Two brief excerpts from a 1995 telephone interview of Leonard Cohen by Joe Jackson are available on YouTube.
Leonard Cohen On Literary Influences – 1995
In the first, Cohen discusses the literary voices, many of which were Irish, that influenced his own work. Cohen quotes from the final paragraph of The Dead (The Dead is the final short story in the 1914 collection Dubliners by James Joyce), making a minor error in the process:
Leonard Cohen: “snow was general over all of Ireland”
James Joyce: “snow was general all over Ireland”1
Leonard Cohen On Bono’s Cover Of Hallelujah – 1995
Joe Jackson, the interviewer, asks some provocative questions about Bono’s performance of “Hallelujah” on the Tower Of Song tribute album. Jackson, for example, points out that Bono changed Cohen’s original lyrics, “nothing on my tongue,” (from the line before the final chorus, “With nothing on my tongue but Hallelujah”) to “nothing on my lips.” Leonard is clearly having none of it, first praising Bono’s characterization of David as the “first great blues singer” as well as calling the Irish musician “very smart,” and then shifting to mock outrage, proclaiming “He’s [Bono has] ruined it. He’s dead.”
The Leonard Cohen Reading List
The Dead/Dubliners is the latest entry to the Leonard Cohen Reading List, a compilation of books read by the Canadian singer-songwriter.
All entries in the Leonard Cohen Reading List can be found at
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 June 24, 2012 at 1HeckOfAGuy.com, a predecessor of Cohencentric.
- For context, the entire final paragraph from The Dead by James Joyce follows with the quoted words in bold:
Yes, the newspapers were right: snow was general all over Ireland. It was falling softly upon the Bog of Allen and, further westwards, softly falling into the dark mutinous Shannon waves. It was falling too upon every part of the lonely churchyard where Michael Furey lay buried. It lay thickly drifted on the crooked crosses and headstones, on the spears of the little gate, on the barren thorns. His soul swooned slowly as he heard the snow falling faintly through the universe and faintly falling, like the descent of their last end, upon all the living and the dead. [emphasis mine] [↩]