What Leonard Cohen Did For Me – 2004 BBC Documentary

What Leonard Cohen Did For Me – According To The BBC

In commemoration of Leonard Cohen’s 70th birthday and his release of “Dear Heather” in 2004, the BBC aired “What Leonard Cohen Did For Me,” a melange of fragments – interviews with Nick Cave, Ian McCulloch, Rufus Wainwright, Arthur Smith, Kathryn Williams, Paul Morley, and others, a few utterances from Cohen, parts of Cohen’s songs covered by others and sung by Cohen himself, comments from critics, scenes from other documentaries about and interviews with Leonard Cohen, … .

The only discernible unifying force of the piece, other than the theme of “Stuff That Has Something To Do With Leonard Cohen,” is the unmistakably characteristic BBC voice-over lending an undeserved air of authority to the proceedings.

While there may be no diamonds in this mine, one can nonetheless unearth the occasional amethyst. A few such semi-precious gems follow:

  • Leonard Cohen being described as “Barry White for poetry chicks”
  • An artist attesting that Leonard Cohen “makes [him] shiver and tingle”
  • This excerpt from the 1993 TV Interview with Jools Holland:
    JH: And then what got you into poetry?
    LC: Well, I don’t know. I thought that was the way to kind of win women’s hearts.
    JH: Did it work?

    LC: Yes it did.

And there is the occasional insight, such as an all too brief but useful discussion of the importance of Cohen’s well spoken and well formed lyrics that have “a poet’s pace to them.”

So, if you haven’t seen “What Leonard Cohen Did For Me” or if it’s been a few years since viewing it, take a look at the videos. While I advise keeping one’s expectations low, you are likely to find enough worthwhile content to warrant the effort.

What Leonard Cohen Did For Me 1/3
BBC4 Documentary


What Leonard Cohen Did For Me 2/3
BBC4 Documentary


What Leonard Cohen Did For Me 3/3
BBC4 Documentary

Note: Originally posted Mar 31, 2010 at 1HeckOfAGuy.com, a predecessor of Cohencentric

Gorgeous Video: Anjani Performs “Thanks For The Dance” With Leonard Cohen’s Existential View Of Love In 4 Lines

And there’s nothing to do
But to wonder if you
Are as hopeless as me
And as decent

From Thanks For The Dance
by Anjani Thomas (music)
and Leonard Cohen (lyrics)

Anjani – Thanks For The Dance
Acordes con Leonard Cohen
Video from Alonso dz

Note: Originally posted Feb 4, 2011 at 1HeckOfAGuy.com, a predecessor of Cohencentric. Video updated.

Leonard Cohen & The Lip-synching Lennettes Perform Three Songs On Spanish TV – 1988

lennettes1Jo Meul has discovered another iteration of the 1988 promotions Leonard Cohen made with  anonymous stand-in backup singers, lip-synching various of his songs on TV in France, Germany, Belgium, and other European countries.1 This set of three songs was broadcast on Sábado Noche by TVE2 on Feb 27, 1988.

  • First We Take Manhattan
  • Take This Waltz
  • There Ain’t No Cure For Love

lennettes2Fans have long been fascinated with the two big-haired women who appear in this trio of videos. They not only assist Leonard Cohen in miming and pantomiming the songs but also swing, sway, dance, and participate in a three-handed arm wrestling match with Leonard. (To answer the inevitable question, I have been unable to identify the Lennettes.)


  1. Cohencentric has posted several of these videos, but many are no longer available online. []
  2. TVE is the state-owned public-service television in Spain []

In The Beginning … Photos & Videos Of Leonard Cohen’s First 2008-2013 Tour Show: Fredericton, May 11, 2008

Ending a 15-year retirement from touring, Leonard Cohen went back on the road, opening his 2008-2010 World Tour1 at the Fredericton, New Brunswick Playhouse on May 11, 2008. Cohencentric is celebrating this event with a set of brilliant photos from the concert and videos of Leonard’s first song at that show and his welcoming words to the audience.

