“Leonard will set a song aside until it grows deep roots & huge wings. Ten years maybe. To sing these songs is a great privilege.” Jennifer Warnes on Leonard Cohen’s Songwriting

Leonard lyrically opens the fearful boundaries of my heart, so that the big natural thoughts can blow around within me like leaves on an autumn day, so that the beautiful nameless thing enters me. I wonder sometimes if he has learned how to harness GRACE. No I guess not. But he does position himself with open arms. Whatever spiritual positioning might be required to write like Leonard does, it is probably better left unsaid. Most songwriters allow their songs be born prematurely, before the songs are fully ripe and fleshed out; before they are accurately complex, like the human heart is complex. They let the old cat out of the bag too soon. Impatience causes this slippage. Leonard will set a song aside until it grows deep roots and huge wings. Ten years maybe. To sing these songs is a great privilege.quotedown2

Jennifer Warnes

Let The Grief Inform Your Throat by Jennifer Warnes (JenniferWarnes,com: October 25, 2004)

Video: From Jennifer Warnes Sings "Way Down Deep" To Leonard Cohen Recites "A Thousand Kisses Deep"


The Alpha And Omega (So Far) Of “A Thousand Kisses Deep”

As is true of many Leonard Cohen songs, “A Thousand Kisses Deep” has a complex history. Tom Sakic and I thought it would be interesting to present the earliest performed precursor of this song  juxtaposed with the most recent version.

The result is a video with Jennifer Warnes singing the gorgeous but routinely overlooked “Way Down Deep” (by Jennifer Warnes, Leonard Cohen, and Amy Latelevision) from her 1992 album, The Hunter, followed by Leonard Cohen’s July 20, 2009 recitation of “A Thousand Kisses Deep” in Dublin.

Between these end points, “A Thousand Kisses Deep” – both the song and the poem, both in print and as performed – has undergone changes in specific lyrics and the addition, subtraction, and rearrangement of stanzas.

The closest we have to a definitive manuscript of all verses is dated September 21, 1998 and is available online at Blackening Pages: A Thousand Kisses Deep.1 From that point on, the versions are combinations and permutations of these verses with occasional changes in lines and phrases.

The Video: Jennifer Warnes’ “Way Down Deep” To Leonard Cohen’s “A Thousand Kisses Deep”

Despite being romantics at heart, neither Tom nor I planned this as a Valentine’s Day commemoration – but, just as sure as there ain’t no cure for love, it is a suitable treat for those with a Cohenesque perspective.

Video from DrHGuy

Bonus: Leonard Cohen’s 1996 “A Thousand Kisses Deep”

This video clip is from Armelle Brusq’s movie, “Leonard Cohen Spring 96,”2 shot at the Mt Baldy Zen Center.

Leonard Cohen – A Thousand Kisses Deep
1996 Demo
Video from a1000kissesdeep (aka Tom Sakic)

Credit Due Department: The photo atop this post is a gift from Jennifer Warnes.

Note: Originally posted Feb 12, 2010 at 1HeckOfAGuy.com, a predecessor of Cohencentric

  1. Leonard Cohen’s 1996 demo from Armelle Brusq’s movie at Mt Baldy referenced at at Blackening Pages: A Thousand Kisses Deep is also available on YouTube and can be viewed below in the embedded player near the end of this post. []
  2. See Superb Video Of Leonard Cohen At Mt Baldy Zen Center – Armelle Brusq’s 1996 Film Now Online []

Leonard Cohen On The Difficulty Of Translating Edith Piaf’s Songs

Interviewer: I’ve heard that you have worked on a translation, an adaptation to English, of Edith Piaf’s songs?

It was an idea I proposed for Jennifer Warnes, not for me. I would like to translate certain Piaf songs for Jennifer, but it is very difficult. I tried a few lines. It’s difficult. A phrase such as ‘C’est l’amour qui fait qu’on s’aime”, now, what does this French sentence mean? That love is responsible? That love is a separate force? (a force apart) That love exists? C’est l’amour qui fait qu’on s’aime. It (the meaning) is not exact. You see the problem!quotedown2

Leonard Cohen


From Rencontre avec Leonard Cohen, video interview with Leonard Cohen by Jean-Louis Sbille. Rock On TV! (Belgian TV): March 16, 1988. Translated from French to English by Coco Éclair.

Note: Originally posted March 31, 2014 at DrHGuy.com, a predecessor of Cohencentric

“I sang at the City on New Year’s Eve, 1985-86… That night Leonard [Cohen] showed up and we just got smashed. I took it as an omen” Jennifer Warnes

From Jenny Takes A Ride by Bud Scoppa (Music Connection, April 6-19, 1987). The photo was a gift from Jennifer Warnes. Originally posted December 31, 2014 at DrHGuy.com, a predecessor of Cohencentric

Leonard Cohen’s 5 Best Collaborations According To The Houston Post


Cohen Collaborators: Jennifer Warnes, Sharon Robinson, Phil Spector, Webb Sisters, Bob Dylan & Alan Ginsberg

Read the full story at Leonard Cohen’s Five Best Collaborations by Corey Deiterman (Houston Press: Sep. 17 2014). Be aware that The Houston Post subscribes to a broad definition of “collaboration.” .

Note: Originally posted September 17, 2014 at DrHGuy.com, a predecessor of Cohencentric

Jennifer Warnes On Leonard Cohen’s Lyrics

Leonard will say, ‘Look at the shreds of my heart; you pulled it out with a pair of prongs.’ … He’s acknowledging that the whole act of living contains immense amounts of sorrow and hopelessness and despair, and also passion and high hopes and deep and eternal love. His complex lyrics speak of complex mixtures of God and sex and spirituality and myth and forgiveness and lostness.quotedown2

Jennifer Warnes

Leonard Cohen, Pain Free by Sheldon Teitelbaum. Los Angeles Times: April 5, 1992.

“[Leonard Cohen] carried our bags & lit my cigarettes. He saw to it that everyone in the band was fed.” Jennifer Warnes On The 1972 Tour


Leonard Cohen passing out sandwiches to crew & friends backstage during the 1972 Tour (screenshot from Bird On A Wire documentary)

The Jennifer Warnes quotation is from Leonard Cohen Tour A Smash by Mike Jahn (The Palm Beach Post: May 14, 1972)

Note: Originally posted Oct 9, 2014 at DrHGuy.com, a predecessor of Cohencentric

“If [Leonard Cohen] has one great love, it is his search for God.” Jennifer Warnes

He has investigated a lot of deities and read all the sacred books, trying to understand in some way who wrote them as much as the subject matter itself. It’s for his own healing that he reaches for those places. If he has one great love, it is his search for God.quotedown2

Jennifer Warnes


On the Road, for Reasons Practical and Spiritual by Larry Rohter (New York Times: February 24, 2009). I received the photo as a gift from Jennifer Warnes.