Now the courtroom is quiet, but who will confess
Is it true you betrayed us? The answer is "yes"
Then read me the list of the crimes that are mine
I will ask for the mercy that you love to decline
And all the ladies go moist, and the judge has no choice
A singer must die for the lie in his voice
And I thank you, I thank you for doing your duty
You keepers of truth, you guardians of beauty
Your vision is right, my vision is wrong
I'm sorry for smudging the air with my song
Oh, the night it is thick, my defences are hid
In the clothes of a woman I would like to forgive
In the rings of her silk, in the hinge of her thighs
Where I have to go begging in beauty's disguise
Oh goodnight, goodnight, my night after night
I am so afraid that I listen to you
Your sun glassed protectors they do that to you
It's their ways to detain, their ways to disgrace
Their knee in your balls and their fist in your face
Yes and long live the state by whoever it's made
Sir, I didn't see nothing, I was just getting home late
Verdade ou mentira, veja que história incrível colocaram aqui sobre a letra de "A Singer Must Die", do disco New Skin For The Old Ceremony, de 1974.
Quite a few years ago, I had the privilege of interviewing Leonard Cohen. He told me that he wrote this song after discovering he'd been put on the Nixon Administration's "Enemies List" -- a list of artists, writers, musicians, and other public figures whom the ever-paranoid Nixon considered somehow "dangerous" or "subversive." In some cases, the "enemies" found themselves harrassed by the FBI/CIA, the IRS, or other governmental goons sent by Nixon. (I have no idea whether or not this happened to Cohen, or even why he was on the list in the first place -- probably because he was popular among "hippies" and other unsavory folks!)
Cohen asked me not to print this in the article I was writing -- he said, "I don't want to inflame them even more." So I didn't use it, and as far as I know, it was never revealed anywhere else either, But he definitely did tell me this.