Leonard Cohen quotes

Leonard Cohen photo
167   3

Leonard Cohen

Birthdate: 21. September 1934
Date of death: 7. November 2016

Leonard Norman Cohen was a Canadian singer, songwriter, poet, and novelist. His work explored religion, politics, isolation, depression, sexuality, loss, death and romantic relationships. Cohen was inducted into the Canadian Music Hall of Fame, the Canadian Songwriters Hall of Fame, and the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame. He was invested as a Companion of the Order of Canada, the nation's highest civilian honour. In 2011, Cohen received one of the Prince of Asturias Awards for literature and the ninth Glenn Gould Prize.

Cohen pursued a career as a poet and novelist during the 1950s and early 1960s; he did not launch a music career until 1967, at the age of 33. His first album, Songs of Leonard Cohen , was followed by three more albums of folk music: Songs from a Room , Songs of Love and Hate and New Skin for the Old Ceremony . His 1977 record Death of a Ladies' Man, co-written and produced by Phil Spector, was a move away from Cohen's previous minimalist sound. In 1979, Cohen returned with the more traditional Recent Songs, which blended his acoustic style with jazz, Oriental, and Mediterranean influences. Perhaps Cohen's most famous song, "Hallelujah", was first released on his studio album Various Positions in 1984. I'm Your Man in 1988 marked Cohen's turn to synthesized productions and remains his most popular album. In 1992, Cohen released its follow-up, The Future, which had dark lyrics and references to political and social unrest.

Cohen returned to music in 2001 with the release of Ten New Songs, which was a major hit in Canada and Europe. His 11th album, Dear Heather, followed in 2004. Following a successful string of tours between 2008 and 2013, Cohen released three albums in the last five years of his life: Old Ideas , Popular Problems and You Want It Darker , the last of which was released three weeks before his death. A posthumous album titled Thanks for the Dance was released in November 2019, his fifteenth studio album.

Works

Beautiful Losers
Beautiful Losers
Leonard Cohen
Book of Longing
Book of Longing
Leonard Cohen

Quotes Leonard Cohen

„I don't know which side is anybody on any more. I don't really care. There is a moment when we have to transcend the side we're on and understand that we are creatures of a higher order.“

—  Leonard Cohen

Introducing "If It Be Your Will"
Warsaw concert (1985)
Context: I don't know which side is anybody on any more. I don't really care. There is a moment when we have to transcend the side we're on and understand that we are creatures of a higher order. That doesn't mean that I don't wish you courage in your struggle. There is on both sides of the struggle men of good will. That is important to remember. On both sides of the struggle, some struggling for freedom, some struggling for safety and solemn testimony of that unbroken faith which binds generations one to another I sing this song, "If It Be Your Will"

„O you've seen that man before
his golden arm dispatching cards
but now it's rusted from the elbow to the finger“

—  Leonard Cohen

"The Stranger Song"
Alludes to the dealer in Nelson Algren's 1949 novel The Man with the Golden Arm.
Context: O you've seen that man before
his golden arm dispatching cards
but now it's rusted from the elbow to the finger
And he wants to trade the game he plays for shelter

„I am so often accused of gloominess and melancholy. And I think I'm probably the most cheerful man around. I don't consider myself a pessimist at all. I think of a pessimist as someone who is waiting for it to rain. And I feel completely soaked to the skin.“

—  Leonard Cohen

As quoted in "The Joking Troubadour of Gloom" in The Daily Telegraph (26 April 1993) http://www.webheights.net/speakingcohen/feb93.htm
Context: I am so often accused of gloominess and melancholy. And I think I'm probably the most cheerful man around. I don't consider myself a pessimist at all. I think of a pessimist as someone who is waiting for it to rain. And I feel completely soaked to the skin. … I think those descriptions of me are quite inappropriate to the gravity of the predicament that faces us all. I've always been free from hope. It's never been one of my great solaces. I feel that more and more we're invited to make ourselves strong and cheerful..... I think that it was Ben Jonson who said, I have studied all the theologies and all the philosophies, but cheerfulness keeps breaking through.

„Well Marianne it's come to this time when we are really so old and our bodies are falling apart and I think I will follow you very soon.“

—  Leonard Cohen

"Leonard Cohen Penned Letter to 'So Long, Marianne' Muse Before Her Death" by Daniel Kreps, in Rolling Stone (7 August 2016) http://www.rollingstone.com/music/news/leonard-cohen-pens-final-letter-to-so-long-marianne-muse-w433144
Context: Well Marianne it's come to this time when we are really so old and our bodies are falling apart and I think I will follow you very soon. Know that I am so close behind you that if you stretch out your hand, I think you can reach mine. … And you know that I've always loved you for your beauty and your wisdom, but I don't need to say anything more about that because you know all about that. But now, I just want to wish you a very good journey. Goodbye old friend. Endless love, see you down the road.

