Saturday, December 14, 2019

Leonard Cohen 30-Day Tribute ... Day 22: Album #6 Recent Songs -

Click for "Ballad of the Absent Mare" ***
Day 22: Album #6 Recent Songs - "Ballad of the Absent Mare"

Recent Songs is the sixth studio album by Leonard Cohen, released in 1979. Produced by Leonard Cohen and Henry Lewy, it was a return to Cohen's acoustic folk music after the Phil Spector experimentation of Death of a Ladies' Man, but now with many jazz and Oriental influences.

After recording Death of a Ladies' Man with Phil Spector, a chaotically recorded album that would garner Cohen the worst reviews of his career, the singer decided to produce his next album himself with assistance from Henry Lewy, a German who had previously worked regularly with Joni Mitchell. The album included Gypsy violin player Raffi Hakopian, English string arranger Jeremy Lubbock, Armenian oud player (located in Los Angeles) John Bilezikjian and even a Mexican Mariachi band.

Long-time Cohen collaborator Jennifer Warnes appeared prominently in vocal tracks. Members of the band Passenger, whom Cohen also met through Mitchell, played on four of the songs. Garth Hudson of the Band also appeared on the album.

Unlike the psychodrama evident on the Spector-dominated Death of a Ladies' Man, Recent Songs, which was recorded at A&M Studios in Hollywood in the spring of 1979, sounds lucid by comparison. In the book Leonard Cohen: A Remarkable Life, oud player John Bilezikjian recalls to author Anthony Reynolds, "Sessions started in the afternoon and we'd go into the evenings. No drinking, that I saw, no visitors. Finished at a reasonable time, no early hours stuff...He let me do whatever it was I wanted to do. He trusted my sense of musicality. He would be with a microphone and headphones and we'd all be wired up in our separate booths and we'd listen and add our part." The album had a largely acoustic, Eastern-tinged flavor and was augmented by the singing of Jennifer Warnes and newcomer Sharon Robinson, who would go on to become one of Cohen's favorite musical collaborators.

Side one
View full tribute playlist here.

  1. "The Guests" – 6:40
  2. "Humbled in Love" – 5:15
  3. "The Window" – 5:56
  4. "Came So Far for Beauty" (Cohen, John Lissauer) – 4:04
  5. "The Lost Canadian (Un Canadien errant)" (Traditional, Antoine Gérin-Lajoie) – 4:42

Side two

  1. "The Traitor" – 6:16
  2. "Our Lady of Solitude" – 3:13
  3. "The Gypsy's Wife" – 5:13
  4. "The Smokey Life" – 5:19
  5. "Ballad of the Absent Mare" – 6:26 ***

Friday, December 13, 2019

Leonard Cohen 30-Day Tribute ... Day 21: Album #5 "Death of a Ladies' Man"

Click here for "Death of a Ladies' Man" ***
Day 21: Album #5 - Death of a Ladies' Man

1977: the fifth studio album by Leonard Cohen. Produced and co-written by Phil Spector, the voice of typically minimalist Cohen was surrounded by Spector's Wall of Sound, which included multiple tracks of instrument overdubs. The album was originally released by Warner Bros., but was later picked up by Cohen's long-time label, Columbia Records.

Wikipedia: By the mid-1970s, both Cohen and Spector were on a downward slide commercially. Although he remained quite popular in Europe, Cohen had never managed to achieve the success in the United States that Columbia had hoped for.

Spector, who had created scores of hits like "Be My Baby" and "You've Lost That Lovin' Feelin'" with his Wall of Sound production technique in the 1960s, had experienced a rebirth of sorts in the early seventies by producing albums by John Lennon and George Harrison but, as the decade wore on, the always eccentric producer's behaviour became increasingly unhinged. The craziness would escalate when Spector reunited with Lennon to record a rock and roll oldies project called Roots, which would eventually come out in 1975 under the title Rock 'n' Roll. The sessions took place in a chaotic fog of drugs, booze, and hangers-on as the equally troubled Lennon drank his way through his infamous "lost weekend." In the 2003 book Phil Spector: Wall of Pain, biographer Dave Thompson recounts one famous incident when Spector, a notorious gun nut, fired off a pistol in the studio. "Listen Phil, if you're goin' to kill me, kill me, " Lennon remarked dryly, "but don't fuck with me ears. I need 'em." Such behaviour did Spector's reputation no favors, and as the hits dried up he was viewed more and more by the rock press as an oldies act. 

