“My God! Only one masterpiece. Does this guy have any idea what it takes to produce a single masterpiece? I think anything [Dylan] does merits serious attention.” Leonard Cohen Reacts To Review Criticizing Bob Dylan’s Shot Of Love Album Because It Included “Only One Masterpiece”

Back in the early ’80s, I was having dinner with poet and singer Leonard Cohen, and we were talking about Bob Dylan. Cohen had had dinner with Dylan a few nights earlier, and we were discussing Dylan’s current slump in popularity. He had recently embraced evangelical Christianity and produced a series of religious albums that troubled many fans.Cohen thought the reaction unfair, and was particularly galled by a review blasting Dylan’s album, “Shot of Love,” because it included “only one masterpiece,” which was Dylan’s poignant hymn, “Every Grain of Sand.”

“My God! Only one masterpiece,” Cohen exclaimed, as we ate at a restaurant in Montreal. “Does this guy have any idea what it takes to produce a single masterpiece? I think anything he does merits serious attention.”

From Bob Dylan — A Poet for Our Times by Tom Chaffin (SFGATE: May 23, 2001). Originally posted July 8, 2010 at DrHGuy.com, a predecessor of Cohencentric

The Cohen-Dylan Interface

All posts about Leonard Cohen’s & Bob Dylan’s opinions of each other, their meetings, and comparisons by others can be found at

“Why would [Bob Dylan] go for Jesus at a late time like this? … I don’t get the Jesus part.” Leonard Cohen

dylanturnschristian-jwarnes-lcoohen

Excerpt from Down the Highway: The Life of Bob Dylan by Howard Sounes Grove Press (April 12, 2002) p 336

The Cohen-Dylan Interface

All posts about Leonard Cohen’s & Bob Dylan’s opinions of each other, their meetings, and comparisons by others can be found at

Originally posted Jan 15, 2010 at DrHGuy.com, a predecessor of Cohencentric

“The ‘secret chord’ and the point-blank I-know-you-better-than-you-know-yourself aspect of the song has plenty of resonance for me” Bob Dylan On Leonard Cohen’s Hallelujah

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That song ‘Hallelujah’ has resonance for me. There again, it’s a beautifully constructed melody that steps up, evolves, and slips back, all in quick time. But this song has a connective chorus, which when it comes in has a power all of its own. The ‘secret chord’ and the point-blank I-know-you-better-than-you-know-yourself aspect of the song has plenty of resonance for me.quotedown2

Bob Dylan

 

Leonard Cohen Makes It Darker by David Remnick (New Yorker: October 17, 2016)

The Cohen-Dylan Interface

All posts about Leonard Cohen’s & Bob Dylan’s opinions of each other, their meetings, and comparisons by others can be found at

Leonard Cohen Theorizes That Dylan Pilfered His Missing Tape

[Leonard Cohen] hunts around for a tape of another track. He searches through his desk. Makes a phone call. Looks around the tape machine.

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Can’t find it anywhere. Maybe Dylan came by and stole it.quotedown2

Leonard Cohen

OK, I’m pretty sure Leonard is joking – but this would explain a lot.

Fom Leonard Cohen: Porridge? Lozenge? Syringe? by Adrian Deevoy. Q, 1991.

“Dylan’s a Picasso – that exuberance, range, an assimilation of the whole history of music.” Leonard Cohen

From Leonard Cohen’s Nervous Breakthrough by Mark Rowland, Musician, July 1988

Leonard Cohen-Bob Dylan Interface

A collection of posts about the interface between Leonard Cohen & Bob Dylan, including their opinions of each other, their interactions, and their occasional differences can be found at

Leonard Cohen On Bob Dylan: “He’s probably the most sophisticated singer we’ve had in a generation”

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Most music criticism is in the nineteenth century. It’s so far behind, say, the criticism of painting. It’s still based on nineteenth-century art – cows beside a stream and trees and ‘I know what I like.’ There’s no concession to the fact that Dylan might be a more sophisticated singer than Whitney Houston, that he’s probably the most sophisticated singer we’ve had in a generation.quotedown2

Leonard Cohen

 

Leonard Cohen’s Nervous Breakthrough by Mark Rowland, Musician, July 1988

Leonard Cohen-Bob Dylan Interface

A collection of posts about the interface between Leonard Cohen & Bob Dylan, including their opinions of each other, their interactions, and their occasional differences can be found at

Video: “Bob Dylan & Leonard Cohen At Closing Time” In “Great Moments in Rock & Roll History (That Never Happened)”

grtmomentsThe delightful Bob Dylan & Leonard Cohen At Closing Time is the third of this video’s three parts, beginning at 2:18; on the other hand, the first two parts are themselves worthwhile viewing – even without Leonard.

Great Moments in Rock & Roll History (That Never Happened)
Written & Directed by José Luis González
Video from Ojo Flojo

Note: Originally posted March 17, 2014 at DrHGuy.com, a predecessor of Cohencentric

“I always felt I invented Dylan” Hear 1988 Leonard Cohen Ritz Concert + Pete Fornatale Interview

“I’ve studied all the theologies and all the philosophies, but cheerfulness keeps breaking through.”

This recording includes the July 5, 1988 Leonard Cohen concert at the Ritz in New York and, beginning at 1:39:23, an interview by Pete Fornatale broadcast on Mixed Bag on July 31, 1988 (WNEW FM New York).

Mr. Cohen sang songs that ranged across the breadth of his career, from ”Suzanne” to ”Everybody Knows,” to two versions of his recent song, ”First We Take Manhattan,” in which the fashion world and drugs are held up as symbols of the terminal decay of New York. But the turning point of the evening was Mr. Cohen’s spare voice-and-guitar rendition of ”If It Be Your Will,” one of his two or three finest meditations. A prayer for mercy murmured to the void by a world wearing ”rags of light all dressed to kill,” it received a haunting interpretation in Mr. Cohen’s sepulchral bass-baritone growl.1

The interview includes Leonard Cohen discussing the influence of Bob Dylan and the assistance lent by Judy Collins and Jennifer Warnes, his “cheerfulness keeps breaking through” reference (erroneously attributed to Jonson), his multiple revisions that dramatically changed I Can’t Forget, his first public appearance as a singer, his “If I knew where good songs came from, I go there more often” comment, his religious symbolism and the notion of being punished for sin, the difference between a Ladies’ Man and a Romantic, and saying goodbye.

Update: This video has been removed

Setlist
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  1. Review/Pop; Leonard Cohen Reflects Darkly On the World by Stephen Holden. New York Times: July 9, 1988 []