Listen To Leonard Cohen Talk About Phases Of His Career, Elvis Presley, Ray Charles, Humor, Women, Greece, Sports … 1988

619px-Leonard_Cohen17bTopics include Leonard Cohen on

  • Touring
  • His love of Ray Charles’ music (“the best there is”)
  • His fascination with country music (and his part in the Buckskin Boys), flamenco guitar, cantorial music in synagogues, and Arabic music
  • His life in Greece
  • His “notable disasters in journalism,” including his interview with Glenn Gould
  • His attempted role as TV host based on his reputation as a “witty young poet.” (He was “wiped out” by guests who he saw as brighter and quicker, especially his first guest, a Borscht Belt comedian who wouldn’t let Leonard “get a word in edgewise.”)
  • Book of Mercy being written “when [his] back was against the wall]
  • His relationship with Roshi: “Cohen, I’ve known you 18 years. I never tried to give you my religion – just pour you saki”
  • Elvis Presley, who was “next to Ray Charles’ in the group of “impeccable America singers” (Leonard also notes that Presley’s movies were his personal “Seven stations of the cross”)
  • The public’s preference for an artist’s older material
  • Setting First We Take Manhattan “to a kind of Sergio Leone Clint Eastwood soundtrack”
  • Ain’t No Cure for Love as an especially poignant song
  • “I don’t know any men who aren’t interested in women.”
  • His family’s preference hat he go into law or the family business ad his leaving law school because of his “burning desire to be a writer.”
  • Montreal School Of Poetry
  • His contention that the “real energy today” is in sports, not music
  • His admiration of “Concierto de Aranjuez” by Joaquín Rodrigo and “Je ne regrette rien” By Edith Piaf
  • His self-characterization as “not good father but a loving father”
  • His homes in Greece, Montreal, and Las Angeles and his preference for residences in the “less prosperous parts of town” with white rooms and little on the walls.
  • Growing old

From YouTube Description:

Gill Pyrah talks on The Night is Young to Leonard Cohen, in London as part of his European tour. On his background in Canada and early careers in poetry, writing, journalism and TV interviewing and years spent in Greece; touring and his concert in London; views of him and his music; whether he is a ladies’ man; his children; his painting. His musical choices are edited out. This is pretty rare so be sure to snatch/keep and disseminate since you wont find it anywhere else. The 1988 Leonard Cohen talks about women drugs, women again, booze and music and poetry.


Credit Due Department: Photo atop post by Roland Godefroy – Own work, CC BY 3.0, via Wikipedia

Adam Cohen’s “We Go Home” Mini-documentary Offers Window Onto Leonard Cohen’s Hydra & Montreal Homes


Co-starring Cass Cohen

A video promotion for Adam Cohen’s “We Go Home” album focuses on recording sessions that took place in his father’s homes in Montreal and on Hydra and thus offers many views of these residences.

Also featured are several Hydra scenes (other than Cohen’s home) and appearances (including a speaking part) by Cass, Adam Cohen’s son and Leonard Cohen’s grandson.


Adam Cohen – We Go Home – EPK

Note: Originally posted July 16, 2014 at, a predecessor of Cohencentric

Marianne, Hydra And Her Love Affair With Leonard Cohen – Now In English


Marianne, Hydra And The Love Affair With Cohen

By Evangelia Avlonitou (Kathimerini: June 14, 2015)
Translated into English by Demetris Tsimperis

Marianne Ihlen, the woman who inspired the song «So Long Marianne» by Leonard Cohen and had a love affair with him during the years they lived in Hydra, is sitting opposite me in a cafe at the harbor of the island. She is beautiful, charming and humane, awaiting – a bit anxiously- my questions. I did not come with questions, I reassure her,  taking off my glasses. I came only with a bag and a book excerpt in my mind. She laughs, relieved. “How good” she says and sinks into her chair. I explain to her that the passage I am going to share with her is by a 87 year old Australian writer, Elizabeth Harrower.


Harrower writes: “A woman may encounter at any time in her life, a concrete pyramid in the middle of the road. It is usually a man or more. The woman is capable of sitting there convinced that it is impossible to proceed until finally the pyramid becomes her personal Thermopylae. This obstacle may contribute to the perpetuation of the species, but its price is heavy. What makes men superior is that – most of them – don’t stop to function forever because of another human being. They lack this inherent disadvantage and they are lucky”. Marianne laughs loudly. “How true is this” she says taking off her dark glasses. “I climbed this pyramid, I fell down and then moved on”. We stay silent for a while. Me out of respect and she for her own reasons. The midday flying dolphin has just arrived at the port of Hydra and our silence is covered by the sounds of the crowd.

“I  saw the film ‘Boy on a Dolphin’ in a cinema in Oslo in the ’50s and I thought here’s a place that I will never go. And here I am,” she says, and what impresses me more than the coincidences of life, is that her eyes – blue of ice and sky – are so different from the eyes of most people today; warm and vivid, full of patience and gentle curiosity. “If I hadn’t met Dalai Lama in Norway in ’52 I would never have come here” she continues. “It was he who gave me the courage to leave my home and who first taught me the meaning of compassion; to accept, to overcome and to not criticize.”

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Leonard Cohen Describes His Home On Hydra


My house [in Hydra] looked beautiful, and it looks exactly the same as it always did. It doesn’t have a great view. It’s a big house full of little rooms. Rooms about half the size of this kitchen. And just with old tables and chairs that people gave me, most things in that house were given to me by people who were moving up and could afford a better table, like the Johnsons, gave me the kitchen table because they made a little money and they bought a better table. And that’s what we would do for the new generations coming in. At first all my pots and pans were second generation, you know, and then you made a little money and you could buy your own pot and pan and you’d give your pot and pan to the next kid who was moving in. At that stage when I was living with Marianne, we didn’t have any money… Well, Axel had made a little money, so there were some things from his house that found their way into my house.quotedown2

Leonard Cohen

Also see

From Leonard Looks Back On The Past, an interview with Leonard Cohen by Kari Hesthamar, Los Angeles, 2005 (Unedited interview for the Norwegian Radio). Found at LeonardCohenFiles. Photo by Rauli Arjatsalo of The Leonard Cohen Files. Originally posted May 11, 2011 at, a predecessor of Cohencentric

“Leonard Cohen is a rare and great person, and I will always love and honor him. I am glad we met that day on the port of Hydra. He taught me so much about myself, something he saw in me while I was still ‘blind.'” Marianne Ihlen – April 23, 2016

Marianne Ihlen, who died in July 2016, writing to Dominique Boile on April 23, 2016. Marianne also sent Dominique the autographed image featured on the iconic back cover of Leonard Cohen Songs From A Room with Marianne sitting at Leonard’s Olivetti typewriter in their home in Hydra.

“When I got to Greece I felt warm for the first time in my life…” Leonard Cohen

When I got to Greece I felt warm for the first time in my life. I remember I was lying in the sun for a couple of weeks – on a rock, doing nothing, feeling all the ice that had built into my bones over many cold Canadian winters melt.quotedown2

Leonard Cohen


From Leonard Cohen El Arte Del Susurro by Diego A. Manrique. Rockdelux: April 1985. [Google Translate]

Note: Originally posted Mar 15, 2014 at, a predecessor of Cohencentric