Guide To The “Leonard Cohen Experience” Videos: Early Influences, Songwriting, Love, Lifestyle, Zen, Wooing Women With Music, Economics, Songs Vs Poems…

“Leonard Cohen Experience” Videos 1-4: 1988 Interview & Performances

These videos feature segments from an August 1988 Leonard Cohen interview with Mitch Corber, which was to be published in Downtown Magazine (I have been unable to discover if the piece was actually published although the New York Library did purchase the audio tape for their collection), interspersed with songs by Leonard Cohen performed by himself and others. Many of the performances are from the 1988 Austin City Limits show.

Leonard Cohen Experience 1
Interview Content: Comparison of songs and poems; Leonard Cohen’s personal religious perspective; the temptation of lying for love as a theme, King David as a poet and a figure; Buckskin Boys; personal moods; sense of mission; connections between singing and writing careers; style of living; women as companions of the heart.

Songs: Chelsea Hotel #2, Seems So Long Ago Nancy, Lover, Lover, Lover, The Future, Sisters Of Mercy, others.



Leonard Cohen Experience 2

Interview Content: Covers and tributes; success as singer-songwriter and as author; economics as motivator for singing career; style of living (partial repeat of Experience 1 video); purpose of songs; reference for “line moving through the station;” perspective on romanticism and romantic poets; motivation for I’m Your Man; addressing specific women through his songs; references to real events in Suzanne; people as beggars theme.

Songs: First We Take Manhattan, Everybody Knows, So Long, Marianne, If It Be Your Will & Closing Time



Leonard Cohen Experience 3
Interview Content: Role as McGill student, especially his attempts to connect with women; perspective on suicide; physical faults; redemption themes; influence of Bob Dylan; influence of Judy Collins on his career; evolution of Suzanne; meeting John Hammond

Songs: Tower of Song, Joan of Arc, Take This Waltz & The Dove



Leonard Cohen Experience 4
Interview Content: “I studied piano with Miss McDougall,” “I studied the clarinet in high school music classes,” the Montreal School of Poetry, “[Montreal] has stayed my hometown,” the difference between a poem and a song, “I never had a strategy,” being a “partially observant Jew, moral anguish, desire, lying and loving, meditation and studying the self with Roshi, his mission, political view: “to set the world in order,” “all my positions are somewhat ludicrous,” comments on Everybody Knows & Suzanne,

Above excerpt from Various Positions by Ira Nadel.

Songs: Seems So Long Ago, Nancy, Sisters Of Mercy, First We Take Manhattan, Cantor Azi Schwartz’s Hebrew rendition of Hallelujah.


I am republishing selected posts from my former Leonard Cohen site, Cohencentric, here on (these posts can be found at Leonard Cohen). This entry was originally posted June 6, 2013 at

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