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.

Cars Of Leonard Cohen: Elvis’s Rolls Royce

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.

Elvis’s Rolls Royce Featuring Leonard Cohen By Was (Not Was)

areyouokIn 1990 Was (Not Was) published the album, Are You Okay?, which included the song, “Elvis’s Rolls Royce” with Leonard Cohen as lead vocalist (and Iggy Pop contributing backing vocals). One suspects that it was fun to produce, and it’s clearly fun to hear. It seemed only fitting that it should have a fun video as well. That’s where DrHGuy, master of the cut and paste flick, came into the picture.

Considerable poetic license was involved in the composition of “Elvis’s Rolls Royce,” but Elvis did own a Rolls Royce:

January 1961 Elvis signed a 5 year contract with Hal Wallis. To celebrate he went out and bought a Rolls Royce Phantom V from a Beverly Hills dealer only to bring it home and have his mothers’ chickens peck away at their reflections in the elegant finish. Most people would have just shot the birds but Elvis just chose to have the car repainted four or five times.1

That Rolls Royce is the one featured in the extraordinarily rare2 photo of Elvis, Leonard, & the Rolls atop this section of the post. Elvis also owned a 1966 Rolls Royce Silver Cloud.

In any case, images in the accompanying video are likewise “inspired by” rather than “based on” Elvis’s cars. Viewers are advised to rev up their “willing suspension of disbelief for the moment which constitutes poetic faith;”3 a literal-minded perspective may result in significant cognitive whiplash.

Video: Leonard Cohen & Was (Not Was) – Elvis’s Rolls Royce


“It was not only an act of supreme generosity on
[Leonard Cohen’s ] part but a flawless reading of the song

Those hearing reports of unprecedented beaming emanating from the vicinity of Durham, North Carolina needn’t be concerned that, say, a local nuclear power plant has gone Chernobyl. The phenomenon is instead the consequence of DrHGuy finding this message from Don Was, world class musician and Grammy-winning record producer,4 in his inbox:

hi allan –

just stumbled upon your video for our song “Elvis’ Rolls Royce”….i really love it! It’s exactly what I visualized when we wrote the song and seeing your video 20 plus years after we recorded the track gave me a renewed sense of how surreally awesome it was that leonard agreed to do the vocal for us…it was not only an act of supreme generosity on his part but a flawless reading of the song…thanks for putting so much work into the video….i hope everyone on earth gets to see it!


OK, let’s make that “Don Was, world class musician, Grammy-winning record producer, and one heck of a guy.”

Video by Allan Showalter


  1. []
  2. It is so extraordinarily rare that it was, in fact, nonexistent in the pre-Photoshop world []
  3. Samuel Taylor Coleridge, Biographia Literaria, 1817 []
  4. Don Was has produced every Rolling Stones album since 1993, co-led the 1980s group Was (Not Was), was appointed president of the jazz record label, Blue Note Records, in 2012, served as music director for a batch of movies (e.g., Thelma and Louise, The Rainmaker, Hope Floats), and has recorded with – well, just about everyone, including Bonnie Raitt, Bob Dylan, John Mayer, Ziggy Marley, Bob Seger, Al Green, Lucinda Williams, Garth Brooks, Ringo Starr, Iggy Pop, Lyle Lovett, Kris Kristofferson, Joe Cocker, Hootie and The Blowfish, Amos Lee, Willie Nelson Elton John, Stevie Nicks, George Clinton, Randy Newman, The Black Crowes, Carly Simon, Travis Tritt, Brian Wilson, Jackson Browne, The Barenaked Ladies, Old Crow Medicine Show, Roy Orbison, Waylon Jennings, Jessi Colter, Richie Sambora, The Presidents of the United States of America, B.B. King, Paul Westerberg, Kurt Elling, Poison, Cheb Khaled, The B-52’s, Zucchero, Todd Snider, Elizabeth Cook, Jill Sobule and Solomon Burke. []

Hear 12 Songs From Nov 4, 1980 Leonard Cohen Bonn Concert

1980 Leonard Cohen Bonn Concert Recording

As far as I can determine, no recording of the Nov 4, 1980 Leonard Cohen concert at the Beethovenhalle in Bonn, Germany has been available online – until now. A tape of one hour of the show has emerged, thanks to the generosity of a friend from Bonn, who recorded this song and 11 others with the permission of Leonard Cohen and his sound engineer.