Side one
View full tribute playlist here.
  1. "True Love Leaves No Traces" – 4:26
  2. "Iodine" – 5:03
  3. "Paper Thin Hotel" – 5:42
  4. "Memories" – 5:59
    • Outro includes a quotation from The Shields' 1958 single "You Cheated, You Lied"[7][8] and a reference to classic-era pop singer Frankie Laine.

Side two

  1. "I Left a Woman Waiting" – 3:28
  2. "Don't Go Home with Your Hard-On" – 5:36
  3. "Fingerprints" – 2:58
  4. "Death of a Ladies' Man" – 9:19 ***

Thursday, December 12, 2019

Leonard Cohen 30-Day Tribute ... Day 20: Album #4 New Skin for the Old Ceremony

Click here for "Who by Fire" ***
Day 20: Album #4 - "Who by Fire"

Released in 1974, New Skin for the Old Ceremony is the fourth studio album by Leonard Cohen. On this album he began to move away from the minimal instrumentation of his earlier work, with the use of violas, mandolins, banjos, guitars, percussion and other instruments producing a more orchestrated (but nevertheless spare) sound. The album has been certified silver in the UK, but never entered the Billboard Top 200.

Wikipedia: For his fourth album, Cohen chose to work with John Lissauer, a recent college graduate and rising producer whose jazz background contrasted sharply with Bob Johnston, the Nashville-based producer who had been at the helm of Cohen's two previous releases. Lissauer assembled a new group of musicians to join Cohen in the studio, including double bass player John Miller, as well as engineers Rip Lowell and Leanne Ungar. Lissauer brought a European tinge to many of the songs, adding a depth and richness by employing woodwinds, viola, and strings. The album is notable for its very dry mix, with reverb and echo used very sparingly.

Side one
View full tribute playlist here.

  1. "Is This What You Wanted" – 4:13
  2. "Chelsea Hotel #2" – 3:06
  3. "Lover Lover Lover" – 3:19
  4. "Field Commander Cohen" – 3:59
  5. "Why Don't You Try" – 3:50
Side two
  1. "There Is a War" – 2:59
  2. "A Singer Must Die" – 3:17
  3. "I Tried to Leave You" – 2:40
  4. "Who by Fire" – 2:33 ***
  5. "Take This Longing" – 4:06
  6. "Leaving Green Sleeves" – 2:38


Wednesday, December 11, 2019

Leonard Cohen 30-Day Tribute ... Day 19: Album #3 - "Joan of Arc"

Click here for "Joan of Arc with Jennifer Warnes and Cohen
Day 19: Album #3 - Songs of Love and Hate - "Joan of Arc"

The third studio album by Canadian singer-songwriter Leonard Cohen. Produced by Bob Johnston, Columbia Records.
the album was released on March 19, 1971, through Columbia Records.

Wikipedia: "Joan of Arc" is constructed mainly as a dialogue between Joan of Arc and the fire which is consuming her as she burns at the stake, after having been found guilty of heresy (in 1431). In the song, Joan says that she is "tired of the war" and tells how she would rather be wearing a white wedding dress (one of the charges against her was that she dressed as a man). Joan's surrender to the fire, as its bride, may also be seen as a symbol of her religious fervor and commitment. In a 1988 interview with John McKenna of RTE Ireland, Cohen said of "Joan of Arc," "I was thinking more of this sense of a destiny that human beings have and how they meet and marry their destiny...I don't want to suggest in that song that what she really wanted to be was a housewife. What I mean to say is that as lonely and as solitudinous as she was she had to meet and be embraced by her destiny...seen from the point of view of the woman's movement she really does stand for something stunningly original and courageous."
Side one
View full tribute playlist here.

  1. "Avalanche" – 5:07
  2. "Last Year's Man" – 6:02
  3. "Dress Rehearsal Rag" – 6:12
  4. "Diamonds in the Mine" – 3:52

Side two

  1. "Love Calls You by Your Name" – 5:44
  2. "Famous Blue Raincoat" – 5:15
  3. "Sing Another Song, Boys" (Live at the Isle of Wight Festival, August 31, 1970) – 6:17
  4. "Joan of Arc" – 6:29 -- (I like the combination of Jennifer Warnes and Cohen better than the original.)