Note: Those interested in why the 2008 Tour opened at a venue with a seating capacity of 709 in a city with a population (in 2005) of just over 50,000 can investigate the issue at Why The 2008-2013 Leonard Cohen World Tours Opened In Fredericton, NB.

Photo Gallery

These brilliant photos of Leonard Cohen and his musicians were taken at the 2008  Fredericton show by J. Gordon Anderson.


“This is the first time I’ve done this in 14 years. I was 60 years old the last time – just a kid with a crazy dream.” – The Leonard Cohen Monologue

While these videos are suboptimal, their historic value and their evocation of the essence of what was to become Leonard Cohen’s performance style in his final tours reward viewing.

Leonard Cohen Talks To Audience
Fredericton: May 11, 2008
Video from RansomNoteMusic

The First Song Of The First Set Of The First Concert Of The First 2008-2013 Leonard Cohen Tour – Dance Me To The End Of Love

Leonard Cohen – Dance Me To The End Of Love
Fredericton: May 11, 2008
Video from RansomNoteMusic

Credit Due Department: Photos of Leonard Cohen and his musicians by J. Gordon Anderson. Photo of Playhouse by Rbcb – Own work, CC by 3.0. via Wikipedia.

Note: All posts about this concert are collected at

Originally posted Jan 19, 2011 at 1HeckOfAGuy.com, a predecessor of Cohencentric

  1. Of course, at the time no one knew it would be a three year tour, let alone that it would be followed by tours in 2012 and 2013 []

Outstanding Video: Leonard Cohen’s Classic So Long, Marianne – Dublin 2013

so long m

“Ah, You Sing So Pretty”

Singing along on So Long, Marianne was a sine qua non of Leonard Cohen Dublin concerts and the Sept 11, 2013 show was no exception with the crowd earning Cohen’s expected but no less cherished commendation, “Ah, you sing so pretty.”

Leonard Cohen – So Long, Marianne
Dublin: Sept 11, 2013
Video: albertnoonan

Best 2013 Leonard Cohen Videos: The best available video of each of the songs performed during the 2013 Leonard Cohen Old Ideas World Tour can be found at the Best Of 2013 Leonard Cohen Tour Video Setlist

Note: Originally posted Sep 12, 2013 at 1HeckOfAGuy.com, a predecessor of Cohencentric

Video: Leonard Cohen Sings Famous Blue Raincoat, Says He Won’t Be Offended If Anyone Has To Leave Because It’s Late – St John 2013

Leonard Cohen – Famous Blue Raincoat
St John: April 15, 2013
Video by cohenadmirer1

Note: Originally posted April 18, 2013 at DrHGuy.com, a predecessor of Cohencentric

Cars Of Leonard Cohen: Leonard’s Car Talk – Homogenization By Car

Leonard Cohen On Homogenization By Car

Video automatically begins at the pertinent section

Cars Of Leonard Cohen

is a series of posts about actual automobiles owned by or associated with Leonard Cohen, metaphorical cars he employed in his songs, and his thoughts about cars. All posts in this series are collected at as they go online.

Video: Leonard Cohen, Perla Batalla, & Julie Christensen Perform Closing Time – 1993 Juno Awards

With Celine Dion & Rebecca De Mornay In Support

On March 21, 1993, Celine Dion hosted the Juno Awards ceremony in Toronto. The first guest performer she introduced was “passionate Montrealer and voice of experience, Leonard Cohen.”

The ensuing performance of Closing Time, featuring Perla Batalla and Julie Christensen as backup singers, offers all the elements that make award ceremony performances – well, let’s go with “special.” There’s a modern dance version of saloon cavorting, a stylized bar, lots-o-lights, and more.

Oh, and Julie Christensen appears to be sporting a hummingbird and handcuffs icon from The Future album.

What more could you want?

Well, how about a glimpse or two of Rebecca De Mornay among the dancers (the first instance is at 1:40)?

Leonard Cohen – Closing Time
Toronto – Juno Awards: March 21, 1993,

Credit Due Department: Thanks to CHEMO of Barcelona, who alerted me to this video.