“This is a monogamous song” Leonard Cohen describes I Tried To Leave You as a song in which lovers are “condemned to each other for eternity”

Malka Marom: In so much of your poetry and songs your lovers are forever parting.

Leonard Cohen: That’s true.

Malka Marom: Do you know why?

Leonard Cohen: I don’t remember the songs I wrote a long time ago. They are all saying goodbye.

Malka Marom: Well they are leaving each other.

Leonard Cohen: Well I have some here in which they are condemned to each other for eternity. On my new record, for instance, I have this sang that goes like this:

“I tried to leave you, I don’t deny
I closed the book on us, at least a hundred times.
I wake up every morning by your side.

The years go by, you lose your pride.
The baby is crying, so you do not go outside,
And all your work is right before your eyes.
Goodnight, my darling,
I hope you’re satisfied,

The bed is kind of narrow, but my arms are open wide.
And here’s a man still working for your smile.”

This is a monogamous song.

Malka Marom: You still use the word, “condemn.”

Leonard Cohen: Lovers condemned like mated beasts to the same cage with a long embrace and fighting over scraps of freedom. There is an aversion to the thing, which is very unattractive. I think anyone who has lived with anyone else knows what I mean.

Leonard Cohen CBC interview by Malka Marom (1970s).

Video Treat From Final Leonard Cohen Show (Auckland 2013) – I Tried To Leave You & Save The Last Dance For Me

Worthy of special note is Roscoe adding a little Irving Berlin (“Dancing Cheek to Cheek”) to “I Tried to Leave You.”

Leonard Cohen – I Tried To Leave You
& Save The Last Dance For Me

Auckland: Dec 21, 2013
Video by Henry Tengelsen (aka Wirebirds)

Thanks to Linda Sturgess, who alerted me to Roscoe’s musical exploits. Originally posted January 8, 2014 at DrHGuy.com, a predecessor of Cohencentric

Leonard Cohen Video Of The Day: End Of 2012 Montreal Concert Compilation


This video is an honorary member of , the informal Cohencentric series based on the  realization that some Leonard Cohen concert photos taken from the cheap seats more than compensate for the lack of closeup shots with intriguing angles and perspectives hidden to those photographing the show from directly in front of the stage. In this case, however. the obstacle is not bad seats but the video police. The videographer, cohenadmirer1, explains

I was told not to film but got some rough video towards the end of the concert.  Here it is. Includes Going Home … First We Take Manhattan…Closing Time …. I Tried To Leave You.

The result is a video salmagundi of action taking place in the audience as well as on the stage and telescreens with abrupt visual and audio cuts, distorted views, jumbled images, … Featured alongside the performances are such delights as an audience member intently videotaping the show while singing along, drummer Rafael Bernardo Gayol blowing a kiss and not blowing the drumstick toss and catch, closeup guitar picking, and – yep – much more. (See the gallery of screenshots below)

And, it’s great, capturing the excitement, tension, joyfulness, and ambivalence that mark the end of a Leonard Cohen concert.

Leonard Cohen In Concert
Montreal: Nov 29, 2012
Video by cohenadmirer1

Note: Originally posted Feb 16, 2013 at 1HeckOfAGuy.com, a predecessor of Cohencentric

Video: The Extraordinarily Poignant Final Minutes Of Final Leonard Cohen European Concert – Amsterdam 2013

Crew Joins Leonard Cohen & Musicians Onstage

The final 17 minutes of the Sept 20, 2013 Amsterdam Concert, the last European show given by Leonard Cohen.

Leonard Cohen – I Tried To Leave You, I’ve Got A Little Secret, Save The Last Dance For Me
Amsterdam: Sept 20, 2013
Video by cohenadmirer1

Thanks to Vicki Woodyard, who recommended this video

Best Of 2008-2010 Leonard Cohen Tour: 2010 Helsinki Concert Video & Photos

The 2010 Helsinki Concert Photos

Maarten Massa’s photos of Leonard Cohen and, especially, the band members and backup singers from the August 10, 2010 Helsinki concert are among the best taken during the entire 2008-2010 tour. In addition to the shots displayed in this post, many other photos from the Helsinki show can be found at Leonard Cohen in Helsinki – Aug 10 2010: Part 1 and Part 2.