Bonus track on 2007 remastered edition

  1. "Dress Rehearsal Rag" (Bonus track, early version, an outtake recorded during the Songs From a Room sessions, 1968) – 5:37

Tuesday, December 10, 2019

Leonard Cohen 30-Day Tribute ... Day 18: Album #2 - Bird on the Wire

Click here for original. **
Day 18: Album #2: Songs from a Room is the second album by Canadian musician Leonard Cohen, Billboard Top LPs and No. 2 on the UK charts. Released in 1969. It reached No. 63 on the U.

Wikipedia: Unlike his augmented debut, Cohen's sophomore effort is austere by comparison, with considerably less drums, and featuring a stripped-down approach that emphasize the words rather than the musical arrangements. In 2001, Cohen admitted to Sylvie Simmons of Mojo, "It's very stark. A lot of my friends who were musical purists had castigated me for the lushness and over-production of my first record and I was determined to do a very simple album."

Side one
  1. "Bird on the Wire" – 3:28 **
  2. "Story of Isaac" – 3:38
  3. "A Bunch of Lonesome Heroes" – 3:18
  4. "The Partisan" (Hy Zaret, Anna Marly) – 3:29
  5. "Seems So Long Ago, Nancy" – 3:41

Side two
View full tribute playlist here.

  1. "The Old Revolution" – 4:50
  2. "The Butcher" – 3:22
  3. "You Know Who I Am" – 3:32
  4. "Lady Midnight" – 3:01
  5. "Tonight Will Be Fine" – 3:53

Bonus tracks

  1. "Like a Bird (Bird on the Wire)" – 3:21
  2. "Nothing to One (You Know Who I Am)" – 2:17

Monday, December 9, 2019

Leonard Cohen 30-Day Tribute ... Day 17: Album #1 Songs of Leonard Cohen

Click here for So Long, Marianne **

Day 17: Album #1 Songs of Leonard Cohen, "So Long, Marianne"

This is the debut album by Canadian folk singer-songwriter Leonard Cohen, released on December 27, 1967 on Columbia Records. Less successful in the US than in Europe, Songs of Leonard Cohen foreshadowed the kind of chart success Cohen would go on to achieve. It reached number 83 on the Billboard 200, achieving gold status in the US in 1989. It peaked at number 13 on the UK Albums Chart, spending nearly a year and a half on it.

Side A
View full tribute playlist here.

  1. "Suzanne" – 3:48
  2. "Master Song" – 5:55
  3. "Winter Lady" – 2:15
  4. "The Stranger Song" – 5:00
  5. "Sisters of Mercy" – 3:32
Side B
  1. "So Long, Marianne" – 5:38 **
  2. "Hey, That's No Way to Say Goodbye" – 2:55
  3. "Stories of the Street" – 4:35
  4. "Teachers" – 3:01
  5. "One of Us Cannot Be Wrong" – 4:23
Bonus tracks on 2007 reissue
  1. "Store Room" – 5:06
  2. "Blessed Is the Memory" – 3:03

Sunday, December 8, 2019

Leonard Cohen 30-Day Tribute ... Day 16: I'm Your Man

Day 16: "I'm Your Man" song and interview with biographer Sylvie Simmons.

Wikipedia: I'm Your Man is the eighth studio album by Leonard Cohen,[2] released in 1988. The album marked Cohen's further move to a more modern sound, with many songs having a synth-oriented production. It soon became the most successful album which Cohen had released in the US, and it reached number one in several European countries, transforming Cohen into a best-selling artist.[3]

Cohen said of the song "I'm Your Man": "I sweated over that one. I really sweated over it. I can show you the notebook for that. It started off as a song called "I Cried Enough for You".


Click here for interview.
Author Sylvie Simmons discusses her new book I'm Your Man: The Life of Leonard Cohen"with Liel Leibovitz, senior writer, Tablet Magazine Simmons and Leibovitz discuss the fascinating life of the iconic singer-songwriter Leonard Cohen- a Rock and Roll Hall of Famer and descendent of a Talmudic scholar- whose brilliant career has spanned more than four decades.

