“Writing [Suzanne] was a sheer act of desperation — of a desperado” Leonard Cohen


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Had I not written ‘Suzanne’ presumably I would be broke and starving, as I was then. At thirty-two or thirty-four, whichever I was when I wrote it, I couldn’t pay my grocery bills, I couldn’t pay the rent, and I had a woman and child to support. Writing that song was a sheer act of desperation — of a desperado.quotedown2

Leonard Cohen

From “Yakety Yak” by Scott Cohen (1994). Originally posted Dec 2, 2014 at DrHGuy.com, a predecessor of Cohencentric

“The kind of thing I like is that you write a song, and it slips into the world, and they forget who wrote it” Leonard Cohen


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The kind of thing I like is that you write a song, and it slips into the world, and they forget who wrote it. And it moves and it changes, and you hear it again three hundred years later, some women washing their clothes in a stream, and one of them is humming this tune.quotedown2

Leonard Cohen

 

From Leonard Cohen Unplugged By Pico Iyer (Buzz: April 1998). Accessed at LeonardCohenFiles. Photo by Johann Agust Hansen. Originally posted Nov 12, 2014 at DrHGuy.com, a predecessor of Cohencentric

Leonard Cohen on “Famous Blue Raincoat” & “Bird On The Wire” as unfinished songs & why he released them anyway

Interviewer: What about “Famous Blue Raincoat?”

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That was written on Clinton Street. I never felt I really sealed that song; I never felt the carpentry was finished. That song and ‘Bird on the Wire’ were two songs I never successfully finished, but they were good enough to be used. Also, with the poverty of songs I have for each record, I can’t afford to discard one as good as that. It’s one of the better tunes I’ve written, but lyrically it’s too mysterious, too unclear.quotedown2

Leonard Cohen

 

Note: View photos of Leonard Cohen’s Clinton Street digs and surroundings at “New York is cold, but I like where I’m living” The View From Leonard Cohen’s 1960s NYC Apartment

Sincerely, L. Cohen by Brian Cullman (Details for Men, January, 1993). Originally posted Oct 10, 2014 at DrHGuy.com, a predecessor of Cohencentric

“In [The Energy Of Slaves] I say that I’m in pain. I don’t say it in those words because I don’t like those words. They don’t represent the real situation.” Leonard Cohen


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I’ve just written a book called The Energy Of Slaves, and in there I say that I’m in pain. I don’t say it in those words because I don’t like those words. They don’t represent the real situation. It took 80 poems to represent the situation of where I am right now. That to me totally acquits me of any responsibility I have of keeping a record public. I put it in the book. It’s carefully worked on, you know. It’s taken many years to write and it’s there. It’ll be between hard covers and it’ll be there for as long as people want to keep it in circulation. It’s careful and controlled and it’s what we call art… It’s my work, that’s all. And part of the nature of my work is to reach people. I mean I’m not very interested in playing to empty halls. My work is to make songs and poems and I use whatever material I have at hand. I don’t have the luxury of a vast range of material. I’m not entirely happy with the subject matter. I’d like to broaden my subject matter but as it is right now I only work with what is given. I am interested in this book’s reception. I’m interested in how it will be received almost more than any other book, because I have the feeling that by making it public I may be making a mistake. I hope that I will find that this gnawing feeling is wrong or that I have misread it.quotedown2

Leonard Cohen

 

From Famous last words from Leonard Cohen by Paul Saltzman (Macleans: June 10, 1972)

Note: Compare with Leonard Cohen On The “Difference Between Life And Art”

“I understand what the blues is now… It’s just talking to your baby.” Leonard Cohen After Stevie Ray Vaughan Performance

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Roscoe [Beck] and I took Leonard to hear Stevie [Ray Vaughan] one night at the Hollywood Bowl, and Leonard was silent for a good half-hour after the show. We were walking in silence to the car. And finally Leonard said: ‘I understand what the blues is now.’ I said, ‘What is it you understand?’ And he said: ‘It’s just talking to your baby.’ In other words: It’s intimate. It’s as close to the truth as possible.quotedown2

Jennifer Warnes

 

Let’s Go To The Well by Brad Buchholz (Austin American-Statesman: 2002). Accessed at Jennifer Warnes website. Photo by Paul Lannuier. Originally posted July 18, 2010 at DrHGuy.com, a predecessor of Cohencentric

Leonard Cohen: “I would love to be admired without the work. … I just know that I’ve got to work.”


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I would love to be admired without the work. And it’s one of the cruel jokes, and I might say one of the comforting jokes, that one also wants to be admired for beauty, for elegance, for graceful limbs, for the music one creates out of just walking from one room to another. I mean one really would like to be loved for one’s animal grace. But even if one were, that is always subject to time. So when you’re involved with another kind of creation that’s not entirely conditional, then there’s a certain comfort in that, too. I just know that I’ve got to work.quotedown2

Leonard Cohen

 

Sincerely, L. Cohen by Brian Cullman (Details for Men, January, 1993). Originally posted Oct 20, 2014 at DrHGuy.com, a predecessor of Cohencentric