„Goodbye old friend. Endless love, see you down the road.“

—  Leonard Cohen

"Leonard Cohen Penned Letter to 'So Long, Marianne' Muse Before Her Death" by Daniel Kreps, in Rolling Stone (7 August 2016) http://www.rollingstone.com/music/news/leonard-cohen-pens-final-letter-to-so-long-marianne-muse-w433144
Context: Well Marianne it's come to this time when we are really so old and our bodies are falling apart and I think I will follow you very soon. Know that I am so close behind you that if you stretch out your hand, I think you can reach mine. … And you know that I've always loved you for your beauty and your wisdom, but I don't need to say anything more about that because you know all about that. But now, I just want to wish you a very good journey. Goodbye old friend. Endless love, see you down the road.

„But let's not talk of love or chains and things we can't untie,
your eyes are soft with sorrow,
Hey, that's no way to say goodbye.“

—  Leonard Cohen

"Hey, That's No Way To Say Goodbye" · Duet with Judy Collins on Soundstage (January 1976) https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=IVJImYNGqwk
Context: I loved you in the morning, our kisses deep and warm,
Your hair upon the pillow like a sleepy golden storm,
Yes many loved before us, I know that we are not new,
In city and in forest they smiled like me and you,
But let's not talk of love or chains and things we can't untie,
your eyes are soft with sorrow,
Hey, that's no way to say goodbye.

„Oh the sisters of mercy, they are not departed or gone.“

—  Leonard Cohen

"Sisters of Mercy"
Context: Oh the sisters of mercy, they are not departed or gone.
They were waiting for me when I thought that I just can't go on.
And they brought me their comfort and later they brought me this song.
Oh I hope you run into them, you who've been travelling so long.

Help us translate English quotes

Discover interesting quotes and translate them.

Start translating

„There's a blaze of light in every word
It doesn't matter which you heard
The holy or the broken Hallelujah“

—  Leonard Cohen

"Hallelujah"
Various Positions (1984)
Context: You say I took the name in vain
I don't even know the name
But if I did, well really, what's it to you?
There's a blaze of light in every word
It doesn't matter which you heard
The holy or the broken Hallelujah

„I see you standing on the other side.
I don't know how the river got so wide.“

—  Leonard Cohen

" Tower Of Song http://www.lyricsfreak.com/l/leonard+cohen/tower+of+song_20082815.html" - Tower of Song with U2, Video http://vimeo.com/13286028
I'm Your Man (1988)
Context: p>I see you standing on the other side.
I don't know how the river got so wide.
I loved you, baby, way back when.
And all the bridges are burning that
We might have crossed and I feel so close to everything that we've lost.
We'll never, we'll never have to lose it again.Now I bid You farewell, I don't when I'll be back.
They're moving us tomorrow to that tower down the track.
But you'll be hearing from me, baby, long after I'm gone.
I'll speaking to you sweetly
From a window in the Tower Of Song</p

„I have no program, I have no five-year plan.“

—  Leonard Cohen

Introducing "Chelsea Hotel #2"
Warsaw concert (1985)
Context: I have no program, I have no five-year plan. … It doesn’t mean that you shouldn't have one! I just move from hotel to hotel, and from bar to bar, and by the grace of the One above occasionally a song comes, and I remember sitting at this particularly obnoxious Polynesian restaurant where they served a kind of coconut drink that was particularly lethal and sinister which contained no alcohol but a certain chemical that demoralized you entirely. And I remember writing on one of their very badly designed napkins, "I remember you well at the Chelsea Hotel..." so I dedicate this song to one of the great singers, Janis Joplin.

„A saint does not dissolve the chaos; if he did the world would have changed long ago. I do not think that a saint dissolves the chaos even for himself, for there is something arrogant and warlike in the notion of a man setting the universe in order. It is a kind of balance that is his glory.“

—  Leonard Cohen, book Beautiful Losers

Beautiful Losers (1966)
Context: What is a saint? A saint is someone who has achieved a remote human possibility. It is impossible to say what that possibility is. I think it has something to do with the energy of love. Contact with this energy results in the exercise of a kind of balance in the chaos of existence. A saint does not dissolve the chaos; if he did the world would have changed long ago. I do not think that a saint dissolves the chaos even for himself, for there is something arrogant and warlike in the notion of a man setting the universe in order. It is a kind of balance that is his glory. He rides the drifts like an escaped ski. His course is the caress of the hill. His track is a drawing of the snow in a moment of its particular arrangement with wind and rock. Something in him so loves the world that he gives himself to the laws of gravity and chance. Far from flying with the angels, he traces with the fidelity of a seismograph needle the state of the solid bloody landscape. His house is dangerous and finite, but he is at home in the world. He can love the shape of human beings, the fine and twisted shapes of the heart. It is good to have among us such men, such balancing monsters of love.

„You who build these altars now
to sacrifice these children,
you must not do it anymore.“

—  Leonard Cohen

"Story of Isaac"
Songs from a Room (1969)
Context: You who build these altars now
to sacrifice these children,
you must not do it anymore.
A scheme is not a vision
and you never have been tempted
by a demon or a god.