Saturday, December 7, 2019

Leonard Cohen 30-Day Tribute ... Day 15: You want it darker

Click here for the video.
Day 15: You want it darker

I didn't expect to like this one ... it sounded too ... too dark. But it is haunting, both the lyrics and the music ... and, of course, his voice ... even at 82.

By the fifth time listening to it, I was weeping without knowing why.

Wikipedia: ... the fourteenth studio album by Canadian singer-songwriter Leonard Cohen, released on October 21, 2016, by Columbia Records, nineteen days before Cohen's death.[1][2] The album was created towards the end of his life and focuses on death, God, and humor.

A YouTube commenter says:
No one ever mentions what he says before, “I’m ready my lord” - “Hineni” This is what Abraham said to G-d when he was ready to sacrifice Isaac. Like the last verse of hallelujah, “even though it all went wrong, I’ll stand right here before the lord of song with nothing on my tongue but hallelujah” this is a submission. It’s throwing your hands up and saying you win I want out. Only this time his death was right around the corner and he knew that.

Another says:
"Hineni" ("Here I am") There is a powerful word in Hebrew that sums up three words in English. The word is "Hineni" (הנני). "Hineni" means “Here I am!” But you’ve got to watch out how you say it because it is a way of expressing total readiness to give oneself – it’s an offer of total availability. When God Yahwhuah approached Abraham to ask him to offer his only true son as a sacrifice, Abraham responded, “Hineni!” not knowing what God Yahwhuah was about to ask!

When God Yahwhuah called out to Moses from the burning bush, Moses replied, “Hineni!”. And you know what assignment he was given, and what happened next? God Yahwhuah called out to the young boy Samuel three times before Samuel finally responded, “Hineni! I’m listening!” Many hundreds of years later, when God Yahwhuah asked who would go for him in, Isaiah 6, and the prophet willingly offered himself with a cry of “Hineni!” Send me! - Then what? Many hundred years later, Yahwhuah took the responsibility himself and said: "Hineni" here I am" and was born as Yahshuah, to the benefit (Goodness) of us all! 


If you are the dealer, I'm out of the game
If you are the healer, it means I'm broken and lame
If thine is the glory then mine must be the shame
You want it darker
We kill the flame

Magnified, sanctified, be thy holy name
Vilified, crucified, in the human frame
A million candles burning for the help that never came
You want it darker
Hineni, hineni
I'm ready, my lord

There's a lover in the story
But the story's still the same
There's a lullaby for suffering
And a paradox to blame
But it's written in the scriptures
And it's not some idle claim
You want it darker
We kill the flame

They're lining up the prisoners
And the guards are taking aim
I struggled with some demons
They were middle class and tame
I didn't know I had permission to murder and to maim
You want it darker
Hineni, hineni
I'm ready, my lord

Magnified, sanctified, be thy holy name
Vilified, crucified, in the human frame
A million candles burning for the love that never came
You want it darker
We kill the flame

If you are the dealer, let me out of the game
If you are the healer, I'm broken and lame
If thine is the glory, mine must be the shame
You want it darker
Hineni, hineni
Hineni, hineni
I'm ready, my lord

Hineni, hineni
Source: LyricFind
Songwriters: Leonard Cohen / Patrick Leonard
You Want It Darker lyrics © Sony/ATV Music Publishing LLC, Kobalt Music Publishing Ltd.

Friday, December 6, 2019

Leonard Cohen 30-Day Tribute ... Day 14: Interview 1980 - Where were you?

Click here for interview.
Day 14: Interview 1980

From YouTube notes: Extensive interview by Patrick Watson, broadcast on CBC February 8th 1980 in the show 'Authors'. With poem readings of Death of a Lady's Man. 
Leonard talking about drugs, writing, marriage and many other things. I've reconstructed the interview by using two sources compromising between the best quality and the completeness of the interview. This explains the differences in quality of certain passages. "It's too late to change my name and it's too late for suicide"
Almost 40 years ago.  
Where was I? Where were you? Leonard's gone and we're still here ... forty years wiser? I haven't actually listened to this interview yet; it's 45 minutes long so I'm going to listen to his words and see how they weave into my own life of 40 years ago.

Would love to hear your comments.

