Your email is not valid
Recipient's email is not valid
Submit Close

Your email has been sent.

Click here to send another


Is Leonard Cohen the Jewish Barry White?

A question from last night’s four-hour Leonard Cohen concert

Print Email

I probably shouldn’t write about anything Leonard Cohen because my brilliant office-mate Liel Leibovitz knows more about Cohen that anyone else in the world–including Cohen himself. BUT…Liel isn’t in the office today and I am still riding a high from the concert that Cohen put on in Brooklyn last night.

A few quick thoughts about seeing the 78-year-old man perform for four hours in a three-month-old arena:

1. There is no substitute for the experience of walking through a stadium filled with people of all ages speaking in French, Hebrew, Spanish, German, and Russian.

2. There is nothing quite like hearing a crowd roar mid-song when Cohen bellowed the lyric “I was the little Jew who wrote the Bible.”

3. The concert did start just after 8. It did end just before midnight. There was a 20-minute intermission, but otherwise, Cohen outlasted a big portion of the crowd.

4. During the intermission, an usher–who was probably about 20–approached me and a friend and asked if we thought that Leonard Cohen’s music was available on iTunes. After we said definitely yes, he replied “Good. I like him, he’s mellow. Kinda like Barry White. Some alone time music.”

5. This prompted the question: Is Leonard Cohen the Jewish Barry White? I think the answer is probably that Barry White is the black Leonard Cohen.

6. Leonard Cohen did play an Ozark harp. If that’s unfamiliar to you, it’s probably because it’s still better known by another name.

7. Cohen pulled out “Lover, Lover, Lover,” which has to be one of the best of his least-known songs. See the clip below from French television where Cohen explains that he wrote the song in Sinai during the Yom Kippur War when he was assigned to perform for the IDF troops.

Print Email

Daily rate: $2
Monthly rate: $18
Yearly rate: $180

Tablet is committed to bringing you the best, smartest, most enlightening and entertaining reporting and writing on Jewish life, all free of charge. We take pride in our community of readers, and are thrilled that you choose to engage with us in a way that is both thoughtful and thought-provoking. But the Internet, for all of its wonders, poses challenges to civilized and constructive discussion, allowing vocal—and, often, anonymous—minorities to drag it down with invective (and worse). Starting today, then, we are asking people who'd like to post comments on the site to pay a nominal fee—less a paywall than a gesture of your own commitment to the cause of great conversation. All proceeds go to helping us bring you the ambitious journalism that brought you here in the first place.

Readers can still interact with us free of charge via Facebook, Twitter, and our other social media channels, or write to us at Each week, we’ll select the best letters and publish them in a new letters to the editor feature on the Scroll.

We hope this new largely symbolic measure will help us create a more pleasant and cultivated environment for all of our readers, and, as always, we thank you deeply for your support.

great singer, great sings, and a mensch

Leonard Cohen’s great and all but he’s not touching Barry White

Barry White has a great voice but he is not a poet as is Leonard Cohen. He does not have the symbolic density that you find in the work of Leonard Cohen.

Jacob Arnon says:

Leonardo Cohen is the Jewish Leonardo Cohen.

The NYC and Brooklyn concerts were a “life-time” experience…Leonard Cohen is “David with a harp” updated. His songs and poems are “a thousand kisses deep”.

dj_spellchecka says:

I suspect Leonard would agree with the sentiment of “it’s ecstasy when you lie down next to me”


Your comment may be no longer than 2,000 characters, approximately 400 words. HTML tags are not permitted, nor are more than two URLs per comment. We reserve the right to delete inappropriate comments.

Thank You!

Thank you for subscribing to the Tablet Magazine Daily Digest.
Please tell us about you.

Is Leonard Cohen the Jewish Barry White?

A question from last night’s four-hour Leonard Cohen concert

More on Tablet:

Rediscovering the First Woman Rabbi

By Laura Geller — Ordained in 1935, Regina Jonas died at Auschwitz. Now, she’s being honored.