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Ladies and Gents, Leonard Cohen

Page 5 of 5

B

ack at the hotel, exhausted, champagned, and groupied after (some intelluctually, some in the usual way), Leonard Cohen sank wearily into the soft. A bottle circulated.  "Nancy was with us. Without her we wouldn't have been able to pull it off." 

He slipped off his boots. People began arriving for a party. Partly from fatigue, partly from triumph he spoke freely of the concert and bigger things. "I like that kind of situation where the public is involved. I happen to like it when things are questioned. When the very basis of the community is questioned. I enjoy those moments."

The cheerful detente he had achieved between the crowd and the police reinforced something he had said earlier. "I believe there is a lot of goodwill in society and in men ... and it's just a matter of where you cast your energy. You can in some way place yourself at the disposal of the good will that does exist ... or you can say there is no goodwill in society and what we must do is completely destroy the thing. I believe that in the most corrupt and reactionary circles there is goodwill. I believe that men are mutable and that things can change ... It's a matter of how we want things to change."

More people arrived. Old friends, Ron Cornelius' relatives, and strangers hoping for a chance to talk to Cohen. Despite his exhaustion, Cohen was ready for them. "Man, you know what is best about having a good crowd and giving them everything you've got? The incoherence afterwards. That's what ... Hey, where are the 14-year-old girls? This is California, isn't it? Where are the 14-year-old girls?"

This story is from the February 4th, 1971 issue of Rolling Stone.

To read the new issue of Rolling Stone online, plus the entire RS archive: Click Here

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