Thursday, December 5, 2019

Leonard Cohen 30-Day Tribute ... Day 13: "Take this Waltz"

Day 13: Take this Waltz

This song inevitably prompts me into dancing around my kitchen. In addition to being the singer we love, Leonard Cohen published several books of poetry embellished by his sketches.


Leonard Cohen wrote the poems in Book of Longing, his first book of poetry in more than twenty years, during his five-year stay at a Zen monastery on Southern California's Mount Baldy, and in Los Angeles, Montreal, and Mumbai. This dazzling collection is enhanced by the author's playful and provocative drawings, which interact in exciting, unexpected ways on the page with poetry that is timeless, meditative, and often darkly humorous. An international sensation, Book of Longing contains all the elements that have brought Cohen's artistry with language worldwide recognition.  

Here's a page from the book:

"Take this Waltz" was released as part of the 1986 Federico García Lorca tribute album Poet in New York (Poeta en Nueva York)[1] and as a single.

The song's lyrics are a loose translation, into English, of the poem "Pequeño vals vienés" (Little Viennese Waltz) by the Spanish poet Federico García Lorca (one of Cohen's favorite poets). The poem was first published in Lorca's seminal book Poeta en Nueva York. The song reached number one in Spain in 1986.[2] 
-- Wikipedia

Now in Vienna there are ten pretty women
There's a shoulder where Death comes to cry
There's a lobby with nine hundred windows
There's a tree where the doves go to die
There's a piece that was torn from the morning
And it hangs in the Gallery of Frost
Aey, aey, aey, aey
Take this waltz, take this waltz
Take this waltz with the clamp on its jaws
Oh, I want you, I want you, I want you
On a chair with a dead magazine
In the cave at the tip of the lilly
In some hallway where love's never been
On a bed where the moon has been sweating
In a cry filled with footsteps and sand
Aey, aey, aey, aey
Take this waltz, take this waltz
Take its broken waist in your hand
This waltz, this waltz, this waltz, this waltz
With its very own breath of brandy and Death
Dragging its tail in the sea
There's a concert hall in Vienna
Where your mouth had a thousand reviews
There's a bar where the boys have stopped talking
They've been sentenced to death by the blues
Ah, but who is it climbs to your picture
With a garland of freshly cut tears?
Aey, aey, aey, aey
Take this waltz, take this waltz
Take this waltz, it's been dying for years
There's an attic where children are playing
Where I've got to lie down with you soon
In a dream of Hungarian lanterns
In the mist of some sweet afternoon
And I'll see what you've chained to your sorrow
All your sheep and your lillies of snow
Aey, aey, aey, aey
Take this waltz, take this waltz
With its "I'll never forget you, you know"
This waltz, this waltz, this waltz, this waltz
With its very own breath of brandy and Death
Dragging its tail in the sea
And I'll dance with you in Vienna
I'll be wearing a river's disguise
The hyacinth wild on my shoulder
My mouth on the dew of your thighs
And I'll bury my soul in a scrapbook
With the photographs there, and the moss
And I'll yield to the flood of your beauty
My cheap violin and my cross
And you'll carry me down on your dancing
To the pools that you lift on your wrist
Oh my love, oh my love
Take this waltz, take this waltz
It's yours now, it's all that there is

Wednesday, December 4, 2019

Leonard Cohen 30-Day Tribute ... Day 12: Everybody Knows

Portrait by Verne Busby

Day 12: Everybody Knows

More information about this fascinating song comes from an unusual source: The Financial Times Limited 2018

In the mid-1980s Leonard Cohen was mired in a deep depression. His most recent album, 1984’s Various Positions, had received a lukewarm reception and had been turned down by Columbia Records in America. The ignominy almost proved too much to bear for the Canadian songwriter, who began toying with the idea of retiring in order to join a monastery.

But something stopped him. The lucent spirituality which had shone through his last record, not least on the hymn-like “Hallelujah”, was gone, leaving behind an unshakeable feeling of cynicism and resignation. “I got some sense ... this is the fallout, the residue, the dust of some catastrophe, and there’s nothing to grasp onto,” he would later say of his apostasy.

This fatalism eventually liberated Cohen, who found himself feeling freer to take more risks in his songwriting. The result was 1988’s I’m Your Man, a profane, ironic and searingly honest album. And no song better encapsulates Cohen’s new-found identity as the mordant, weary sage than “Everybody Knows”.
Norah Jones considered the best cover version. Click Here.

