Dance Me to the End of Love
"Dance Me to the End of Love" is a 1984 song by Leonard Cohen. It was first performed by Cohen on his 1984 album Various Positions. It has since been recorded by various artists, and has been described as "trembling on the brink of becoming a standard".
Although structured as a love song, "Dance Me to the End Of Love" was in fact inspired by the Holocaust. In an interview, Cohen said of the song:
|“||'Dance Me to the End Of Love' ... 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 there of 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.||”|
In 1996, Welcome Books released a book called Dance Me to the End of Love, as part of its "Art & Poetry" series; the book featured the lyrics of the song alongside paintings by Henri Matisse.
Madeleine Peyroux version
|"Dance Me to the End of Love"|
|Single by Madeleine Peyroux|
|from the album Careless Love|
|Madeleine Peyroux singles chronology|
Jazz singer Madeleine Peyroux included a cover of "Dance Me to the End of Love" on her second solo album, Careless Love (2004). It was released as the second single for the album and has been a part of her concert set-list since then.
- Kate Gibson - Mostly in English but partly in French (on the soundtrack to the 1995 movie Strange Days)
- Thalia Zedek on her album Been Here and Gone.
- Elske de Wall - solo with her own guitar, in the exquisite Frisian language: "Dunsje my de leafde ut" at https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Un3k0muwKk0, and and as a duet with Jan Dulles at https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=PoKaYdN5pEo
- Giannis Parios in Greek, under the name MONO AGAPI (Only love)
- Fret and Fiddle on their album Jalousie
- Jorge Drexler on his album Cara B
- Misstress Barbara on her album I'm No Human
- Mark Seymour in the Australian television drama Crashburn.
- The Civil Wars on their albums Live at Eddie's Attic and Barton Hollow
- Patricia O'Callaghan on her 2011 album Matador: The Songs of Leonard Cohen
The Scottish painter Jack Vettriano painted a painting with the same title. He has also made two other paintings named after and inspired by Leonard Cohen works: one based on Cohen's novel Beautiful Losers and the other inspired by his song "Bird on the Wire". When asked on Desert Island Discs, Vettriano mentioned Leonard Cohen's album I'm Your Man as one of his must have records.