Leonard Cohen Introduces Bob Dylan’s Music At 1966 Montreal Poets’ Party – It Does Not Go Well

Leonard Cohen: NOT The Canadian Bob Dylan

In 1966, Leonard Cohen introduced Bob Dylan’s music to a group of the preeminent Canadian poets, including F.R. Scott, A.J.M. Smith, Leonard’s friend Layton Irving, his McGill professor Louis Dudek, Al Purdy, and Ralph Gustafson. The response was not encouraging – although a replay at 10 PM did result in dancing.

 

Q: Back in the ’60s, there was talk of you being a Canadian Bob Dylan. Didn’t you make that analogy yourself at the time?

 

quoteup2
No. That got into the press. I’d never say that any more than I’d say I want to be the next William Yeats or the next Bliss Carman. You know how that arose? There was a party at Frank Scott’s house. I had a record of Bob Dylan, and I brought it to this party. There were all these poets, Layton, and Dudek and maybe Phyllis Webb. It was probably Bringing it All Back Home. It was one of his early records I said, fellas, listen to this. This guy’s a real poet. I put the record on, and it was greeted with yawns. They said, ‘That’s not a poet.’ I said, ‘No, I insist, let me play it again.’ They said, ‘Do you want to be that?’ That’s how it arose. But it’s not my syntax. Anyway, they didn’t like it. But I put it on a few more times, and by the end of evening they were dancing.1

 

Leonard Cohen

 

Q: You said that an audience brings a lot to someone like Bob Dylan. They bring a lot to you as well.

 

quoteup2
Yes they do. As I said in the concert, this is every musician’s dream, to stand in front of an audience and not have to prove your credentials, to come into that warmth. Of course, it creates other anxieties, because you really want to deliver. There’s a lot to live up to. But it is quite a rare thing.2

 

Leonard Cohen

 

The following excerpt is from Various Positions: A Life of Leonard Cohen by Ira B. Nadel (Random House of Canada: Oct 29, 2010)

 

 

I am republishing selected posts from my former Leonard Cohen site, Cohencentric, here on AllanShowalter.com (these posts can be found at Leonard Cohen). This entry was originally posted Oct 15, 2016.

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  1. Cohen wore earplugs to a Dylan show? by Brian D. Johnson (Maclean’s: June 12, 2008) []
  2. Cohen wore earplugs to a Dylan show? by Brian D. Johnson (Maclean’s: June 12, 2008) []

2 thoughts on “Leonard Cohen Introduces Bob Dylan’s Music At 1966 Montreal Poets’ Party – It Does Not Go Well

  1. Gates of Heaven

    Of war and peace the truth just twists
    Its curfew gull just glides
    Upon four-legged forest clouds
    The cowboy angel rides
    With his candle lit into the sun
    Though its glow is waxed in black
    All except when ‘neath the trees of Eden

    The lamppost stands with folded arms
    Its iron claws attached
    To curbs ‘neath holes where babies wail
    Though it shadows metal badge
    All and all can only fall
    With a crashing but meaningless blow
    No sound ever comes from the Gates of Eden

    ……………

    What do you think ? Is this poetry ?
    I think so.

    Thanks for the post, So happy you are still around !

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