Polaris 2017: 5 things you didn’t know about Leonard Cohen’s You Want it Darker by Holly Gordon (CBC Music: August 30, 2017) promotes Leonard’s final album. one of 10 on this year’s Polaris Music Prize short list, with yet another “X Things You Didn’t Know About _____________” article (for example, see 10 Things American Blues Scene Thinks You Didn’t Know About Leonard Cohen and 5 Things AXS Thinks You Didn’t Know About Leonard Cohen). As is true with its congeners, the “things” proffered in this CBC piece are well known by fans likely to be reading Cohencentric, but Polaris 2017: 5 things you didn’t know about Leonard Cohen’s You Want it Darker does provide interesting details. The first point is excerpted below:
1. The songs were written over many years
Cohen was notorious for obsessing over the tiniest details of each song, and You Want it Darker was no exception. Most were written over a few years, but some, including “Treaty” — which features the lyric “They’re dancing in the street, it’s jubilee/ we sold ourselves for love but now we’re free” — dates back a decade. According to Rolling Stone, Cohen dictated songs into his phone, or jotted them down on a notepad he always kept in his jacket pocket.
“It comes, kind of, by dribbles and drops,” Cohen said at an L.A. press conference, which was his final public interview. “Some people are graced with a flow. Some people are graced with something less than a flow. I’m one of those.”
From Leonard Cohen’s new medium by Fiona Morrow (The Globe and Mail: December 2, 2008). Photo from Adam Cohen Facebook Page.
3. There’s nothing you can do behind your desk that can’t be more effectively accomplished with a beautiful, long-haired, chain-smoking woman lying naked next to you in bed.
That’s one of Leonard Cohen’s Seven Immutable Laws of Business by Ken Krimstein (McSweeney’s: October 21, 2005). The entire list is worth reading at the link.
Note: Originally posted Jan 16, 2007 at 1HeckOfAGuy.com, a predecessor of Cohencentric
Note: This material was originally posted Oct 7, 2012 at 1HeckOfAGuy.com, a predecessor of Cohencentric, just after Leonard’s Oct 5, 2012 live performance of “The Guests,” his first in 27 years.
Concert Performances Of “The Guests”
Leonard Cohen’s performance of “The Guests” at the Oct 5, 2012 Madrid concert was the first time he had sung that song in concert since the February 2, 1985 Wiesbaden show. Previously, “The Guests” had been a setlist fixture throughout his 1979 and 1980 tours; it was also played at the Jan 31, 1985 Mannheim concert.1
“The Guests” On Albums
- Source: Is This What You Wanted by Jim Devlin [↩]
Reviews: April 13, 2013 Leonard Cohen Halifax Show
“The Leonard Cohen concert … transformed [Halifax Metro Centre] at turns into a church and bordello, a monastery & seedy nightclub at Closing Time.”