  1. The Window Featuring Raffi Hakopian On Violin
  2. Diamonds In The Mine With Dedication To “The Next Presiden”
  3. Chelsea Hotel #2 + “Dreaded Feedback” Stage Banter
  4. Memories + “Sweet Music Of America” Outro & Featuring Paul Ostermayer On Sax
  5. Passing Through Featuring Leonard Cohen On Hand Whistle
  6. Joan of Arc Featuring Sharon Robinson
  7. Who By Fire With Brilliant Opening By John Bilezikjian On Oud
  8. Stranger Song
  9. Famous Blue Raincoat Featuring Paul Ostermayer On Sax
  10. Story Of Isaac
  11. Lover, Lover, Lover Featuring John Bilezikjian On Oud
  12. Gypsy’s Wife Featuring Raffi Hakopian On Violin

All 12 songs can now be heard in a single YouTube playlist.

All songs from this concert have been posted and are collected at .

The supporting musicians for the 1980 Tour follow:

  • Sharon Robinson – vocals
  • Roscoe Beck – bass guitar
  • John Bilezikjian – oud, mandolin
  • Bill Ginn – keyboards
  • Raffi Hakopian – violin
  • Steve Meador – drums
  • Paul Ostermayer – wind
  • Mitch Watkins – electric guitar

Credit Due Department: Photo of Leonard Cohen performing in Amsterdam, 1980 by Pete Purnell.

A Young Lorca Cohen Packs CDs By Dylan, Grateful Dead, Fugazi, & Leonard Cohen (aka “Dad”) For Boarding School Stay

“She didn’t have to do that. It was wonderful.”

Leonard Cohen

From An Interview With Leonard Cohen by Rob O’Connor (Downtown, Feb 12, 1992). This article was contributed by Dominique BOILE. Originally posted Aug 6, 2012 at, a predecessor of Cohencentric

“I started the guitar and I heard myself sing that first phrase, ‘Like a bird on a wire,’ and I knew the song was going to be true.” Leonard Cohen

I’m not sure of exactly what I want to say next. It has to do with maybe an image you may have formed of yourself. That has something to do with this business of coming of age. But maybe it changes, all the way through, maybe the next record will be the epitome of simplicity and will be absolutely out of the hole.

Well, I understand what you mean. I’ll try to relate it to something particular: this song ‘Like a Bird on a Wire’ which I was telling you about. I tried many versions and in a way the history of that song on the record is my whole history. I tried it in many different ways. At about four in the morning I sent all the musicians home except for my friends Zev who plays Jew’s harp, Charlie McCoy who was playing the bass, the electric bass, and Bob Johnston who’s the A & R man; I asked him to just sit at the organ from time to time. And I just knew that at that moment something was going to take place. I’d never sung the song true, never, and I’d always had a kind of phony Nashville introduction that I was playing the song to and by the time I came around to start my own song I was already following a thousand models. And I just did the voice before I started the guitar and I heard myself sing that first phrase, ‘Like a bird on a wire,’ and I knew the song was going to be true. I knew it was going to be true and new and I sang it through and I listened to myself singing, and it was a surprise. Then I heard the replay and I knew it was right. I’d never sung it true and I didn’t think I could ever sing it true again because I’m not a performer. But there is one moment and it happens to coincide with the huge mechanical facilities of Columbia Records, that’s what I call magic. And it did, it happened that way. I suppose a master, a master of chance and someone who deeply understands phenomena, could see the method and technique. I learned a lot from it, I’d like to apply it right now, we may get to that moment.quotedown2

Leonard Cohen


An Interview with Leonard Cohen by Michael Harris. Duel, Winter 1969.