“Every man should try to become an elder” Leonard Cohen’s Aspiration As A Singer-Songwriter

From Rolling Stone: Leonard Cohen by Larry Sloman, The Sunday Citizen: May 25, 1975.

More about this theme that endured throughout Leonard Cohen’s career as a singer-songwriter can be found at Leonard Cohen Lays Out His Mission In 1974: “To Become An Elder”

“I’d love to write a hit but I don’t think I know how to do it” Leonard Cohen On The Popularity Of His Music (1984)

I’d love to write a hit but I don’t think I know how to do it. Even Suzanne and Bird On A Wire were never really hits – they were horizontal hits. In concert I have to sing Suzanne, Bird On A Wire, So Long Marianne. People cry out for them. They come to a concert and have been living with your songs for a long time and they want to hear the songs they really like.quotedown2

Leonard Cohen


From Cohen at 50: On His Songs, His Women And Children by Chris Cobb Ottawa Citizen: April 21, 1984. Photo by Pete Purnell .

Leonard Cohen On His Red Needle Cocktail-Fueled Passion For “Always” As A R&B Song

Leonard Cohen prepares Red Needle on Talkshowet 1992-12-05

I like your cover of “Always” on the new record. You once told me that your ambition was to someday wear a tuxedo, stand over by a grand piano, and sing “As Time Goes By.”

Did I? (laughs) “Always” is in 3/4 tempo, but every time I played it, it turned into this 4/4 R&B song. When we got into the studio, I was dispensing this drink I invented in Needles, California, called the Red Needle, and I felt we should all drink a lot of this before we recorded. It’s composed of tequila and cranberry juice and fresh fruit. It’s very colorful and very potent. The version you hear is the shortest version I could find because usually we played it for the entire length of the tape. We couldn’t stop playing it.

From Sincerely, L. Cohen by Brian Cullman (Details for Men, January, 1993). Originally posted Oct 23, 2014 at DrHGuy.com, a predecessor of Cohencentric

Also see Video: Leonard Cohen, Poet-Singer-Songwriter-Mixologist, Recreates His Red Needle Drink On TV

“If they would come a little bit drunk, with someone they love …” Leonard Cohen’s Advice To His Concert Audience

If they would come a little bit drunk, with someone they love, and sit down in the hall and forgive me for my linguistic incapacities. And maybe forgive the hall for it bad acoustics. Perhaps we can lose ourselves in the music and nobody has ask themselves any questions.quotedown2

Leonard Cohen


From TV3 interview that took place before the May 15, 1993 Leonard Cohen concert at the Palau d’Esports.

Leonard Cohen On Seduction, Singers, & The Bee Gees (1984)

I know that some girls like my songs, but a lot more like the Bee Gees. Girls like singers. There are different roles that seduce people and singer is one of them.quotedown2

Leonard Cohen


From Cohen at 50: On His Songs, His Women And Children by Chris Cobb Ottawa Citizen: April 21, 1984. Originally posted November 16, 2014 at DrHGuy.com, a predecessor of Cohencentric

Leonard Cohen Quotes Dylan: “As Dylan says in one of his songs, ‘I know my song well before I start singing’ That’s usually the case because it takes so long to really know it.”

From Lenny Plays It Cool by Bud Scoppa (Music Connection, April 6-19, 1987)

Note: The Dylan song from which Mr Cohen quotes is, of course, “A Hard Rain’s A-Gonna Fall”

Leonard Cohen-Bob 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

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

“I’ve found there’s a certain emptiness to my songs that allows for a lot of interpretations.” Leonard Cohen On Singing His Songs In Different Ways

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When you’re on the road for a long period of time, you tend to sing songs in different ways. You can bring a certain kind of nobility to a depressed lyric, or you can deliver a very affirmative statement like a lamentation. I’ve found there’s a certain emptiness to my songs that allows for a lot of interpretations.quotedown2

Leonard Cohen


From Conversations from a Room by Tom Chaffin. Canadian Forum: August/September 1983. Photo by Armando Fusco. Originally posted July 28, 2012 at DrHGuy.com, a predecessor of Cohencentric

Leonard Cohen On Touring As A Bullfight, An Italian Wedding, A Motorcycle Gang …


2013 Australian Tour Opens Today

Note: This entry was originally posted Nov 13, 2013 at 1HeckOfAGuy.com, a predecessor of Cohencentric. The references to the concert at Perth and the Australian Tour were contemporaneous when first published.

Today’s concert in Perth marks the beginning of Leonard Cohen’s last leg of what could well prove to be his final tour. To commemorate this occasion, I’ve collected some of the Canadian singer-songwriter’s thoughts on touring and concert performance.

A Cohen Concert Comment Compendium

The Italian Wedding Tour:

[Touring is] like an Italian wedding. You kind of know the bride and maybe you’ve met the groom once or twice, but you’ve never met anyone else that’s there. And everyone gets too drunk and eats too much. The morning after you don’t remember much about the wedding. As far as I can see this is my last tour. But the will is frail and I may fall back and it might take 10 more tours to finally quit, or this might be it.1

The Leonard Cohen Bullfighting Tour Metaphor:

Tours are like bullfighting. They are a test of character every night.2

The DrHGuy Corollary To The Bullfighting Tour Metaphor:

And you think being on the other side of the cape is easy?

Leonard Cohen’s father, Nathan. confronts bull

More Bullfighting:

It’s that way for matadors and singers. There’s that life-and-death moment with the audience out there and you’re so exposed.3

The Concert As Boxing Ring Or Ouija Board:

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  1. From Famous Last Words From Leonard Cohen by Paul Saltzman. Maclean’s: June, 1972 []
  2. Ladies and Gents, Leonard Cohen by Jack Hafferkamp. Rolling Stone: February 4, 1971 []
  3. Leonard Cohen Is A Poet Who Is Trying To Be Free by Marci McDonald, Toronto Daily Star, April 26, 1969. []