“You just want to indicate that curious thing that we call ‘experience’… that you hear in the voice of Aretha Franklin… It indicates that the person has been through a life, that they have lived their life on the front line.” Leonard Cohen

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You just want to indicate that curious thing that we call ‘experience’ that you hear in the voice of Fats Domino, that you hear in the voice of Aretha Franklin. It’s something in the voice itself. It indicates that the person has been through a life, that they have lived their life on the front line. And that’s the sound we like — I like — to hear in a singer, and it includes a lot more than irony. It includes optimism. It includes despair. It includes regret. It includes so many things that you forget about all of them, and you just know that you’re listening to a voice — a voice of experience.quotedown2

Leonard Cohen

 

From Leonard Cohen’s Voice Of Experience on Listen Now at NPR: April 09, 1988.

The Other Village by Leonard Cohen
From Death of a Lady’s Man

When it comes to lamentations,
I prefer Aretha Franklin
to, let’s say, Leonard Cohen,
Needless to add, he hears a different drum

In the photo, Aretha Franklin sings “My Country ‘Tis Of Thee'” at the U.S. Capitol during the 56th presidential inauguration in Washington, D.C., Jan. 20, 2009.

“I thought that Naked Lunch [by William Burroughs] was hilarious… When I find something that makes me laugh I think it’s good.” Leonard Cohen Reading List

Do you know anything about William Burroughs? Have you ever read any of his work?

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I’ve read a lot of his stuff. I thought that Naked Lunch was hilarious. It isn’t in my nature to examine consciously the wide implications of a piece of writing. I don’t look at these things in a sociological context, nor even in a literary context. You know, when I find something that makes me laugh I think it’s good.quotedown2

Leonard Cohen

 

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

The Leonard Cohen Reading List

This is the latest entry to the Leonard Cohen Reading List, a compilation of books commended by the Canadian singer-songwriter.

“The genius of Phil [Spector] is to completely exhaust everyone and call on some special reserve that no one expects to locate and to manifest it.” Leonard Cohen

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The genius of Phil is to completely exhaust everyone and call on some special reserve that no one expects to locate and to manifest it. That is how he get the incredible energy. He frustrates the musicians for hours, refusing to let them play more than one or two bars, and then he lets them play.quotedown2

Leonard Cohen

 

From Leonard Cohen: My album will be classic in 10 years by Mary Campbell. AP: Feb 1978.

Leonard Cohen Collaborates With Phil Spector & Taunts Phil’s Bodyguard, “You’re a motherfucking pussycat. You don’t even know how to use that [gun]”

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From Leonard Cohen by John Walsh (MOJO: Sept 1994). Originally posted at DrHGuy.com, a predecessor of Cohencentric

“[Phil Spector] is very nice but he pretends to be violent. He kept a lot of guns around and armed bodyguards; bullets and wine bottles littered the floor…A pretty dangerous situation.” Leonard Cohen

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I knew his [Spector’s] songs, I liked his work a lot. But I didn’t know what it was to work with him in the studio! He had come to one of my concerts here in Los Angeles at the Troubadour. After the concert, Phil invited us to his house. The house was freezing because of the air conditioning; it was four degrees. He locked the door so we couldn’t leave. I said ‘Listen Phil, if you lock us in here, we are going to get bored… So as long as we are locked up we might as well write some songs together.’ So we started that very night. We wrote songs together for about a month, it was fun. Phil is really a charming guy when you are with him alone. I would write the words, then he would work on the melody, then I would revise the words to better fit the melody. We would exchange ideas. But in the studio when other people were around he was a totally different man. He is very nice but he pretends to be violent. He kept a lot of guns around and armed bodyguards; bullets and wine bottles littered the floor…A pretty dangerous situation. I wouldn’t say Phil is someone lovable, but he wasn’t mean – except once when he pointed a gun to my throat and then cocked it. He said ‘I love you Leonard.’ I responded ‘I hope you love me Phil.’ (laughs)… Once in the studio he pointed a revolver at the violinist who then packed up his violin and ran out (laughs)… But it was a bad time for Phil too. My mother was dying of leukemia, I was constantly going between Montreal and Los Angeles…quotedown2

Leonard Cohen

From Comme Un Guerrier by Christian Fevret (Les Inrocks: Aug 21, 1991). Via Google Translate. Originally posted Feb 22, 2013 at DrHGuy.com, a predecessor of Cohencentric

More Posts About the Leonard Cohen Phil Spector Collaboration

Leonard Cohen Explains Why Phil Spector’s Death Of A Ladies’ Man Recording Sessions Lasted Until Early Morning Hours

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Phil [Spector] would make his opinions on LA football teams clear to everyone, taking a couple of hours. His analysis of the basketball situation in North America took hours every night and he talked about his devotion to laws that let us carry firearms.quotedown2

Leonard Cohen

 

From Leonard Cohen: My album will be classic in 10 years By Mary Campbell. AP: Feb 1978. Originally posted August 3, 2016 at DrHGuy.com, a predecessor of Cohencentric

Leonard Cohen: “I remember a little [5 year old] girl running… out into the campus. I thought, What a beautiful child.” Rebecca De Mornay: “How do you know that child was me?” Leonard Cohen: “You have the same light as that child.”

Here’s the setup: In 1993, Leonard Cohen, the singer-songwriter and poet who was perhaps the world’s greatest interviewee, switched roles to interview Rebecca De Mornay, the gorgeous movie actress who was, for a time, Mr. Cohen’s fiancée. The following excerpt is from From Knowing Rebecca de Mornay Like Only Leonard Cohen Can by Leonard Cohen with William Claxton. Interview magazine. June 1, 1993:

Leonard Cohen: What are your recollections of Summerhill, your school in England?

Rebecca De Mornay: Summerhill, founded by A.S. Neill, was the beginning of many of the experimental schools in the West. You visited a friend’s son there, who was there exactly the same year as I was. You have a recollection that you saw me when I was five.

Leonard Cohen: That’s right.

Rebecca De Mornay: Do you really remember that?

Leonard Cohen: Yes, I do.

Rebecca De Mornay: You promise?

Leonard Cohen: There’s no reason that I would want to deceive you. I remember looking through a doorway and seeing a woman, half-clad, sweeping the floor…

Rebecca De Mornay: That was Sheila, our housemistress. It was the ’60s. She had very large, tan breasts.

Leonard Cohen: …and I remember a little girl running from behind her skirt, out into the campus. I thought, What a beautiful child.

Rebecca De Mornay: How do you know that child was me?

Leonard Cohen: You have the same light as that child. One doesn’t see this light so often. Now, it may have been another child there, but I think it’s highly unlikely. I think it was you.

“God, whenever I see her ass, I forget every pain that’s gone between us” Leonard Cohen On Suzanne Elrod After Their Breakup

From Leonard Cohen Says That to All the Girls by Barbara Amiel. Maclean’s: Sept 18, 1978. Now available at From the archives: Leonard Cohen and the Casanova paradox. Originally posted Jan 31, 2014 at DrHGuy.com, a predecessor of Cohencentric