Hey That's No Way To Say Goodbye (1968-1993)
I wrote this in the Henry Hudson Hotel. No that wasn't the Henry Hudson Hotel, that was for "Stranger Song." This is a song that I wrote in the Penn Terminal Hotel, It's a very sinister name, the Penn Terminal Hotel. I often stayed there and each time I thought it would be the last time.

An old song from an old hotel room

This is an old song that I wrote when I was old. I was a lot older then. I was living in a brown hotel room on 34th Street in the Penn Terminal Hotel. Perhaps some of you know it. Perhaps some of you were living with me then. I'm glad I don't remember you. It was a terrible hotel room. The windows wouldn't close. The radiator wouldn't stop hissing. The faucet wouldn't stop its mythological drip into the destroying porcelain sink. I was with the wrong woman as usual. But as your Eastern physicians, Eastern metaphysicians know, just as from the darkest mud blooms the whitest lotus, so from the brownest hotel room you occasionally get a good song.

Judy Collins : And we'd like to sing together for you...
Leonard Cohen : this is a song that we first sing together in a Hotel room in Newport..
JC : That's right! That's right, the Festival it was...
LC : We sang it all night
JC : I know (laughs)....

This song arises from an over-used bed in the Penn Terminal Hotel in 1966. The room is too hot. I can't open the windows. I am in the midst of a bitter quarrel with a blonde woman. The song is half-written in pencil but it protects us as we manoeuvre, each of us, for unconditional victory.
I am in the wrong room. I am with the wrong woman.

This is an old song that I wrote in another time when I was someone else, and it comes from a brown Hotel room, on 34th street, called the "Penn Terminal Hotel". I don't want any of you to go there, I don't want any of you to be seen there. It's not a bad Hotel, but it's very very brown. Don't go there. If I see you there I will chase you right out off the lobby.

This is a very old song, I guess you'll recognize. It comes from a hotel on 34th Street in New York City. It's a terrible hotel. I don't want to see anyone of you in there. It's called the Penn Terminal Hotel. Please don't go,
whatever you do. But you know sometimes out of these brown hotel rooms, where the windows don't open and you can't turn off the radiator, just under such circumstances a beam of light arises from your pillow and
you come up with a song or two.

Please note that this intro is here related to "Hey that's no way to say Goodbye".We've been truthfull  to the songlist of "Cohen in Warsaw" release.But it seems more that it's the intro of Memories,regarding to the last prologue's sentence.

I grew up in Montreal,in Canada.It is a very wide and beautiful country.     I come from a very curious city where there are many influences operating:European,French,English,Jewish,Ukranian,German,Polish,Hungarian.I can't begin to name all of the influences that i grew up around.And always there was the symbol of the church.We were Jews.We had a very ambiguous feeling about the Church because we knew the History of the church and we knew the History of the Jews.It is a curious thing friends that i found myself at this moment in the country where the greatest destruction of the Jewry occured.I have no thoughts about it.I have feelings that cannot be spoken.It has nothing to do with you.It has nothing to do with me.It is some matter between our great grand-parents,your great grand-parents and my great grand-parents.I have no judgment.My song has no flag,my song has no party,my song has no border.It is for men of good will, everywhere.But let us forget these heavy matters for a moment and return to my dismal adolescence in Montreal.

The first band I sang that for was a group called the Stormy Colvers, a Canadian group out of Toronto. I wrote it in two hotels. One was the Chelsea and the other was the Penn Terminal hotel. I remember Marianne looking at my notebook, seeing this song and asking, "Who'd you write this for?".

Read the complete interview

Judy Collins invited Leonard Cohen in 1966, at the Newport Festival. photograph : Joe Alper


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