For nearly six minutes Cohen unveils a defeatist vision of a duplicitous and morally benighted world. Darkness seeps through the track in both Cohen’s cigarette-infused snarl and the foreboding melody, which sees a heavy synth beat uncannily accompanied by sinuous oud. The lyrics, polemical and poetic, were co-written by Cohen with longtime collaborator Sharon Robinson, and touch on everything from racial and financial inequality to drug abuse, the Aids crisis and infidelity — albeit in his own wonderfully oblique style. Yet the song’s tone isn’t that of po-faced admonition but of gallows humour born from a realisation that you can’t change a society that is already rotten to its core; we can picture Cohen smirking as he delivers the line: “Everybody knows that you’ve been faithful, give or take a night or two.”

These are not lyrics that one would expect to hear sung by a peppy 21-year-old pop star. But in 2017 the Norwegian singer Sigrid covered “Everybody Knows” for the DC Comics Justice League film, bringing Cohen’s words to an entirely new audience. In fact, her mellifluous, if overly earnest, piano-led rendition has already garnered three times as many views on YouTube as the original. And despite the incongruous context, Sigrid’s cover does well to retain the song’s inherent eeriness.
“Everybody Knows” was also prominently featured on the soundtrack of the 1990 cult-favourite teen-angst film Pump Up the Volume, for which a new version of the song was recorded by alt-rockers Concrete Blonde. Their cover succeeded in adapting Cohen’s unmistakably 1980s synth sound to the guitar-dominated age of grunge, while lead singer Johnette Napolitano takes care to accentuate the sardonic lyrics with her arch vocal performance.

In 1995 an eclectic group of artists was assembled to record covers for a compilation album in celebration of Cohen’s career. The former Eagles frontman Don Henley chose “Everybody Knows” and rather jarringly turned Cohen’s macabre tune into a catchy singalong rock anthem featuring a bluesy organ and guitar accompaniment. Eleven years later it was the singer-songwriter — and father to one of Cohen’s grandchildren — Rufus Wainwright who recorded “Everybody Knows” for a new tribute anthology. In the starkest of tonal shifts, Wainwright decided to reimagine the song as a swinging, sultry bossa nova hit complete with accordion, snare drum and brass section. Somehow it works.

The Innu-Canadian singer Florent Vollant took things a step further in 2004 by completely rewriting the song in the indigenous Inuktitut language. This version, called “Tshissensitenanu”, retains the general rhythm of the original but replaces the caustic lyrics with new, touchingly identity-affirming words about the Innu people.

Perhaps the best cover, though, was the one performed by Norah Jones at a show in Paris soon after Cohen’s death was announced in November 2016. Now a staple of her live sets, Jones’s take on “Everybody Knows” is a pared-back affair. Her velvety vocals and jazz piano licks give it a pleasantly languid mood and an intimate lounge-bar sound; it almost makes us feel as if we, her listeners, are a select group to whom the hard truths about the world have been revealed in confidence.

In reality though we are among the millions on whom Cohen’s striking words have left their indelible mark. It’s no surprise that the song came fourth in a Rolling Stone readers’ poll of his greatest hits, but the fact that three tracks came ahead of this particular masterpiece emphasises Cohen’s stature as a near-peerless songwriter. Then again, everybody knows that already.

Tuesday, December 3, 2019

Leonard Cohen 30-Day Tribute ... Day 11: Leonard Cohen on Life

Day 11: Three part interview with Stina Dabrowski in Paris in 2001. The interview touches on his years in the Zen center, thoughts on the women in his life, and how he has found peace in his old age. He reads a few of his poems and video snippets from some of his songs are interspersed in the conversation.

This is a gentle interview, somewhat charged with sexual energy, but the interviewer patiently waits for the answers. I got the impression that Cohen was nervous but always took the time to find his own authentic answers to the questions.

He never embellishes and, for all his fame and success, he never seems anything other than kind, authentic, and humble. His smile is delightful. Someone commented that the interviewer is smitten ... I would be, too.

Click here for video:

Monday, December 2, 2019

Leonard Cohen 30-Day Tribute ... Day 10: Everybody Knows

Day 10: Everybody Knows

In the interview posted yesterday, Cohen calls his voice disagreeable and says that's why he likes to have women's "sweet voices" backing him up.

