From Harry Rasky’s The Song of Leonard Cohen (1979). Photo by Pete Purnell.
I don’t want to get into performing too much because I’ve always seen song and poetry as the evidence of the life rather than the life itself, the picture of life is straight and if you really are experiencing things then this work is the evidence of that experience. If your experience only becomes putting out for the public, and we are all whores in a certain level because we’re out there every night like the entertainer, but for me I couldn’t live that life totally because I know it would dry things up.
From The Sounds Interview 1971 by Billy Walker. Sounds: October 23, 1971. The image atop this post is the back cover of Flowers for Hitler by Leonard Cohen Jonathan Cape (UK): 1973. Photo by Sophie Baker. Originally posted June 14, 2013 at DrHGuy.com, a predecessor of Cohencentric
The reason I’ve stayed away from it [other people’s materials] mostly is because I started writing my own songs because I couldn’t really learn the tunes of other songs. I would love to and if I could really sing well I’d sing everybody’s songs but I feel if I sing my own songs nobody can complain. I think if you sing your own songs you can really embody the vision in the song but I wouldn’t like to try it with ‘0 Sole Mio’.
From The Sounds Interview 1971 by Billy Walker. Sounds: October 23, 1971. Photo Credit: Peter Brosseau/Library and Archives Canada/PA-170174. Note: Originally posted June 13, 2013 at DrHGuy.com, a predecessor of Cohencentric
Leonard Cohen at Nov 18, 2012 Edmonton Concert, quoted in Godfather of Blissful Doom by Mike Ross (Edmonton Sun: Nov 18, 2012). Originally posted Nov 19, 2012 at DrHGuy.com, a predecessor of Cohencentric
From ”En tunne vanhenevani lainkaan” – Leonard Cohen Soundissa 1976: The 2016 reprint of a June 1976 Leonard Cohen interview by Dougie Gordon. (Soundi: Nov 11, 2016). Via computer translation. Photo of “Leonard Cohen playing for my mom & uncle, early 1950s, at my great grandmother’s summer camp” by noahbloom
I wish it didn’t take so long to finish a song and to make a record… it seems to be a long process… it’s trying to discover how I really feel about something. To move a song from a slogan to an authentic expression is really what the enterprise is about… discarding the lines that come too easy… waiting until something else bubbles up that is a little truer… There’s the writing of the song, which can be laborious and difficult; there’s the recording of the song in the studio, which also takes a tremendous concentration… to materialize the songs. And then the third part of the process is singing the songs in front of other people.
Cohen’s career took a new jog when, one day in the summer of 1965 in a suite in Toronto’s King Edward Hotel, Cohen sat on a sagging couch composing tunes on a mouth organ. In between he tried singing his poems to a friend. In an adjoining bedroom, visible through an open door, a naked couple twisted and moaned through the songs, their concentration on Leonard’s music and their own rhythms clearly affected by middle-class amounts of cocaine and marijuana. Cohen chose to interpret their noises positively. “I think I’m going to record myself singing my poems,” he said. His friend winced at the sound of Cohen’s nasal voice. “Please don’t,” she replied. The admonition showed much esthetic sense but lacked all commercial judgment. In 1967 Cohen released his first album, Songs of Leonard Cohen, and a cult of international dimensions was established. Today his books can be read in 11 languages: book sales are over two million volumes and record sales are around the 9‘/2-million mark. His Selected Poems sold 700,000 copies in the United States alone. “A phenomenal sale for a book of poetry,” says Viking Press President Thomas Ginsburg.
From Leonard Cohen Says That to All the Girls by Barbara Amiel. Maclean’s: Sept 18, 1978. \