Video: Leonard Cohen’s Vibrant Performance Of Everybody Knows – Rotterdam 2013

Leonard Cohen – Everybody Knows
Rotterdam: Sept 18, 2013
Video: info4allat

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

Originally posted Sep 19, 2013 at, a predecessor of Cohencentric

“Thank you for sitting in the cold and damp to listen to my melancholy ditties.” Leonard Cohen Performs Bird On The Wire & Everybody Knows – Dublin 2012

Leonard Cohen – Bird On The Wire & Everybody Knows
Includes Leonard’s Permitted to drink inside, Permitted to sleep inside, Made to sing outside, Is that why the Irish voice is so strong and sweet? stage banter
Dublin: Sept 11, 2012
Video by

Originally posted Sep 12, 2012 at, a predecessor of Cohencentric

Leonard Cohen’s Gestures Of Blessing & Sign Of The Cross In Performances Of Everybody Knows

And everybody knows that you’re in trouble
Everybody knows what you’ve been through
From the bloody cross on top of Calvary
To the beach of Malibu
Everybody knows it’s coming apart
Take one last look at this Sacred Heart
Before it blows
And everybody knows

From Everybody Knows
By Leonard Cohen & Sharon Robinson

In performances of the “Sacred Heart” verse of Everybody Knows, Leonard Cohen executed certain hand gestures that echo specific Roman Catholic rituals.

Note: In some live performances, the original line, “Take one last look at this Sacred Heart,” was sung “Take one last look at this Mighty Heart.” And, at least once (Brussels: June 30, 2013), it was rendered “Take one last look at this Broken Heart.” [emphasis mine])

The Blessing

The photo atop this post and the above animation display the first of these gestures, one frequently found in Christian art such as Leonardo da Vinci’s Salvator Mundi shown below, in which Christ is giving a benediction with the first two fingers and thumb of his right hand extended. The three raised digits represent the Trinity (The Father, Son, and Holy Spirit); the two closed digits represent the dual nature of Christ as both man and God.

The Sign Of The Cross

The sign of the cross is the most common Catholic gesture. Latin (Western) Catholics make the sign of the cross by touching their right hand to the forehead, then the middle of the breast, then the left shoulder, and finally the right shoulder. This gesture makes a cross — an intersection of a vertical line from forehead to breast and a horizontal line from left to right shoulder. Leonard’s gesture is an abbreviated version limited to the confines of his chest (and it appears he goes from right to left to form the horizontal line of the cross).

Ironically, the one reference I found to Leonard and the sign of the cross was in connection with Zen master Roshi:

For a time in the early seventies he became Roshi’s secretary and accompanied Roshi to various Trappist monasteries where Cohen would occasionally lead the sesshins for the monks. Roshi’s koan for the monks consisted of one question: “How do you realize Jesus Christ when you make the sign of the cross?”1

The video below automatically begins just before the blessing and sign of the cross gestures.

Credit Due Department: The photo atop this post (Las Vegas – December 11, 2010) and the source video for both animations are by Maarten Massa.

  1. Various Positions by Ira Nadel []

The 2013 “Everybody Knows” Video Pro-Am: Leonard Cohen’s Live In Dublin DVD Video Vs Audience Recordings

Everybody Knows from Leonard Cohen’s Live In Dublin DVD (Dec 2, 2014) provides an opportunity to compare the professionally shot and edited video of this performance produced for the official concert DVD with the recordings of the same song at other 2013 tour venues made by amateur videographers in the audience. It’s worth keeping in mind that the latter group operates under rather rigorous conditions: shooting from a single location determined by ones luck and cash on hand (a seat inevitably located just behind the winner of the Tallest Leonard Cohen Fan In Existence and next to the Cohenites Singalong Ensemble), and filming while eluding the concert hall’s camera police.

While each of the audience videos are flawed in some manner and I am clearly at risk for observer error, I would argue that these imperfect offerings are indeed how the light gets in. But, hey, judge for yourself.

