“I had suggested that Harry Belafonte… stop singing calypso and start singing about himself.” Leonard Cohen

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Harry Belafonte’s wife, who had been very suspicious about my presence because I had suggested that Harry Belafonte change his show and stop singing calypso and start singing about himself… He’s a very great singer. We were drinking late into the night at the Four Seasons Hotel and I got out this poem [Slowly I Married Her] and I thought he could set it to music. And I don’t know whether it was the vodka or not, but she wept a few tears that sealed the night very nicely.quotedown2

Leonard Cohen

 

From Authors with Patrick Watson (CBC: 1980)

Note: While Mr Belafonte passed on putting Slowly I Married Her to music, Lewis Furey took up the challenge.

Authors with Patrick Watson (CBC: 1980)

Leonard Cohen & Irving Layton Discuss The Decline In Their Sexual Interests

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I had a lovely moment with Irving [Layton] recently. We were having a smoke and he said, ‘Leonard, have you noticed that you have declined in your sexual interests?’ He’s 89. So I said, ‘I have, Irving.’ He said, ‘I’m relieved to hear that.’ I said, ‘So I take it, Irving, that you also have observed some decline in your own sexual interests.’ He said, ‘Yes, Leonard, I have.’ I said, ‘When did you first begin to notice this decline in your sexual interests?’ He said, ‘Oh, about the age of 16 or 17.’quotedown2

Leonard Cohen

 

Exile on Main Street by Brett Grainger (Elm Street: Nov 2001)

“I love Ray Charles… [He] is exactly the kind of singer I would like to be.” Leonard Cohen

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I love Ray Charles. He’s who the people have been hunting for, who people have always been worshiped – mot because of his faith but because he reaches their thoughts and hearts, and that is exactly the kind of singer I would like to be.quotedown2

Leonard Cohen

 

From ”En tunne vanhenevani lainkaan” – Leonard Cohen Soundissa 1976: The 2016 reprint of a June 1976 Leonard Cohen interview by Dougie Gordon. (Soundi: Nov 11, 2016). Via computer translation. Photo by Rob Bogaerts (ANEFO) – GaHetNa (Nationaal Archief NL), CC BY-SA 3.0, via Wikipedia

“I remember reading a book by Gore Vidal, Myra Breckinridge or something, and thinking ‘This whole vision is taken from Beautiful Losers.'” Leonard Cohen

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Sometimes I see people’s work and think that they may have had their genesis in something I’ve done. Sometimes I read a novel that … of course you can get very paranoiac about that also, and think so-and-so’s copied my entire style. I remember reading a book by Gore Vidal, Myra Breckinridge or something, and thinking ‘This whole vision is taken from Beautiful Losers.’ But I don’t know, that might be quite mad. He might never have even seen the book.quotedown2

Leonard Cohen

 

From Romance at the Broncoburger by Rob Mackie (New Musical Express: April 5, 1975). Photo by SusmartOwn work, CC BY-SA 3.0, Link

“You want to hear a guy’s story… when you hear Fats Domino singing, ‘I found my thrill on Blueberry Hill,’ whatever that’s about, I mean, it’s deep.” Leonard Cohen

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You want to hear a guy’s story, and if the guy’s really seen a few things, the story is quite interesting. Or even if he comes to the point where he wants to sing about the moon in June, there’s something in his voice … when you hear Fats Domino singing, ‘I found my thrill on Blueberry Hill,’ whatever that’s about, I mean, it’s deep.quotedown2

Leonard Cohen

 

Leonard Cohen’s Nervous Breakthrough by Mark Rowland, Musician, July 1988.

“In the case of Eminem and some of the other rappers, the lyrics are impressive. I think it’s great. I studied and was formed in this tradition that honored the ancient idea of music being declaimed or chanted… to a rhythmic background.” Leonard Cohen

From Cohen on Wry by Michael Krugman (Flaunt: Oct 2001). Photo by DoD News Features141111-D-DB155-046, Public Domain, Link

“Phil [Spector] had a lot of guns all over the place. You’d always be tripping over bullets that had fallen out of guns.” Leonard Cohen

Embed from Getty Images

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Phil [Spector] had a lot of guns all over the place. You’d always be tripping over bullets that had fallen out of guns. Once I challenged one of Phil’s bodyguards to draw on me. It got that tense. My state of mind was only slightly less demented that Spector’s at the time.quotedown2

Leonard Cohen

 

From Having Lunch With Leonard Cohen by Jon Wilde, Sabotage Times. Dec 3, 2015 (the quote itself is taken from a 1988 interview).

“Bob Dylan, that commie” Leonard Cohen’s Joke Gets Him Disinvited From 1992 Dylan Tribute

Why were you not part of the concert in homage to Dylan [the 1992 Bob Dylan 30th Anniversary concert at Madison Square Garden]?

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I think I was invited, but I made a joke. Don Ienner, who’s the president of Columbia, mentioned this concert to me and I made a joke. He said that there would be a Dylan tribute. I said, ‘Bob Dylan, that commie. He singlehandedly destroyed society.’ I said, ‘My daughter wrote on the edge of her book: ‘Your sons and your daughters are beyond your control.’ Thanks a lot, Bob.’ And I don’t know if they thought I was serious or not. Then, I was never asked again.quotedown2

Leonard Cohen

 

Excerpt from The Future by Alberto Manzano. El Europeo: Spring 1993.