Leonard Cohen Traces Process From “Waiting For The Miracle” To “I’ve Cried Enough for You” To “I’m Your Man”

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I’m Your Man, that started off as a song about ‘waiting for the miracle.’ It had some funny lines in it like waiting for the miracle, there’s nothing left to do / I haven’t been this happy since the end of World War II. But I couldn’t sing it. I wasn’t waiting for the miracle, or maybe I was and I didn’t like the victimized position. Then it became a song called I’ve Cried Enough for You, where I was talking to myself, you know, I’ve never seen the sky so blue the grass so green the day so new / I can’t believe it but it must be true / I’ve cried enough for you. And that didn’t work. ‘Cause what I was really trying to say was, ‘I’ll do anything for you.’ But it took two or three more writings and recordings of the song to get to I’m Your Man, which is just a perfect little song. It was hard to get to those truths.quotedown2

Leonard Cohen

 

Leonard Cohen’s Nervous Breakthrough by Mark Rowland, Musician, July 1988

“I was drinking about three bottles of wine by the end of the tour… before every concert. I only drank professionally, I never drank after the concert.” Leonard Cohen On Château Latour & His 1993 Tour


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One of the reasons was that I was so wiped out physically by the end of my last tour because I was drinking heavily. I was drinking about three bottles of wine by the end of the tour… Before every concert. I only drank professionally, I never drank after the concert. I would never drink after intermission. It was a long tour. It must have been 60 to 70 concerts. [Interviewer: Why did you need to drink?] I was very nervous. And I liked drinking. And I found this wine, it was Château Latour. Now very expensive. It was even expensive then. It’s curious with wine. The wine experts talk about the flavour and the bouquet and whether it has legs and the tannins and the fruit and the symphonies of tastes. But nobody talks about the high. Bordeaux is a wine that vintners have worked on for about 1,000 years. Each wine has a very specific high, which is never mentioned. Château Latour, I don’t know how I stumbled on it, but it went with the music, and it went with the concert. I tried to drink it after the tour was over, and I could hardly get a glass down. It had no resonance whatsoever. It needed the adrenaline of the concert and the music and the atmosphere, the kind of desperate atmosphere of touring—desperate because I was drinking so much! I had a good time with it for a while, but it did wreck my health, and I put on about 25 pounds.quotedown2

Leonard Cohen

 

Cohen wore earplugs to a Dylan show? by Brian D. Johnson (Maclean’s: June 12, 2008)

Video Of Note: The “That’s Right” Version Of I’m Your Man From The 2013 Leonard Cohen Oslo Concert

The video automatically starts with the final chorus, which ends with Leonard affirming the audience’s completion of his lyrics.

Leonard Cohen – I’m Your Man
Oslo: August 20, 2013
Video by TheMusikkdude

Originally posted Aug 21, 2013 at DrHGuy.com, a predecessor of Cohencentric

Searching For Leonard Cohen’s Funniest Song Lyrics

Literature Survey

The methodology of choice employed by folks to prove they really know Leonard Cohen is pointing out that Mr Cohen – aka the High Priest Of Pathos, aka the Poet Laureate Of Pessimism – is actually a pretty funny guy. Given that, it’s remarkable that I can find only two full-blown attempts in the literature to list the “Funniest Leonard Cohen Songs.”

1. In its May 19, 2006 issue, Stylus Magazine published “Top Ten Funniest Leonard Cohen Songs” by Mallory O’Donnell. The piece is no longer online  (Stylus closed as a business on 31 October 2007), but I can characterize the article with two examples:

  • Included in the list of hilarious ditties was the laugh-a-line Who By Fire.
  • The description of another entry, Leaving Greensleeves, focuses on “the way he sings much of the song—especially the word “greensleeeeeeeves”—as though he were taking the world’s most painful crap through an iron grate. I mean, Lord, you can almost hear the chafing.”

Are you slapping your knees and guffawing uproariously?

I didn’t think so.

2. A Listicle of Leonard Cohen’s Funniest Songs, published Feb 13, 2018 at One Week // One Band, is available online. I’ve excerpted one of the five entries below:

 5) “Tower of Song”

It’s a shitpost, is what it is. Full on Blingee and MS Paint. *Casio preset* “I was born like this, I had no choice, I was born with the gift of a golden voice.” *Keyboard solo played on one index finger* “Do you want to hear The Answer? Are you, truly, hungry for The Answer?”

Doo dum dum dum, de doo dum dum. 

“Tower of Song” is also what Leonard Cohen recited at his induction to the Rock ‘n’ Roll Hall of Fame. One career summary, two ways.

I find it difficult to ascertain what is meant by “funniest” because the definition seems inconsistent, but that may be my idiosyncratic, used-to-be-an-English-ajor  interpretation, and your mileage may vary. The full discussion of this and the other songs on the list (One of Us Cannot Be Wrong, Tower of Song, Jazz Police, I’m Your Man, and Memories) are “funniest songs”  is available at the link.

There are also lots of references to humorous Leonard Cohen lines in articles, on social media, and in fan forums, but none of these rise to the level of a ranking.

Searching For Leonard Cohen’s Funniest Song Lyrics

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“Racing With The Moon” Is On Leonard Cohen’s Jukebox

Leonard Cohen’s Jukebox

Biggest Influence on My Music – The jukebox. I lived beside jukeboxes all through the fifties. … I never knew who was singing. I never followed things that way. I still don’t. I wasn’t a student of music; I was a student of the restaurant I was in — and the waitresses. The music was a part of it. I knew what number the song was.

– Leonard Cohen (Yakety Yak by Scott Cohen, 1994)

Leonard Cohen’s Jukebox: Over the years, Leonard Cohen has mentioned a number of specific songs he favors. Leonard Cohen’s Jukebox is a Cohencentric feature that began collecting these tunes for the edification and entertainment of viewers on April 4, 2009. All posts in the Leonard Cohen’s Jukebox series can be found at the Leonard Cohen’s Jukebox Page.

I think if I had one of those good voices, I would have done it completely differently. I probably would have sung the songs I really like rather than be a writer. When I was a kid I always had this fantasy of singing with a band. We’d have get-togethers and I’d sing ‘Racing with the Moon,’ stuff like that. I just don’t think one would have bothered to write if one could have really lifted one’s voice in song.1

Leonard Cohen

While Leonard didn’t mention a specific artist, Racing With the Moon was the signature tune of Vaughn Monroe, who sold over one million copies by 1952,

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  1. Leonard Cohen’s Nervous Breakthrough By Mark Rowland, Musician, July 1988. []