Listen To, Download 1994 BBC Radio 1 Kaleidoscope Interview With Leonard Cohen

Leonard Cohen, Jennifer Warnes, Suzanne Vega Talk About Songwriting & More

The description from BBC Radio follows:

Duration: 28 mins

Songwriter Leonard Cohen reflects on the art of songwriting with the help of collaborator Jennifer Warnes and long time fan Suzanne Vega in this Kaleidoscope special. Cohen tells the stories behind some of his most famous songs and recalls an eventful session with a gun obsessed Phil Spector. Part of Radio 4 on Music, re-releasing the best of Radio 4’s Music Archive.

Listen to this broadcast at the BBC Radio site

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The interview can be played directly from the BBC Radio site (see arrow on screenshot atop this post) but downloading is allowed. Just right click on the following link, choose “save link as,” and download

1994 BBC Radio 1 Interview With Leonard Cohen

Note: Originally posted Jan 31, 2014 at, a predecessor of Cohencentric

“Leonard told me once that the most important person in your life might not be your significant other, or your parent, but a special teacher. There is no doubt in my mind that Leonard came to teach.” Jennifer Warnes On Leonard Cohen “that beautiful Canadian teacher, lover and revolutionary”

You would see the line of women standing at the hotel door, and I didn’t want to join that line. I wanted a piece of Leonard’s heart, which he didn’t give away casually. So I dug in my heels and I tended to the music whenever he wanted me there. That sustained our friendship for nearly 50 years. Leonard told me once that the most important person in your life might not be your significant other, or your parent, but a special teacher. There is no doubt in my mind that Leonard came to teach. He heard his inner voices clearly. One thing he always said was that he writes and writes and then discards the slogans. Isn’t that nice? That’s probably the way to get to your truth: Look for the difficult answers. Peel all the artifice away from yourself and your writing, and what remains is the news you need to bring forward. No matter how long it takes to heal ourselves and our country, Leonard Norman Cohen, that beautiful Canadian teacher, lover and revolutionary, has left us with tools we can really use. If only we could hear the song within him, now.quotedown2

Jennifer Warnes


From Remembering Leonard Cohen: Close Friends, Collaborators & Critics on How He Changed Music Forever by Sasha Frere-Jones (Billboard: November 17, 2016). The photo was a gift from Jennifer Warnes.

Leonard Cohen Explains Why He Changed Ain’t No Cure For Love From A Theological Proposition To A “Love Song About A Guy Who’d Lost A Girl”


With An Assist From Jennifer Warnes

I had this idea that ‘there ain’t no cure for love’ in every sense of the matter. If you do have [love] it’s a kind of wound, and if you don’t have it it’s worse. And this is what Christ is about: Christ had to die because there ain’t no cure for love. You can’t change this world. And Christ, especially, understood this. So I wrote the whole song on those terms. [Interviewer: What terms?] Theological terms. And then I thought, ‘I’m never gonna get behind this, either. But Jenny [Jennifer Warnes] heard part of the song and she liked it. So I started writing a lyric that would have these ideas somewhere way, way back and no one would have to bother about them but me. It’d just be this love song about a guy who’d lost a girl.quotedown2

Leonard Cohen


From Leonard Cohen’s Nervous Breakthrough by Mark Rowland, Musician, July 1988. The photo is a gift from Jennifer Warnes.

Hear Just Breathe – First Release From New Jennifer Warnes’ Album: Another Time, Another Place

Warnes recorded the album in Austin, Texas and Los Angeles with Roscoe Beck, her longtime friend from Leonard Cohen’s band, for which Beck was bassist and musical director. He also co-produced her albums Famous Blue Raincoat and The Hunter. “Singing is what I do,” Warnes says. “My manager said, ‘It would be good for you to make a record,’ so she got this deal for me and I went to Texas and started working with Roscoe.”

Release Date: April 27, 2018

Except from Jennifer Warnes Covers Pearl Jam, Talks NFL ‘Dirty Dancing’ Super Bowl Ad by Gary Graff (Billboard: Mar 1, 2018)

“I always felt I invented Dylan” Hear 1988 Leonard Cohen Ritz Concert + Pete Fornatale Interview

“I’ve studied all the theologies and all the philosophies, but cheerfulness keeps breaking through.”

This recording includes the July 5, 1988 Leonard Cohen concert at the Ritz in New York and, beginning at 1:39:23, an interview by Pete Fornatale broadcast on Mixed Bag on July 31, 1988 (WNEW FM New York).

Mr. Cohen sang songs that ranged across the breadth of his career, from ”Suzanne” to ”Everybody Knows,” to two versions of his recent song, ”First We Take Manhattan,” in which the fashion world and drugs are held up as symbols of the terminal decay of New York. But the turning point of the evening was Mr. Cohen’s spare voice-and-guitar rendition of ”If It Be Your Will,” one of his two or three finest meditations. A prayer for mercy murmured to the void by a world wearing ”rags of light all dressed to kill,” it received a haunting interpretation in Mr. Cohen’s sepulchral bass-baritone growl.1

The interview includes Leonard Cohen discussing the influence of Bob Dylan and the assistance lent by Judy Collins and Jennifer Warnes, his “cheerfulness keeps breaking through” reference (erroneously attributed to Jonson), his multiple revisions that dramatically changed I Can’t Forget, his first public appearance as a singer, his “If I knew where good songs came from, I go there more often” comment, his religious symbolism and the notion of being punished for sin, the difference between a Ladies’ Man and a Romantic, and saying goodbye.

Update: This video has been removed

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  1. Review/Pop; Leonard Cohen Reflects Darkly On the World by Stephen Holden. New York Times: July 9, 1988 []

“Going on a Leonard Cohen tour is whole ‘nother fucking matter” Jennifer Warnes

Going on a Leonard Cohen tour is whole ‘nother fucking matter. It’s like jumping in a tank with [LSD pioneer] John Lilly – there’s a certain amount of your personality that burns off, some of your essence gets kind of pared down.quotedown2

Jennifer Warnes


From Jenny Takes A Ride by Bud Scoppa (Music Connection, April 6-19, 1987). Originally posted Nov 25, 2014 at, a predecessor of Cohencentric

Leonard Cohen on Jennifer Warnes & Her Performance Of His Songs

Her [Jennifer Warnes’] voice is pure California. By that, I don’t mean unmitigated sunshine and bland afternoons. I mean a voice that for all its beautiful qualities has an aspect of the earthquake and the tidal wave. This is an extraordinary voice, and her readings of my songs are extraordinary readings.quotedown2

Leonard Cohen

From Leonard Cohen’s introduction of Jennifer Warnes at her Famous Blue Raincoat LP Showcase, Park-Café, Munich, West Germany; April 15, 1987.