“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.”

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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

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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.

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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 DrHGuy.com, a predecessor of Cohencentric

Video: Leonard Cohen’s Animated Performance Of Everybody Knows – Adelaide 2010

Featuring a musical conversation between Leonard Cohen and Javier Mas

Leonard Cohen – Everybody Knows
Adelaide  Nov 18, 2010
Video by alanm5049

For Comparison – The 2008 Newfoundland Version

As indicated by the screenshots, much of the introduction of Everybody Knows has become an extended musical conversation between Leonard Cohen and Javier Mas. This observation about the evolution of the performance and the impending end of the World Tour led to the posting of the 2008 version of the same song for comparison and contrast.

Leonard Cohen – Everybody Knows
St. John’s: May 27, 2008
Video from colinyetman

Note: Originally posted Nov 21, 2010 at 1HeckOfAGuy.com, a predecessor of Cohencentric

Hear Sigrid’s Cover Of Leonard Cohen’s Everybody Knows From Opening Credits Of The Justice League Soundtrack

Sigrid’s cover of Leonard Cohen’s Everybody Knows establishes the bleak situation facing the superheros of Justice League:

The film opens with cellphone footage of some kids peppering Superman with questions. “What’s the best thing about planet Earth?” one asks. Superman cracks a smile, and thinks about it — and the movie cuts to black. The early passages bask in that bleak uncertainty. With the Man of Steel seemingly no more, society has begun to dissolve. Norwegian singer Sigrid’s cover of Leonard Cohen’s “Everybody Knows” plays on the soundtrack (“Everybody knows that the war is over/Everybody knows the good guys lost” — yes, yes, it’s yet another droning cover of a classic pop song used to add weight to Hollywood piffle, but this one actually works).

From Spoiler: Justice League Is Fleet and Fun, Even With the Emo Gloom by Bilge Ebiri (Dallas Observer: November 15, 2017)

Hear Clip Of Sigrid’s Cover Of Leonard Cohen’s Everybody Knows From Justice League Movie Soundtrack

 

Update: Hear Sigrid’s Complete Cover Of Leonard Cohen’s Everybody Knows From The Justice League Soundtrack

“I wanted to write one of those tough guy songs, one of those saloon songs” Leonard Cohen On Everybody Knows

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I wanted to write one of those tough guy songs, one of those saloon songs. If you look closely, you can see it is a guy on the road or in the bar affirming his feelings but in a friendly way. It’s not like someone spitting on your grave. It’s like we are all in this together — everybody knows.quotedown2

Leonard Cohen

 

From Robert Hilburn Interviews Leonard Cohen by Robert Hilburn I (Los Angeles Times, September 24, 1995). Photo by Alberto ManzanoOriginally posted Feb 2, 2014 at DrHGuy.com, a predecessor of Cohencentric