Leonard Cohen and U2 Perform ‘Tower of Song,’ a Meditation on Aging, Loss & Survival

Here’s a rare collaboration between the Canadian singer and poet Leonard Cohen and the Irish supergroup U2. It was staged for the 2005 Lian Lunson documentary, Leonard Cohen: I’m Your Man. The musicians are performing “Tower of Song,” a spiritual meditation on aging, loss, and survival, originally released on Cohen’s 1988 album I’m Your Man. Like Jorge Luis Borges’s Library of Babel, Cohen’s Tower of Song is something unfathomable.

Well my friends are gone and my hair is grey
I ache in the places where I used to play
And I’m crazy for love but I’m not coming on
I’m just paying my rent every day
Oh in the Tower of Song

I said to Hank Williams: how lonely does it get?
Hank Williams hasn’t answered yet
But I hear him coughing all night long
A hundred floors above me
In the Tower of Song

In addition to the U2 collaboration, Leonard Cohen: I’m Your Man includes interviews with Cohen and tribute performances of some of his greatest songs by Martha and Rufus Wainwright, Nick Cave, Beth Orton and others. You can watch the complete film here.

Related Content:

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Leonard Cohen Recounts “How I Got My Song,” or When His Love Affair with Music Began

Ladies and Gentlemen… Mr. Leonard Cohen, a 1965 Documentary

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