Leonard Cohen Lauds Bob Dylan’s “lines that have the feel of unhewn stone”

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At a certain point, when the Jews were first commanded to raise an altar, the commandment was on unhewn stone. Apparently, the god that wanted that particular altar didn’t want slick, didn’t want smooth. He wanted an unhewn stone placed on another unhewn stone. Maybe you then go looking for stones that fit … Now I think that Dylan has lines, hundreds of great lines, that have the feel of unhewn stone. But they really fit in there. But they’re not smoothed out. It’s inspired but not polished. That is not to say he doesn’t have lyrics of great polish. That kind of genius can manifest all the forms and all the styles.quotedown2

Leonard Cohen

From Leonard Cohen, Paul Simon and more on Bob Dylan by Paul Zello (American Songwriter: Feb 14, 2012). Originally posted December 30, 2014at DrHGuy.com, a predecessor of Cohencentric

The Cohen-Dylan Interface

All posts about Leonard Cohen’s & Bob Dylan’s opinions of each other, their meetings, and comparisons by others can be found at

Bob Dylan’s “Brownsville Girl” Is On Leonard Cohen’s Jukebox

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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 Original Leonard Cohen’s Jukebox Page.

Another Bob Dylan Hit On Leonard Cohen’s Playlist

knockout_lDylan’s “Brownsville Girl,” #3 on Leonard Cohen’s Top Ten Songs of 1988,1 joins “I And I” and “Tangled Up In Blue” on the list of songs specifically praised by Cohen.

Released in 1986 as a track on Bob Dylan’s “Knocked Out Loaded” album, “Brownsville Girl” (originally named “New Danville Girl”) was co-written by playwright Sam Shepard. Dylan performed it only once in concert, on August 6, 1986.2

Bob Dylan – Brownsville Girl

Bob Dylan Songs On Leonard Cohen’s Jukebox

Leonard Cohen-Bob Dylan Interface

All posts about Leonard Cohen’s & Bob Dylan’s opinions of each other, their meetings, and comparisons by others can be found at

Note: Originally posted June 27, 2010 at 1HeckOfAGuy.com, a predecessor of Cohencentric
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  1. From Leonard Cohen – In Eigenen Worten (in his own words) by Jim Devlin, a listing found by Florian at LeonardCohenForum []
  2. Wikipedia []

Leonard Cohen Upon Being Asked If He Followed “Bob Dylan’s Credo, ‘Just because you like my music doesn’t mean I owe you anything'”

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I feel the exact opposite. These people created my life. It’s a modest one, but I’ve been able to live and send my kids to school and lead this charmed and lucky existence. At least, that’s the cover story – I’m not talking about my own inner turmoil. I was never a punk, you know? It isn’t my style to be ungrateful to people who buy my records and come to my concerts.quotedown2

Leonard Cohen

 

Leonard Cohen, responding to the interviewer’s query, “So you don’t follow Bob Dylan’s credo,’Just because you like my music doesn’t mean I owe you anything’?” in Leonard Cohen by Neva Chonin (Rolling Stone: December 11, 1997)

Note: Originally posted Dec 28, 2014 at DrHGuy.com, a predecessor of Cohencentric

Bob Dylan’s “Tangled Up In Blue” Is On Leonard Cohen’s Jukebox

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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 Original Leonard Cohen’s Jukebox Page.

Bob Dylan Returns To Leonard Cohen’s Jukebox

 

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Already represented by “I And I” on the list of songs praised by Leonard Cohen,1 Bob Dylan scores again with “Tangled Up In Blue,” which was released in 1975 on Dylan’s Blood On The Tracks album,  “Tangled Up In Blue” was ranked #2 in the list of Leonard Cohen’s favorite songs in 1985.2

Interestingly, as a side note, Cohen’s one-time paramour, Joni Mitchell,3 is also associated with this song. According to Ron Rosenbaum, writing in The Best Joni Mitchell Song Ever (Slate, Dec. 14, 2007),

Bob Dylan once told me that he’d written “Tangled up in Blue,” the opening song of the much-celebrated Blood on the Tracks, after spending a weekend immersed in JM’s Blue (although I think he may have been talking about the whole album, not just the song).

Bob Dylan – Tangled Up In Blue
From the film, Renaldo and Clara

Bob Dylan Songs On Leonard Cohen’s Jukebox

Leonard Cohen-Bob Dylan Interface

All posts about Leonard Cohen’s & Bob Dylan’s opinions of each other, their meetings, and comparisons by others can be found at

Note: Originally posted Apr 27, 2010 at 1HeckOfAGuy.com, a predecessor of Cohencentric

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  1. See Bob Dylan’s “I And I” Is On Leonard Cohen’s Jukebox []
  2. From Leonard Cohen – In Eigenen Worten (in his own words) by Jim Devlin, a listing found by Florian at LeonardCohenForum []
  3. See Leonard Cohen and Joni Mitchell: Just One Of Those Things []

Pop Music Cartography: Maps For The Songs Of Leonard Cohen, Bob Dylan, & Tom Waits

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Tom Waits map

Those readers with a musico-geographic predilection may be interested to find that, in addition to Cohencentric’s Leonard Cohen Lyrical Map, which marks all locations referenced in Leonard Cohen songs,1 and the analogous, previously mentioned Bob Dylan’s World, there is also a Tom Waits Map, which identifies the places in Waits’ songs.

There are, one suspects, still more maps of song locations for still other performers; if such sites do show up, I’ll pass along those that might be of interest to Leonard Cohen fans.

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Leonard Cohen Lyrical Map

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Bob Dylan’s World

Credit Due Department: Thanks to Penelope Toni, who alerted me to the Tom Waits Map.

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  1. The next phase of the Leonard Cohen Lyrical Map, the mapping of locations in Cohen’s poetry and prose is still in the works. []

Leonard Cohen & Bob Dylan Compare Songwriting Velocity

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That [Hallelujah] was a song that took me a long time to write. Dylan and I were having coffee the day after his concert in Paris a few years ago and he was doing that song in concert. And he asked me how long it took to write it. And I told him a couple of years. I lied actually. It was more than a couple of years.

Then I praised a song of his, “I and I,” and asked him how long it had taken and he said, “Fifteen minutes.” [Laughter]quotedown2

Leonard Cohen

Leonard Cohen From Songwriters On Songwriting by Paul Zollo Los Angeles 1992

The Cohen-Dylan Interface

All posts about Leonard Cohen’s & Bob Dylan’s opinions of each other, their meetings, and comparisons by others can be found at

Note: Originally posted at DrHGuy.com, a predecessor of Cohencentric