The Professional Video

Leonard Cohen – Everybody Knows
Dublin: Sept 12, 2013
Video from LeonardCohenVEVO

The Audience Videos

Leonard Cohen – Everybody Knows
Brussels: June 30, 2013
Video by albertnoonan

Leonard Cohen – Everybody Knows
Amsterdam: Sept 20, 2013
Video by schnugsy

Leonard Cohen – Everybody Knows
Bercy: June 18, 2013
Video by Aurélie F

Leonard Cohen – Everybody Knows
Rome: July 7, 2013
Video by 30gallina72

Leonard Cohen – Everybody Knows
Rome: July 7, 2013
Video by Wirebirds

Leonard Cohen – Everybody Knows
Vienna: July 27, 2013
Video by glauxath

Note: Originally posted November 12, 2014 at, a predecessor of Cohencentric

Listen To Leonard Cohen’s “Everybody Knows” Performed By Sharon Robinson

Sharon Robinson’s “Everybody Knows,” “Secondhand,” and “The High Road” are all available for streaming without charge on her Soundcloud

Photo atop this post taken by Maarten Massa. Originally posted July 24, 2014 at, a predecessor of Cohencentric

“I tend to see AIDS as symptomatic of a deeper breakdown in our psychic immune system” Leonard Cohen (1988)

In ‘Everybody Knows’, Cohen sounds the death knell (in more ways then one) for the style of man – and woman – who does seek salvation through untrammelled sexual activity thus: “Everybody knows / that the naked man and woman/ just a shining artifact of the past.”

That interpretation might be pushing things too far, but certainly we do know that people will never lie down again with each other in our lifetime with the same sense of abandon that we have at this moment. The development of AIDS is the reason – but I tend to see AIDS as symptomatic of a deeper breakdown in our psychic immune system…quotedown2

Leonard Cohen


From Read Leonard Cohen’s exclusive interview with Hot Press from 1988 by Joe Jackson (Hot Press: 11 Nov 2016)

“I wrote a song like Everybody Knows to close that gap [between private life & public life] and the only way to close it is by speaking of it humourously, speaking of it as a joke, and saying the things that we all know” Leonard Cohen on Everybody Knows

Without the music and nonsense rhymes, Everybody Knows would be pretty hard to take – the funeral quality of the message. It also pushes things very, very far just to get a laugh and that makes it amusing. It gives a jingle effect that as I say modifies and mitigates the heaviness of the vision. I think that everybody does know these things…These ideas were started a long time ago in my work, but the romantic world is just as Lorca said in that poem Take This Waltz. These romantic images that he’s using…he knows they’re rotten, he know they’re old, he knows they’re finished. That’s why it’s such a modern poem… There seems to be some appetite to say those words: ‘Everybody knows it’s coming apart.’ Maybe I’m wrong, maybe it’s just because I’m middle-aged and maybe nothing’s coming apart but, to me, those images, those romantic expectations, those religious expectations, the political vocabulary, are obsolete. I’ve never felt so much difference between the private life and the public life. There doesn’t seem to be a public life and there’s nobody speaking in a way that seems to address me… I don’t know why. Maybe I’m just getting old, maybe not, maybe I’m right, so I wrote a song like Everybody Knows to close that gap and the only way to close it is by speaking of it humourously, speaking of it as a joke, and saying the things that we all know.quotedown2

Leonard Cohen


I’m Your Man by Alberto Manzano (Rockdelux (Spain): May 1988)

“A good song exists in very modest terms and also in Himalayan terms” Leonard Cohen

In “Everybody Knows,” there is a line that I found deeply moving, “Old Black Joe’s still picking cotton, for our buttons and our bows,” which seems to be a fairly heavy indictment of capitalism.

Whatever grip capitalism has on its constituents, it seems to be a more benign grip than any of the other systems that people have thought out. So I would resist, although not with a tremendous amount of interest in the matter, having it serve an anti-capitalist program. I think that a good song exists in very modest terms and also in Himalayan terms. I mean, it’s a thing to get you through the dishes. It provides a sound-track for your courting and for your solitude. That’s the modest element. Then there is an element in song which provides deep comfort and deep solace and stimulation for the imagination and courage. You can’t use it for something as deliberate as a program. It could be, but it falls away. A good song slips away from its dogma.quotedown2

Leonard Cohen


From Leonard Cohen:  Several Lifetimes Already by Cindy Bisaillon (Shambhala Sun, Jan, 1994). Originally posted Dec 16, 2013 at, a predecessor of Cohencentric