Arts·Archives

Before he's honoured at the Junos, let's look back at some of Leonard Cohen's wise words on art

In 1980, the great Leonard Cohen shared his desire to create art that stands the test of time — and doesn't embarrass him too much.

In 1980, Cohen told the CBC he wanted to make art that stands the test of time

Instant gratification is always nice, but Cohen was looking for something more. 1:13

In 1980, the great Leonard Cohen shared his desire to create art that stands the test of time — and doesn't embarrass him too much.

"I mean, that instant response is gratifying, of course," he says in the above video from the CBC Archives. "But also you have the risk of the other thing going on all the time, which is instant humiliation. But you know, in some way, I've tried to design the work so that it can last beyond that immediate perception of it...If a song lasts for a few years or if a book keeps on turning up, people are still interested in it, or if I myself can pick it up and not be totally embarrassed by it."

With a career that spanned over five decades, his music has certainly stood the test of time — and will live on well beyond his years. Cohen will be honoured in a tribute by singer-songwriter Feist at this Sunday's Juno Awards, which airs 6:30pm EST on CTV.

For more throwbacks like this one, visit the CBC Digital Archives.

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