“It’s like anything that you fall in love with is going to give you a certain kind of blindness. I think you are blinded to your own imperfections and limitations.” Leonard Cohen On Discovering Frederico Garcia Lorca’s Poetry

Lorca, how did he help you find your own voice?

Well, I don’t know how he helped me find my own voice. Since he seemed exotic and far away, he allowed me to steal or borrow a lot of his voice. It’s like anything that you fall in love with is going to give you a certain kind of blindness. I think you are blinded to your own imperfections and limitations. It allows you to kind of lurch forward on the path that you want to choose for yourself. I don’t think that’s the real benefit of falling in love with a writer when you’re young. With Lorca, when I stumbled on him, it was something that was terribly familiar, it seemed to be the way that things really were. The evocation of a landscape that you’re really felt at home in, maybe more at home than anything you’ve been able to come up with yourself.quotedown2

Leonard Cohen


From CBC Radio Interview with Leonard Cohen with Cindy Buissaillon: August 26, 1995. Originally posted May 24, 2011 at DrHGuy.com, a predecessor of Cohencentric

“Home Sweet Home. Roshi said you never lose your home. He also said that home is not an object.” Leonard Cohen On The Idea Of Home In His Work

Your music and words resonate with a place I call home, your latest work even more deeply so. Is it possible to share with us in this format some of the recent discoveries you’ve made about “home” and how these discoveries continue to shape your songs and life?

Thank you so much for this observation. Home Sweet Home. Roshi said you never lose your home. He also said that home is not an object. It is not fixed. Any perspective you have on your home is the distance you are from it. Being at home is the activity of not needing to look for a home, and not needing to abandon a home. The mirrors are clear, the shadows are past, the wandering heart is homeless at last. I spent a lot of time at Roshi’s home. Hospitality. Drinking cognac with the old man – his exquisite hospitality in the shack by the river – that is, no hospitality just emptying the bottle into my glass and filling my plate and falling asleep when it was time to go.quotedown2

Leonard Cohen


Online Web Chat October 16, 2001. Photo by Lilian Graziani.

“It is wonderful to have a job that inspires both of us…” Leonard Cohen On The Importance Of Music To His & Anjani’s Relationship

How important is music for your [Leonard’s & Anjani’s] connection?

It is wonderful to have a job that inspires both of us and respects the respective contribution of the other. Anjani always surprises me with her musical ideas. On the quality of the songs she wrote for the album Blue Alert using some of my text fragments I was not prepared in any way. And it is really very pleasant to be surprised by someone you know for a long time after all these years.quotedown2

Leonard Cohen


From Mit Gedächtnisschwund kommt man schon sehr weit by Von Johannes Wächter. Süddeutsche Zeitung Magazin: Issue 17: 2007, an interview with Leonard Cohen & Anjani Thomas about their connection. Quote via Google Translate. Photo by Dominique BOILE. Originally posted April 24, 2014 at DrHGuy.com, a predecessor of Cohencentric

Saying “I Do” To “Do I Have To Dance All Night” – Leonard Cohen Wedding Music

The Do I Have To Dance All Night Fan Club

I have long considered myself a leading contender for the title of “Biggest Fan of Do I Have To Dance All Night,” a wonderful Leonard Cohen song, the allure of which is no doubt enhanced by the fact that it is available commercially only as a seven inch, 45 rpm single, originally recorded at a 1976 concert in Paris and pressed in Holland for sale in Central European countries.1

I was, in fact, convinced that there was a significant gap between my degree of the devotion to “Do I Have To Dance All Night” and that evidenced by other admirers of that song.

Then I heard from Oded.

I’ve excerpted the essence of our email exchange below:

Oded: I just happened to stumble upon your post, The Best Leonard Cohen Song You Have (Probably) Never Heard, when looking for a lyrics of a different song of this great man.

Thanks so much!!  I really love this song!  I even think I’ll surprise my fiancé with this song at our wedding

DrHGuy: Do I Have To Dance All Night is one of my favorites, and I think it would be a great wedding song – if your fiancé is a Cohen fan as well.  Otherwise, lines like “you touch me like I touch myself,” could lead to a certain awkwardness. That said, I’ve successfully integrated Leonard Cohen’s and Anjani’s songs into a wedding playlist with great success.

Oded: I’m thinking about putting that song at around 1-2am when everyone’s tired but still dancing…  If you could send that version along I’d be super-happy!

