I’m Your Man, by Alberto Manzano (Rockdelux (Spain): May 1988)
Have women lost the need for love (romantic or otherwise) from men?
The evidence is that it hasn’t worked out well between men and women, but nobody can penetrate the need. That’s why I write ‘There Ain’t No Cure For Love.’ Nobody can tolerate the ache of separation, nobody can tolerate the vertigo of surrender. But that doesn’t mean we’re going to abandon the whole deal. We’re not going to. Everybody makes a continuing negotiation for a changing deal with love, because we need it so much. A deal with our children, mates, lovers, parents. As men and women.
From Read Leonard Cohen’s exclusive interview with Hot Press from 1988 by Joe Jackson (Hot Press: 11 Nov 2016)
With An Assist From Jennifer Warnes
I had this idea that ‘there ain’t no cure for love’ in every sense of the matter. If you do have [love] it’s a kind of wound, and if you don’t have it it’s worse. And this is what Christ is about: Christ had to die because there ain’t no cure for love. You can’t change this world. And Christ, especially, understood this. So I wrote the whole song on those terms. [Interviewer: What terms?] Theological terms. And then I thought, ‘I’m never gonna get behind this, either. But Jenny [Jennifer Warnes] heard part of the song and she liked it. So I started writing a lyric that would have these ideas somewhere way, way back and no one would have to bother about them but me. It’d just be this love song about a guy who’d lost a girl.
From Leonard Cohen’s Nervous Breakthrough by Mark Rowland, Musician, July 1988. The photo is a gift from Jennifer Warnes.
[Did Ain’t No Cure For Love start out] about the SALT Treaty?
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.
“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.
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.
The 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.