Hear Leonard Cohen Read “My Poor Top Ten” From Beautiful Losers – 1966

Leonard Cohen’s reading took place at The 92nd Street YM-YWHA (The Young Men’s-Young Women’s Hebrew Association) Hotel, New York City, New York on February 14, 1966. The recording below begins at the first of the excerpt. There are some minor variations between Leonard’s reading and the text of his novel.

What bravado impelled me to come here without my radio? Three months without my radio, humming the obsolete Top Ten, my Top Ten removed so abruptly from history, cut off from the dynamic changes of jukebox stock market, my poor Top Ten that no thirteen-year-olds energize by slippery necking on the carpet beside the hi-fi, my over-serious Top Ten goose-stepping through my head like the generals of a junta who do not know the coup d’etat has been staged the very night of the formal ball, my dear old Top Ten like a battalion of gold-sleeved tramway conductors patiently steering for seniority and retirement while the subway has been decreed in a board room and all the streetcars are in museums, my awkward Top Ten of electric echoes and longing puberty voices crying down my heart like a squad of bare-thighed cheer-leaderettes turning cartwheels before the empty benches, their delicate bra-straps bunching the skin ever so sweetly, their shiny fluorescent underwear flashing out of little upside-down pleated skirts as they pivot on their friendship fingers, their school-spirit satin-clad gym-trained firm little rah rah bums describing unutterably lovely and brief rainbow-shaped streaks of mauve and orange, the round metal mouthpieces of their megaphones warm with Alma Maters and smelling of white lipstick, and for whom these moist Technicolor acrobatics? for whom these inflammatory arcs of unskirted exhibition panties gleaming through the cheers like so many expertly peeled fresh figs, yes, a million seedy secrets in each sealed purse, wheeling down the damp sidelines into the stumpy mouth of time? for whom do you sail, little bums of the Top Ten? The Leader of the Pack lies mangled under his Honda in a wreck of job prospects, the ghostly Negro fullback floats down the wintry grid-iron into Law School prizes, and the lucky football you autographed takes pictures of the moon. Oh, my poor Top Ten, longing to perish in popularity, I have forgotten my radio, so you languish with the other zombies in my memory, you whose only honor is hara-kiri with the blunt edge of returned identification bracelets, my weary Top Ten hoping to be forgotten like escaped balloons and kites, like theater stubs, like dry ball pens, like old batteries, like coiled sardine keys, like bent aluminum partitioned eaten tv dinner plates–I hoard you like the stuff of my chronic disease, I sentence you to National Anthem hard labor, I deny you martyrdom in tomorrow’s Hit Parade, I turn you into boomerangs, my little Kamikazes, you long to be the Lost Tribes but I burn arm numbers, I pour miracle drugs in the Death House, from bridges I hang suicide nets. Saints and friends, help me out of History and Constipation. Make the birds sing slower, make me listen faster. Remove yourself from this treehouse, Pain, you tree-climbing frog, large as industry.”

DrHGuy Note: The line, “The Leader of the Pack lies mangled under his Honda in a wreck of job prospects” from this excerpt was brought to mind by my recent post, I’ll Never Forget Him – The Leader Of The Pack.

Hear Leonard Cohen Recite Poems & Talk About Life At Mt Baldy Zen Center, Writing Lyrics, His Kids… – 1998 Radio Interview

Chris Douridas interviewed Leonard Cohen on KCRW’s Morning Becomes Eclectic – March 3, 1998. Highlights include

  • “I’m a bad monk” – Life at Mt Baldy Zen Center, including cooking for Roshi
  • “No existential leap” – Leonard’s recitation of A Thousand Kisses Deep, including a line written that day
  • “The old are kind” – Leonard’s recitation of a quatrain
  • Discussion of Leonard’s participation in the Montreal poets group
  • The public’s belated discovery of Dance Me To The End Of Love
  • Leonard’s painstaking writing style
  • The influence of Mediterranean music
  • The work of his children, Adam & Lorca

Three Leonard Cohen Vinyl Reissues: Various Positions, Live In London, Greatest Hits

Today popmarket’s Daily Deal brings you 3 reissues from the incomparable Leonard Cohen. First up is Greatest Hits, originally released in 1975, then his seventh studio album, Various Positions, originally released in 1984 and finally his 2008 live 3 LP Live In London. Greatest Hits and Various Positions are 150g vinyl and Live In London is 180g, all 3 come with a download insert card. You don’t want to miss out on these reissues. Order today and get free shipping.

From Popmarket

DrHGuy Note: Typically, I post Leonard Cohen merchandise only as an exhibit for viewing by those interested in the Canadian singer-songwriter. Occasionally, I post items that I think readers might be interested in purchasing. In these cases, I include more details and a direct link to the sale site. I have, however, no affiliation with the seller or sales site, do not receive a commission or fee of any sort, and cannot vouch for the accuracy or validity of the description (which is routinely provided by the seller) or the true value of the item. Inclusion in a post is not equivalent to an endorsement or guarantee or, indeed, anything more significant than “How about that.” Caveat emptor, King’s X, no backsies …

Thanks to Harold Lepidus, who alerted me to this offer.

