Leonard Cohen Explains Why His Hair Is Close-Cropped On The Live Songs Cover


Why the hell did you shave off all your hair for the “Live” LP album?

Life just got to be too much for me at that time. I just couldn’t handle anything at all – so I went to a monastery to live. And I guess I just went over the wall.quotedown2

Leonard Cohen

Life On The Ledge With Leonard Cohen by Jon Marlowe. The Miami News: Nov 9, 1977.

Leonard Cohen’s New Skin For The Old Ceremony With Third Wing Cover Art On Eight-Track Cartridge

This specimen is a personal favorite because (1) as noted before, the 8-track format reminds DrHGuy of the 1970s, which in turn makes him feel all warm and, not unlike the dice that hung from the mirror of DrHGuy’s 1957 Chevy, fuzzy and (2) the cover art for Leonard Cohen’s New Skin For The Old Ceremony was once thought erotic enough to generate several coverup versions based on local cultural standards and remains delightfully esoteric (see Leonard Cohen’s New Skin For The Old Ceremony: The Cover Art Cover-Up). In this case, the cover features the UK’s preferred solution – an unbelievably large and even more unbelievably silly third wing was added to one of the angels to enshroud possible intimations of hanky-panky. The 8-track of New Skin For The Old Ceremony featuring a somewhat less outrageous coverup cover art can be viewed at Leonard Cohen’s New Skin For The Old Ceremony 8-Track

This treat is an offering from the personal collection of Dominique BOILE.

Note: Originally posted Nov 21, 2013 at DrHGuy.com, a predecessor of Cohencentric

New & Improved: A 21st Century Modesty Cover For Leonard Cohen’s New Skin For The Old Ceremony

An Immediate Collector’s Item

Since publshing Leonard Cohen’s New Skin For The Old Ceremony: The Cover Art Cover-Up, the definitive examination of alternative cover art used in various countries to protect the public from the (nonexistent) genitals of the angelic figures adorning the front of Leonard Cohen’s New Skin For The Old Ceremony album, this site has posted actual modesty covers featuring third wings, surgically adjusted limbs, and photos of Leonard Cohen to hide the nasty bits of the original image shown below.

DrHGuy, in his never-ending quest to bring New & Improved versions of Mr Cohen’s merchandise to market, now contributes the updated (2008 to present) Cohenesque modesty cover on view atop this post for the next re-release of this album (click on images for best viewing).

The pertinent alteration is more easily seen in the closeup below.

You’re welcome.

For other New & Improved merchandise (shirts, caps, clocks, bobbleheads, & more), lyrics, concert formats … see Leonard Cohen – New & Improved

Note: Originally posted Apr 1, 2014 at 1HeckOfAGuy.com, a predecessor of Cohencentric

Leonard Cohen’s Own Proposal For The You Want It Darker Album Cover


In an interview with De Standaard,1 Sammy Slabbinck, who designed the cover art for the You Want It Darker album, explained Leonard Cohen’s proposal for eliminating the cigarette in the photo to meet French advertising restrictions:

Everything was ready when the greatest alarm sounded: in France you cannot display cigarettes on posters. Leonard’s proposal was to replace [the cigarette] with a yo-yo. (Laughs) I tried, but it did not work. A pocket watch worked well, but that was then so symbolic … Eventually we Photoshopped it away.
[Excerpt via computer translating program]

Well, Leonard’s suggestion may not have worked in the world of cutting edge design, but it is a perfect fit for Cohencentric. Consequently, the image atop this post features the Canadian singer-songwriter casually performing the classic Around The World yo-yo trick.  And, with all respect for Mr Slabbinck’s expertise, it works.

For more about the You Want It Darker cover art, see

Credit Due Department: Francis Mus alerted me to the interview with Sammy Slabbinck


  1. De man die Leonard Cohen surrealistisch maakte (De Standaard: Oct 22, 2016) []

Video: Sammy Slabbinck On His Cover Design Of Leonard Cohen’s You Want It Darker

sam0Belg ontwerpt cd-hoes voor nieuwe plaat Leonard Cohen is a video news feature on Sammy Slabbinck’s design of the cover of Leonard Cohen’s You Want It Darker.  Note: The video is broadcast in Dutch. The video, which cannot be embedded, can be viewed at the link.

More Information About You Want It Darker

Information about You Want It Darker by Leonard Cohen is collected and updated at Info & Updates: Leonard Cohen’s You Want It Darker




You Want It Darker Isn’t Leonard Cohen’s First Smoking Album Cover


The cigarette held by Leonard Cohen on the cover of his new album, You Want It Darker, has drawn a surprising amount of interest and has become the latest  chapter in the complex and captivating story of Leonard’s tobacco use, a history I have sometimes labeled The (Formerly) Smokey Life Of Leonard Cohen.  Cohencentric has, in fact, long maintained a tag for posts dealing with this issue.

The responses of fans thus far to the cigarette displayed on the You Want It Darker cover can be divided into four categories:

  • Leonard is over 80 so I wish he wouldn’t smoke – it’s not healthy for him and it’s the wrong message to send to fans
  • Leonard is over 80 so he can enjoy a cigarette if he wants
  • The cigarette is an essential element in a great conceptual cover image
  • Who cares?

It’s noteworthy that, in addition to the many comments by fans, the album’s producer, Adam Cohen has weighed in on the cigarette as has Leonard Cohen himself.

True to its mission as provocateur, Cohencentric has offered alternatives to the official You Want It Darker album cover:

Cigarettes & Album Covers

vanLeonard Cohen’s You Want It Darker coffin nail is not the only example of a cigarette on an album cover causing controversy.

The best known of several example is the angelic baby’s cigarette on the cover of Van Halen’s 1984 album, which was, by official UK fiat, covered by a sticker.1

Leonard Cohen Was Smoking – On These Album Covers

As far as I can determine, there was no controversy or even much notice given to the cigarettes on the Death Of A Ladies’ Man and Live Songs albums.

And neither the cover on the Everybody Knows single nor the back of the Greatest Hits album caused a kerfuffle.


  1. This ban is no longer in effect. []