The Origins Of Leonard Cohen’s “Thanks For The Dance” Title Track

The posthumous Leonard Cohen album, Thanks For The Dance, will be released Nov 2019. The title track is a consequence of Anjani Thomas, then in the process of creating what would become her 2006 Blue Alert album, latching onto a single line in one of Leonard’s notebooks, “Thanks for the Dance,” and convincing her lover and mentor to develop a complete set of lyrics based on that conceit.

The lyrics are all Cohen’s, gathered from his journals by Anjani, and set to slinky jazz piano by her. The process ranged from uncovering a complete lyric, ‘The Mist’, that she was unaware Cohen had already recorded (for the Phil Spector-produced Death of a Ladies’ Man), to finding a single line, ‘Thanks for the Dance’, that she pressed Cohen to bring to completion.1

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At least one superstar recognized the merits of “Thanks for the Dance:”

One of the first artists to hear [Blue Alert] was Lou Reed, who clasped Anjani’s hands and exclaimed, “Do you know what you’ve done? You’ve written a waltz, and nobody writes waltzes anymore, but “Thanks For The Dance” is an instant classic!”2

And, there’s more:

The gorgeous closing waltz, Thanks for the Dance, was composed at the last minute when the record company suggested the album was too short. [According to Anjani:] “And he’s still got an extra 14 or 15 verses he didn’t use.” 3

Now, I’ve been taken with Thanks For The Dance since first hearing it, because it offers Leonard Cohen’s existential view of love in four lines of his lyrics:

And there’s nothing to do
But to wonder if you
Are as hopeless as me
And as decent

 

Anjani – Thanks For The Dance
Acordes con Leonard Cohen
Video from Alonso dz

 

Also See: “Thanks for the dance, thanks for all the dances, it’s been hell, it’s been swell, it’s been fun. Thanks for the dance, thanks for all the dances – one, two, three, one, two, three, one.” Leonard Cohen On Rebecca De Mornay & Songs That “Illuminate The Moment”

Note: Much of the content of this entry was originally posted Feb 4, 2011 at 1HeckOfAGuy.com.

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  1. Songs For Small-Hours Lovers by Kitty Empire (The Guardian: Apr 29, 2007 ) Emphasis mine. []
  2. About Anjani (Anjani website) []
  3. Cohen – With A Dash Of Honey by Neil McCormick (The Telegraph: May 26, 2007) []

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