the instruction I got from a master, not just having his attention and encouragement and the example of his own life and work. But the great privilege of being invited – again, you know, having started in the mailroom of the family business, the great privilege that it was to end up at the penthouse, you know, making boardroom decisions with my boss.quotedown2

Adam Cohen

 

New Collection Showcases Leonard Cohen’s ‘Obsession With Imperfection’