Selecting Leonard Cohen Songs For Matrimonial Harmony

One of the first Warning Signs Of Leonard Cohen Fan Syndrome I posted follows:

You have been disappointed and perplexed when attending any event – including but not limited to weddings, funerals, b’nei mitzvah, high school proms, jai ala matches, openings of strip malls, kindergarten graduations, meetings of the Daughters Of The American Revolution, presidential inaugurations (regardless of country), royal coronations (regardless of country), coups d’etat (regardless of country), space launches, summer solstices, and Metallica concerts – that did not feature at least one Leonard Cohen song.

Now, Leonard Cohen’s music has graced many nuptial events. Typically, however, the songs from his discography most frequently heard in this context have been “Take This Waltz,” “Dance Me To The End Of Love,” The Marriage March” (from Night Music), “Hallelujah,” and, less often, “I’m Your Man” and  “Tennessee Waltz.”2

Singing “Do I Have To Dance All Night” in this setting is another matter altogether.3

Doing so during the dancing that celebrates the marriage ratchets the potential for provocation up another notch and a successful performance will call for an extraordinarily loving groom and dedicated Leonard Cohen fan in the role of singer.

It will also require a bride who is a very special Bird of Paradise.4

I’m betting on Oded and his betrothed.

I can only hope someone has the presence of mind to record the performance so that we can offer a long awaited cover version of “Do I Have To Dance All Night.” I would have to work on the liner notes, I already have the art prepared (see image atop post).

Leonard Cohen – Do I Have To Dance All Night (With Laura Branigan)
Recorded in Paris: 1976
Video by Allan Showalter


Note: The majority of this material was originally posted Oct 27, 2008 at 1HeckOfAGuy.com, a predecessor of Cohencentric

  1. The story of how I finally obtained a copy of this jewel of a song can the found at Do I Have To Dance All Night: The Best Leonard Cohen Song You Have (Probably) Never Heard []
  2. My dinner music selections for the Very Very Good Girl – SportsBizPro wedding included Cohen’s “Ain’t No Cure For Love” and Anjani’s “I Had to go Crazy to Love You,” but there is a huge jump from choosing a playlist and performing those songs. []
  3. I suppose other Cohen songs might be even more problematic (“Closing Time” comes to mind), but still … []
  4. And it wouldn’t hurt to have some talented bridesmaids as back up singers, but that may be pushing it a tad. []

Cars Of Leonard Cohen: Poets In Cars Getting Lost

is a series of posts about actual automobiles owned by or associated with Leonard Cohen, metaphorical cars he employed in his songs, and his thoughts about cars. All posts in this series are collected at as they go online.

Irving Layton & Leonard Cohen Drive To Toronto

[Irving] Layton frequently brought Cohen along on reading or promotional tours [in the 1950s]. On one of their frequent car trips to Toronto, they became so engrossed in talking about poetry that they didn’t notice they were running out of gas. Fortunately, they were not far from a farmhouse, where they found help. Several years later they were again driving to Toronto and again ran out of gas. Uncannily, it was in front of the same farmhouse. They sheepishly told their story to the woman in the farmhouse who remembered them from years past. She summed up the entire episode with one word: “Poets!”

Excerpted from Various Positions: A Life of Leonard Cohen by Ira B. Nadel

“There’s the Sailors’ Church, that’s a Montreal feeling, a Montreal landscape, and when I got the fact that it was [Suzanne] who brought me down there, I was able to find a spine for the song.” Leonard Cohen


Much of the song [Suzanne] had been written, but the focus was missing until Suzanne brought me to this warehouse where she was living, then a lot of the imagery came together. I found a focus for it because I love that part of the city. There’s the Sailors’ Church, that’s a Montreal feeling, a Montreal landscape, and when I got the fact that it was she who brought me down there, I was able to find a spine for the song. Then the second verse — ‘Jesus was a sailor’ — people feel Montreal is the Jerusalem of the north. People who were brought up there have this sense of a holy city, a city that means a lot to us. So, I was able to find a place for that second verse between those two verses about Suzanne and to give it that religious quality that the song has, which is the quality of Montreal.quotedown2

Leonard Cohen


From The Stranger Music of Leonard Cohen by William Ruhlmann. Goldmine: Feb 19, 1993.

Credit Due Department: Photo of the Notre-Dame-de-Bon-Secours Chapel, known as the Sailors’ Church, by Sally Hunter.