Please Don't Pass Me By

News about Leonard Cohen and his work, press, radio & TV programs etc.
The Brucester
Posts: 24
Joined: Wed Feb 06, 2019 5:24 am
Location: Montreal : the land of LC

Please Don't Pass Me By

Postby The Brucester » Sun Mar 10, 2019 8:32 pm

"I was walking in New York City, and I brushed up against a man in front of me and felt this cardboard placard on his back... and when we passed the streetlight, I could read said...please don't pass me by...I am blind but you can see, I've been blinded totally, please don't pass me by. I was walking along 7th Avenue, and when I came to 14th Street, I saw curious mutilations of the human form. It was a school for handicapped people and there were cripples, and people in wheelchairs and crutches, and it was snowing...and I got the sense that the whole city was singing this song...." - Leonard Cohen

"Please Don't Pass Me By (A Disgrace)"
from the album: Leonard Cohen Live Songs (rel: 1973/Columbia Records)
recorded "live" at Royal Albert Hall (May 10, 1970)

Leonard Cohen often told countless interviewers that although he suffered from depression, it was not because of his feelings of despair and/or loneliness he was able to write songs which reached out and touched so many people....
but rather... it was in spite of it.

>>> more about the "blind" man <<<

Apparently, there's more to this story about Leonard Cohen and the blind man, which is NOT featured on his album "Live Songs" nor in the above YouTube video.
The part Leonard left out....

"But when I looked at the man's face, I saw that he wasn't really blind, at least not physically, and so I caught up with him at the next corner and asked him why he had that sign? He said to me....
>>> Man, do you think I'm talking about my eyes? <<<
So I wrote this song."

I remember, when I first heard "Please Don't Pass Me By" (which seems like a hundred years ago)... it hit me...that there was nobody else like Leonard Cohen. He totally gets it !!! Ironically, with reference to the "blind man", Leonard has this uncanny ability to "open your eyes"....and with his songwriting your "ears" too !!!

(no wonder Leonard Cohen is Canada's favourite son)

>> oh yes, and these 2 albums by Bob Dylan also include tremendous songs about the human condition <<

1 - The Freewheelin' Bob Dylan (1962/Columbia Records)
2 - The Times They Are A-Changin' (1963/Columbia Records)

(can't ignore these 2 exceptional LP records by a young and "early" Bob Dylan)

Anyhow, as discussed on other threads in this Forum....I mentioned Leonard Cohen was inspired and influenced by Folk Music. { Hello Kingston Trio !!! } ;-)

One of the albums kept at Montreal's ZBT (Zeta Beta Tau) Fraternity's lounge (McGill University) was a record entitled:
"Pete & Sonny At Carnegie Hall" (Pete Seeger & Sonny Terry ~~ 1959/Vanguard Records)
and it included a song called "Passing Thru". The chorus goes like this:

"Passing Thru, Passing Thru, sometimes happy, sometimes blue, glad that I ran into you,
tell the people that you saw me Passing Thru".

Leonard Cohen begins his (1973) "Live Songs" album with this song....

"I was with Washington at Valley Forge, shivering in the snow,
I said how come men here suffer like they do?
Men will suffer, men will fight, even die for what is right,
Even though they know they're only Passing Thru."

>> recorded "live" at Royal Albert Hall (London, England) 1972 <<

ps: In spite of all the social media that's out there, lots of people are feeling disconnected.
This ever changing world we live in, with technology in full force, it seems our sense of humanity is taking a hell of a beating.
Mental illness, anxiety + depression, loneliness + attempted + completed suicides are reaching extremely high levels.

Leonard Cohen's words of wisdom has never been so profound....


- Brucester (Montreal, QC, Canada)

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