How Leonard Cohen got his song.
October 26, 2011 5:16 PM   Subscribe

Leonard Cohen's speech from his acceptance of the Prince Of Asturias Award for Letters, whereby he details a moving yet previously untold story about where he received his inspiration. [transcript]
posted by myopicman (11 comments total) 27 users marked this as a favorite
Leonard Cohen is the alpha dog in whatever strange pack I run in. Has been since I've been an adult.
posted by Danf at 5:29 PM on October 26, 2011 [1 favorite]

For some additional context, the Premios Príncipe de Asturias are a sort of like the Spanish equivalent of the Nobel prizes. Its worth knowing that he's speaking about Spain when he refers to "this country" and "this land" or the speech makes a little less sense.

I enjoyed this quite a bit. It wasn't wasn't what I expected but, when it comes to Leonard Cohen, I really should have learned by now that he'll exceed (or subvert) my expectations.
posted by Joey Michaels at 5:39 PM on October 26, 2011

The other day I was listening to to a CBC afternoon radio program of material from their archives.
This program was from the early 60's; it featured Leonard Cohen reciting his poetry to musical accompaniment.
I enjoyed this very much and afterwards listening to the first 3 of his albums which I have not listened to in a long while. I had forgotten how good these were.

I just did a YouTube search trying to find the archival clip that I mentioned above. No luck there (damn you CBC).
But I did find this short clip from an old NFB documentary on Leonard.
This is the video's description: Mister Cohen can be fun when he needs to be. A special kind of fun, though.
posted by dougzilla at 6:27 PM on October 26, 2011 [1 favorite]

I actually was listening to my favorite Leonard Cohen albums today after a long absence. The joy I had in listening to them today is only reaffirmed by this speech. Extraordinary words, with extraordinary dignity.
posted by nonreflectiveobject at 6:31 PM on October 26, 2011

Thanks for posting this.
posted by adamvasco at 6:35 PM on October 26, 2011

That was lovely! Thanks for posting it.
posted by mareli at 6:55 PM on October 26, 2011

My favorite Cohen acceptance quip was when he won the 1993 Juno (Canadian Grammy) for Best Male Vocalist: "only in Canada could someone with a voice like mine win vocalist of the year."
posted by benzenedream at 7:15 PM on October 26, 2011 [4 favorites]

Here's Cohen's The Stranger Song, during which he uses some of the chords he talks about in his acceptance speech. Cohen is an exceptional human being, someone who is extraordinary and deeper than most, yet he touches everyone. Note at the very end of this song (at about 4:45-4:50) a tear trails down his cheek.
posted by Vibrissae at 10:40 PM on October 26, 2011

And then there is the story of Suzanne.
posted by y2karl at 11:28 PM on October 26, 2011 [1 favorite]

That NFB documentary is fantastic. The story about his friend in the institution he tells at the beginning, with the timing of a stand up comic; the self-consciousness of his image-making as a poet; the beatnik party at his parents house; the girls flocking around... Its like every sensitive adolescent's dream world. And somewhere I've seen clips of Judy Collins talking about how she forced him to play on stage for the first time and he gave up halfway through.

But I have to ask: what are the six chords - "that guitar pattern that has been the basis of all my songs and all my music"? They're not secret, are they?
posted by RandlePatrickMcMurphy at 10:01 AM on October 27, 2011 [1 favorite]

Mr. Cohen's 12th studio album, Old Ideas, will be released on January 31st, his first since 2004. The first track has been released: "Show Me The Place." The album can be pre-ordered on his website.
posted by zarq at 6:24 PM on November 24, 2011

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