“You don’t really think of his music as particularly funky, but hey, it was ‘76 and disco was in the air” Leonard Cohen’s 1976 Montreux Jazz Festival Show

Aquarium Drunkard Features Leonard Cohen’s 1976 Montreux Jazz Festival Show

There’s no shortage of Leonard Cohen live albums from over the years, but there’s never been an official release from the man’s 1976 summer tour of Europe. This masterful two-hour Montreux (June 25, 1976) set would do the trick nicely – backed by a versatile band, Cohen leans into his hits with a swagger worthy of Sinatra and offers up a handful of less-traveled tracks. You don’t really think of his music as particularly funky, but hey, it was ‘76 and disco was in the air; “Lover Lover Lover” and “There Is A War” are darkly comic boogies, with Cohen savoring every syllable. And then there’s “Do I Have To Dance All Night,” his unabashed plunge into disco, which he was playing that summer, but only released as a limited single in Europe. It’s fantastically sleazy:

Excerpt from Leonard Cohen :: Montreux Jazz Festival, June 25, 1976 by T Wilcox (Aquarium Drunkard: Aug 21, 2017). The entire piece, including a download of a recording of the concert, is available at the link.

Note: Do I Have To Dance All Night has been the subject of several posts on this site; these entries are collected at 

1976 Leonard Cohen Olympia, Paris Show: Watch Video Gems: Is This What You Wanted & Do I Have To Dance All Night

6-Jun-1976-5The June 5, 1976 Leonard Cohen concert at the Olympia Theatre in Paris is the source for a number of delights, including the rare photo atop this post taken by Dominique BOILE (also see more of Dominique’s shots of this show).

Do I Have To Dance All Night Release

do i have to dance all night cover art french900Although Cohen sang Do I Have To Dance All Night frequently in 1976 and 1980 concerts, it was released only as a seven inch single of the  June 5, 1976 performance. (For more information, see Do I Have To Dance All Night – The Best Leonard Cohen Song You’ve (Probably) Never Heard). There was, however, no video – until I created one.

Is This What You Wanted Video

Because I could not find a high quality video of Is This What You Wanted online, I created one, again using the recording from the 1976 Olympia concert. (For more information, see Video: Is This What You Wanted by Leonard Cohen – Paris 1976)

Leonard Cohen: Is This What You Wanted


Hear Best of Leonard Cohen World Tour 2008-2010 (Unofficial Selection)

Update: This video is no longer online

“A small bunch of songs, all of exceptional intensity, sound and emotion”

Note: Being included with the great Banalny in the dedication of this outstanding bootleg collection is, as we say in medicine, “a non-trivial event” for me.

From the original collection (and repeated in the YouTube description):

At the end of Leonard Cohen’s tour and the official album, “Songs From The Road” was released it was clear to us that we’d just gone through 3 years of absolutely historical concerts at a high level of dedication, virtuosity and feelings. It is difficult in three years not having one bad night. The exception was the sad event of September 2009 in Valencia. All the people who were there had his heart in a fist. That day,despite being ill, Leonard went out as usual to give everything.Like all times in three years as evidenced by this small example,with this record. Of course we could have filled three CDs of good songs, memorable performances (because in three years Cohen has not taken a bad gig), but we wanted to condense only a small bunch of songs, all of exceptional intensity, sound and emotion.Despite containing only twelve tracks, there are sound examples of virtuosity, value and art improvising that Leonard Cohen has expended between 2008 and 2011. Here is the only “Chelsea Hotel” acoustic tour, “The Stranger Song” published in a sound check, the new and unique “Born in chains”, or “So Long-Marianne” with unusual lines. We do not expect to compete with the official selection of Ed Sanders and the magnificent official record, of course. We only hope that Leonard will return in 2012, and meanwhile I humbly invite you to share this album. We want to dedicate it to the wonderful Allan Showalter, and the great Banalny for joining us and making us pass so great moments. ”

1. Born in chains Wiesbaden-3.9.2010
2. Who by fire Las Vegas-10.12.2010
3. That don´t make it junk Dublin-15.6.2008
4. So long Marianne Cap Roig-15.8.2009
5. Avalanche Montreal-26.6.2008
6. Chelsea hotel Rotterdam-3.11.2008
7. A singer must die Melbourne-12.11.2010
8. The Darkness Hannover-27.9.2010
9. The night comes on Auckland-29.10.2010
10. Feels so good Grenoble-17.9.2010
11. Lullaby Dublin-22.7.2009

Bonus track
12. The stranger song-Soundcheck Gante-21.8.2010