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Dance Me to the End of Love

Leonard Cohen

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“Dance Me to the End of Love” is the first track from singer, songwriter, musician and poet Leonard Cohen and his seventh studio album “Various Positions”, which was released in 1984. The track was written by Cohen and composer David Campbell, with production done by John Lissauer.

“Dance Me to the End of Love” may appear to be a love song, Cohen has actually stated that the song was inspired by the Holocaust in a 1995 radio interview: “It’s curious how songs begin because the origin of the song, every song, has a kind of grain or seed that somebody hands you or the world hands you and that’s why the process is so mysterious about writing a song. But that came from just hearing or reading or knowing that in the death camps, beside the crematoria, in certain of the death camps, a string quartet was pressed into performance while this horror was going on, those were the people whose fate was this horror also. And they would be playing classical music while their fellow prisoners were being killed and burnt. So, that music, “Dance me to your beauty with a burning violin,” meaning the beauty thereof being the consummation of life, the end of this existence and of the passionate element in that consummation. But, it is the same language that we use for surrender to the beloved, so that the song — it’s not important that anybody knows the genesis of it, because if the language comes from that passionate resource, it will be able to embrace all passionate activity.”

The music video was released in 1994, but uploaded to Cohen’s official YouTube channel in March 2010. Directed by Mark Pellington, the video shows Cohen performing the track on a stage live, intertwined with couples dancing with one another or kissing one another with projections of their wedding day photos behind them. As of July 2020, the video has 65.6 million views and 325 thousand likes.

Release Date: 11th December 1984

Songwriter/s: Leonard Cohen & David Campbell

Producer: John Lissauer

Label: Columbia

Music Video Release Date: 1994

Music Video Director: Mark Pellington

Chart Rankings: The track re-entered the charts in 2016 the year Cohen sadly died), charting at #42 in France, #67 in Portugal, #14 in Spain and #68 in Switzerland.

The lyrics to “Dance Me to the End of Love” can be found here: LINK

Added by Tala Woods

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    Lethe Erisdottir

    February 4, 2021 at 11:12 pm

    Who sang the back-up?

    Donna Valentino

    August 5, 2021 at 4:27 am

    What is the chain-like thing Leonard is holding in the video?

      Helen Semrau

      September 24, 2021 at 4:46 pm

      I’ve been wondering the same thing. At first I thought it was a rosary but that certainly makes no sense. Hope someone has an answer as Cohen can’t answer.


    October 9, 2021 at 8:19 pm

    What is the necklace he is holding? I thought it was a cross.. But it can’t be..

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