From Song Meanings: "Leonard Cohen's bitterly pessimistic song about the state of the world in the late 1980s. When he first introduced the song, he said, "Here's a terrible new song. Yes, it embodies all my darkest thoughts. Here it comes."

In regards to the verse about the plague, Cohen said in an interview, 'The plague in the most physical sense is AIDS. But there's another kind of plague going on too, of which AIDS is one of the symptoms. If indeed disease does have ultimately a psychic origin, then there's a plague of alienation and separation and lassitude and panic; a sense of not being in control.'"

YouTube offers such a wide range of offerings that it's possible to compare the song sung at different times in his career.

Here are some different versions, starting with its release in 1988.

Everybody Knows 1988 ... lovely mandolin riffs

Leonard Cohen - Everybody Knows (Live in London) 2008
 ... Cohen seems to be really enjoying his musicians and backup ... my favorite version 

Everybody Knows Live in Dublin 2014


Everybody knows that the dice are loaded
Everybody rolls with their fingers crossed
Everybody knows the war is over
Everybody knows the good guys lost
Everybody knows the fight was fixed
The poor stay poor, the rich get rich
That's how it goes
Everybody knows
Everybody knows that the boat is leaking
Everybody knows that the captain lied
Everybody got this broken feeling
Like their father or their dog just died
Everybody talking to their pockets
Everybody wants a box of chocolates
And a long-stem rose
Everybody knows
Everybody knows that you love me baby
Everybody knows that you really do
Everybody knows that you've been faithful
Ah, give or take a night or two
Everybody knows you've been discreet
But there were so many people you just had to meet
Without your clothes
And everybody knows
Everybody knows, everybody knows
That's how it goes
Everybody knows
Everybody knows, everybody knows
That's how it goes
Everybody knows
And everybody knows that it's now or never
Everybody knows that it's me or you
And everybody knows that you live forever
Ah, when you've done a line or two
Everybody knows the deal is rotten
Old Black Joe's still pickin' cotton
For your ribbons and bows
And everybody knows
And everybody knows that the Plague is coming
Everybody knows that it's moving fast
Everybody knows that the naked man and woman
Are just a shining artifact of the past
Everybody knows the scene is dead
But there's gonna be a meter on your bed
That will disclose
What everybody knows
And everybody knows that you're in trouble
Everybody knows what you've been through
From the bloody cross on top of Calvary
To the beach of Malibu
Everybody knows it's coming apart
Take one last look at this Sacred Heart
Before it blows
And everybody knows
Everybody knows, everybody knows
That's how it goes
Everybody knows
Everybody knows, everybody knows
That's how it goes
Everybody knows
Everybody knows, everybody knows
That's how it goes
Everybody knows
Everybody knows

Sunday, December 1, 2019

Leonard Cohen 30-Day Tribute ... Day 9: Leonard Cohen interview about life and creativity

Leonard Cohen in Greece

 Day 9: Leonard talks about life and his creative process.

In 2009 in his small Montreal home, Leonard Cohen is interviewed by Jian Ghomeshi for Q TV. It is a fascinating interview where Cohen comes across as a thoughtful, modest man. He says it has been his job to "cultivate his small garden."

He talks about his experience in the third act of life and quotes Tennessee Williams as saying,
"Life is a fairly well written play, except for the third act."
Another part of the interview that I particularly enjoyed was his discussion of how he avoids "slogans" in his work. Slogans being the memes and cliches that float through the air and sometimes wind up in our writings. His process of writing a verse and then going back through it to remove the slogans and find other ways of getting to the truth seemed very powerful.

After his muse, the love of Leonard's life may have been Marianne Ihlen, whom he met on the Greek island of Hydra. The movie "Words of Love" is about their relationship. Death came to them within a few months of each other and here's Leonard's last letter to her:
Dearest Marianne,
I’m just a little behind you, close enough to take your hand. This old body has given up, just as yours has too, and the eviction notice is on its way any day now.
I’ve never forgotten your love and your beauty. But you know that. I don’t have to say any more. Safe travels old friend. See you down the road. Love and gratitude.
— Leonard
Marianne died aged 81 on July 28, 2016, in Oslo.
Cohen died aged 82 later that year on November 7, 2016. (Wikipedia)