Leonard Cohen On His Inspiration For The Original “Band Aid” Opening Lines Of Ain’t No Cure For Love

[Did Ain’t No Cure For Love start out] about the SALT Treaty?

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Actually, one of the things on my mind was that I was very pissed off at Band Aid, this moment in musical history where everyone took care of ‘we gave at the office.’ It was very nice, but first of all, I hadn’t been asked by anybody to sing. [smiles] So the song started off ‘From the heart of man to the heart of God the ladder’s been removed / And there ain’t no band-aid big enough to cover up this wound.’ That idea.quotedown2

Leonard Cohen

“From the heart of man to the heart of God the ladder’s been removed / And there ain’t no band-aid big enough to cover up this wound” is an early version of the opening lines of Ain’t No Cure For Love. The excerpt if from Leonard Cohen’s Nervous Breakthrough by Mark Rowland. Musician: July 1988.

“The whole idea is funny, even though it’s very true” Leonard Cohen On The Surface Meaning Of, The Joke In, & What Jesus Knew About Ain’t No Cure For Love

herminia-sirvent

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In ‘Ain’t No Cure For Love’ … the whole idea is funny, even though it’s very true.  There’s a surface to the song. You don’t have to go beneath the surface. You’re not invited to penetrate the song and analyze it but if you should be so foolish as to want to penetrate the song and analyze it you’d find that it is correct even theologically. Jesus appears in the last verse and whispers to me that you can’t get away from this; even the angelic host understands. Well, Christ who gave himself a lot, who knew that the only way to love was to sacrifice, he knows that if you love, your love will take a wound, so those parts of the world that are inhabited are still there, but nobody’s invited to look at them if they don’t want to. So the song just exists as a song that reaches your ear, but if there’s something else going on all the better. But it’s better to say those things as a joke than to rub somebody’s nose in it.  quotedown2

Leonard Cohen

The last verse to which Leonard Cohen refers follows:

I walked into this empty church, I had no place else to go
When the sweetest voice I ever heard whispered to my soul
I don’t need to be forgiven for loving you so much
It’s written in the scriptures
It’s written there in blood
And I even heard the angels declare it from above
There ain’t no cure, there ain’t no cure, there ain’t no cure for love

From I’m Your Man, by Alberto Manzano. Rockdelux (Spain): May 1988. Photo by Herminia Sirvent.

Aside

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If you do have love it’s a kind of wound, and if you don’t have it it’s worsequotedown2

Leonard Cohen

 

Leonard Cohen, on the genesis of “Ain’t No Cure For Love” in Leonard Cohen’s Nervous Breakthrough by Mark Rowland. Musician: July 1988