Video: Leonard Cohen – I Tried To Leave You + Thank You To Jarkko

That the final song of the August 10, 2010 Leonard Cohen Helsinki Concert was “I Tried To Leave You” was hardly a surprise. Nor were the solo performances by the band members and backup singers unexpected.

Unique to the Helsinki show, however, were Leonard Cohen’s words of appreciation, following the completion of “I Tried To Leave You,” for the role Jarkko Arjatsalo and his website, LeonardCohenFiles.com, played in keeping Cohen’s songs alive when his “voice wasn’t heard very often in very many places.”

Leonard Cohen – I Tried To Leave You
Helsinki: Aug 10, 2010
Video from itriedtoleaveyou

Note: Originally posted July 5, 2012 at 1HeckOfAGuy.com, a predecessor of Cohencentric

New Video: Leonard Cohen’s Evocative Performance Of I Tried To Leave You – Florence 2010

triedtoGoodnight, my darling, I hope you’re satisfied,
The bed is kind of narrow, but my arms are open wide.
And here’s a man still working for your smile.

Uploaded Dec 29, 2016, this Albert Noonan video offers not only Leonard Cohen’s own moving rendition of I Tried To Leave You and his end of concert blessings but also spotlights performances by band members.

Leonard Cohen – I Tried To Leave You
Florence: Sept 1, 2010
Video by albertnoonan

Outstanding Video: Leonard Cohen Performs I Tried To Leave You – Amsterdam 2013


The spotlighted performances by Leonard Cohen’s musicians, a regular feature of I Tried To Leave You, are, at least to my ear, especially inspired in this rendition. The first two solos featuring Mitch Watkins on guitar and Alex Bublitchi on violin, are exemplary. And, This video includes a Rafael Gayol moment that is examined at The Leonard Cohen Amsterdam Concert Percussive Projectile Incident: Errant Drumstick Launch Or Ninja Drummer Move?

Leonard Cohen – I Tried To Leave You
Amsterdam: Sept 20, 2013
Video: albertnoonan

Note: Originally posted Sept 23, 2013 at DrHGuy.com, a predecessor of Cohencentric

Don’t Miss The Spectacular 1985 Leonard Cohen Kalvøya, Norway Concert Videos


The Leonard Cohen Kalvøya Videos

After years of now you see them, now you don’t availability, the NRK TV broadcast of the June 30, 1985 performance by Leonard Cohen at Kalvøyafestivalen (Isle of Calf Music Festival), near Oslo, Norway has consistently online at the same site for the past two years.1

kbannerThe NRK offering comprises the entire broadcast of the festival, including  four Leonard Cohen songs: “Memories,” “Heart With No Companion,” “Story of Isaac,” and “I Tried to Leave You,” and a brief interview with the Canadian singer-songwriter.


The color and clarity of these recordings are outstanding and the performances, with Anjani Thomas on the keyboards and vocals, are solid. Most importantly, watching these videos is moving, exhilarating, and fun.
1985anjaniAnd, with his hair slicked back, his beard stylishly scruffy, a cigarette in one hand, and a microphone in the other (note the dramatic microphone dip at 1:58), Leonard Cohen’s matinee idol persona, typically used in the performance of “Memories,” has never been more enjoyable.

lc-mem2 Continue Reading →

  1. On Aug 8, 2009, 1HeckOfAGuy.com, a predecessor of Cohencentric, posted Baby, Baby, Baby – Leonard Cohen & Anjani Sing The Blues In Norway celebrating the YouTube appearance of three videos, “I Tried to Leave You,” “Heart With No Companion,” and “Story of Isaac,” extracted from the TV broadcast of the June 30, 1985 performance by Leonard Cohen in Kalvøya, Norway. Then, the videos were removed, then  reappeared, and then disappeared again. In 2013, some of the Kalvoya performances, including “Memories,”  a performance not previously available, were uploaded to Daily Motion. Sadly, “I Tried To Leave You” is missing. []