„Please understand, I never had a secret chart
to get me to the heart of this
or any other matter.“

—  Leonard Cohen

"The Stranger Song"
Context: Please understand, I never had a secret chart
to get me to the heart of this
or any other matter.
When he talks like this
you don't know what he's after.

„I haven't been this happy
since the end of World War II.“

—  Leonard Cohen

"Waiting for the Miracle" (co-written with Sharon Robinson)
The Future (1992)
Context: Waiting for the miracle
There's nothing left to do.
I haven't been this happy
since the end of World War II.

„And you want to travel with her,
And you want to travel blind,
And you know that she will trust you,
For you've touched her perfect body with your mind.“

—  Leonard Cohen

"Suzanne" - Isle of Wight performance (1970) http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=n_56ep729TE - Live in London (2008) http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=snMOmHzgssk
Context: Suzanne takes you down to her place near the river.
You can hear the boats go by,
You can spend the night beside her,
And you know that she's half crazy
But that's why you want to be there,
And she feeds you tea and oranges
That come all the way from China.
And just when you mean to tell her
That you have no love to give her
Then she gets you on her wavelength
And she lets the river answer
That you've always been her lover.
And you want to travel with her,
And you want to travel blind,
And you know that she will trust you,
For you've touched her perfect body with your mind.

„I come from a country where we do not have the same struggles as you have. I respect your struggles. And it may surprise you, but I respect both sides of this struggle.“

—  Leonard Cohen

Introducing "Who by Fire"
Warsaw concert (1985)
Context: I come from a country where we do not have the same struggles as you have. I respect your struggles. And it may surprise you, but I respect both sides of this struggle. It seems to be that in Europe there needs to be a left foot and a right foot to move forward. I wish that both feet move forward and the body moves towards its proper destiny. This is an intense country; the people are heroic, the spirit is independent. It is a difficult country to govern, it needs a strong government and a strong union. … I would like to say to you, to the leaders of the left, and the leaders of the right, I sing... I sing for everyone. My song has no flag, my song has no party. And I say the prayer, that we said in our synagogue, I say it for the leader of your union and the leader of your party. May the Lord put a spirit, a wisdom and understanding into the hearts of your leaders and into the hearts of all their counsellors.

„I would like to say to you, to the leaders of the left, and the leaders of the right, I sing… I sing for everyone. My song has no flag, my song has no party.“

—  Leonard Cohen

Introducing "Who by Fire"
Warsaw concert (1985)
Context: I come from a country where we do not have the same struggles as you have. I respect your struggles. And it may surprise you, but I respect both sides of this struggle. It seems to be that in Europe there needs to be a left foot and a right foot to move forward. I wish that both feet move forward and the body moves towards its proper destiny. This is an intense country; the people are heroic, the spirit is independent. It is a difficult country to govern, it needs a strong government and a strong union. … I would like to say to you, to the leaders of the left, and the leaders of the right, I sing... I sing for everyone. My song has no flag, my song has no party. And I say the prayer, that we said in our synagogue, I say it for the leader of your union and the leader of your party. May the Lord put a spirit, a wisdom and understanding into the hearts of your leaders and into the hearts of all their counsellors.

„Lorem ipsum dolor sit amet, consectetuer adipiscing elit. Etiam egestas wisi a erat. Morbi imperdiet, mauris ac auctor dictum.“

Similar authors

Franco Battiato photo
Franco Battiato4
Italian singer-songwriter, composer, and filmmaker
John Lennon photo
John Lennon215
English singer and songwriter
Margaret Atwood photo
Margaret Atwood346
Canadian writer
Freddie Mercury photo
Freddie Mercury29
British singer, songwriter and record producer
Paul McCartney photo
Paul McCartney49
English singer-songwriter and composer
Jean Vanier photo
Jean Vanier36
Canadian humanitarian
John Lydon photo
John Lydon22
English singer, songwriter, and musician
Dolly Parton photo
Dolly Parton33
American singer-songwriter and actress
Bob Marley photo
Bob Marley116
Jamaican singer, songwriter, musician
Alice Munro photo
Alice Munro38
Canadian novelist
Today anniversaries
Pablo Neruda photo
Pablo Neruda136
Chilean poet 1904 - 1973
Malala Yousafzai photo
Malala Yousafzai38
Pakistani children's education activist 1997
Buckminster Fuller photo
Buckminster Fuller163
American architect, systems theorist, author, designer, inv… 1895 - 1983
William Osler photo
William Osler49
Canadian pathologist, physician, educator, bibliophile, his… 1849 - 1919
Another 63 today anniversaries
Similar authors
Franco Battiato photo
Franco Battiato4
Italian singer-songwriter, composer, and filmmaker
John Lennon photo
John Lennon215
English singer and songwriter
Margaret Atwood photo
Margaret Atwood346
Canadian writer
Freddie Mercury photo
Freddie Mercury29
British singer, songwriter and record producer
Paul McCartney photo
Paul McCartney49
English singer-songwriter and composer