"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 been recorded by various artists and in 2009 was described as "trembling on the brink of becoming a standard."
"Dance Me to the End of Love" is a 1984 song by Leonard Cohen and first recorded by him for his 1984 album Various Positions. The song follows a typical Greek "Hasapiko" dance path, most probably inspired by Cohen's long lasting affiliation to the Greek island of Hydra. 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:
'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.
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.
Interviewing Peyroux in 2012, The Huffington Post described the song as a "haunting 2004 rendition ... undoubtedly one of modern music's brightest highlights. An inspired, exquisite cover that besides drawing countless comparison's to Billie Holiday's singing, brought the free spirited musician to just artistic prominence."