“I had suggested that Harry Belafonte… stop singing calypso and start singing about himself.” Leonard Cohen

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Harry Belafonte’s wife, who had been very suspicious about my presence because I had suggested that Harry Belafonte change his show and stop singing calypso and start singing about himself… He’s a very great singer. We were drinking late into the night at the Four Seasons Hotel and I got out this poem [Slowly I Married Her] and I thought he could set it to music. And I don’t know whether it was the vodka or not, but she wept a few tears that sealed the night very nicely.quotedown2

Leonard Cohen

 

From Authors with Patrick Watson (CBC: 1980)

Note: While Mr Belafonte passed on putting Slowly I Married Her to music, Lewis Furey took up the challenge.

Authors with Patrick Watson (CBC: 1980)

Leonard Cohen On The “Rigours Of Monastic Life” – And How To Avoid Them

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In one of these dreary Zen meditation halls, it is a Zen practice to invite you to sit motionless for long hours, with an officer patrolling the meditation hall to strike you with a stick several times on each shoulder if you nod off. If you sit there long enough, you run through all the alternative ways the events in your life could have turned out. After a while, the activity of thinking, that interior chatter, begins to subside from time to time. And what rushes in, in the same way that light rushes into a room when you switch on the light, is another kind of mood that overtakes you. Also, I read somewhere that as you get older the brain cells associated with anxiety begin to die. So, I might have saved myself the rigours of monastic life if I had just waited until it happened.quotedown2

Leonard Cohen

 

From I Never Discuss My Mistresses Or My Tailors by Nick Paton Walsh. The Observer, October 14, 2001.

“I found I had some gift for [music] and, with these little songs I wrote, I could impress myself and others – including girls. That’s the hormonal rage that cannot be ignored.” Leonard Cohen

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I guess [my attraction to music] comes from not being able to do anything else very well. I found I had some gift for it and, with these little songs I wrote, I could impress myself and others – including girls. That’s the hormonal rage that cannot be ignoredquotedown2

Leonard Cohen

 

From I Never Discuss My Mistresses Or My Tailors by Nick Paton Walsh. The Observer, October 14, 2001.

“I remember sitting in the corner of my kitchen, which has a window overlooking the street. I saw the sunlight that shines on the chrome fenders of the cars, and thought, ‘Gee, that’s pretty.’ I said to myself, ‘Wow, this must be like everybody feels.'” Leonard Cohen On The End Of His Depression

Embed from Getty Images

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There was just a certain sweetness to daily life that began asserting itself. I remember sitting in the corner of my kitchen, which has a window overlooking the street. I saw the sunlight that shines on the chrome fenders of the cars, and thought, ‘Gee, that’s pretty.’ I said to myself, ‘Wow, this must be like everybody feels.’ Life became not easier but simpler. The backdrop of self-analysis I had lived with disappeared. It’s like that joke: ‘When you’re hitting your head against a brick wall, it feels good when it stops.’quotedown2

Leonard Cohen

 

From I Never Discuss My Mistresses Or My Tailors by Nick Paton Walsh. The Observer, October 14, 2001.

A summary of Leonard Cohen’s depression, its treatment, and its disappearance is available at Leonard Cohen’s Depression, Its (Failed) Medical Treatment, & Its Resolution

“I wrote these songs to myself and to women several years ago and it is a curious thing to be trapped in that original effort, because here I wanted to tell one person one thing and now I am in the situation where I must repeat them like some parrot chained to his stand, night after night.” Leonard Cohen (1972)

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It is not just the observance and the documentation and the record of a few museum songs. After all I wrote these songs to myself and to women several years ago and it is a curious thing to be trapped in that original effort, because here I wanted to tell one person one thing and now I am in the situation where I must repeat them like some parrot chained to his stand, night after night.quotedown2

Leonard Cohen

 

From Bird On A Wire documentary (1974). This photo was taken by and posted with permission of Lars Sandblom.