Ain't No Cure For Love

Album: Famous Blue Raincoat (1986)

Songfacts®:

  • This is one of three new songs Leonard Cohen wrote for Famous Blue Raincoat, his 1986 collaboration with Jennifer Warnes. They had been working together since 1972, and while Cohen had achieved much renown in Europe, he was little-known in America. Warnes had big hits with "Right Time Of The Night" and her Joe Cocker duet "Up Where We Belong," and was in a position to bring more attention to Cohen, which she did by covering his songs on the album. Her ploy worked: many other artists began covering Cohen, who became one of the most revered songwriters of his time.
  • Cohen wrote this song with a biblical context, envisioning Jesus at the cross, looking down and realizing there "ain't no cure for love." Cohen would often introduce the song with a variation of this story, referring to Jesus as "The Prince of Peace."

    Love has always been vexing, and Cohen has often explored it. "It's a kind of wound," he said. "And if you don’t have it it's worse."
  • Warnes assigned a more concrete meaning to this song when she recorded it. In a Songfacts interview, she explained: "Leonard wrote the lyric for the project. He wrote it during the HIV epidemic when it first hit the papers. We were both reading LA Weekly, and we took a walk around the block and I said, 'People can't love each other anymore. It'll kill them. What are we going to do?' And he said, 'There ain't no cure for love.'

    So he began to write that for this project, but it was around the horror of what was happening in the world."
  • Cohen released his version of the song in 1988 on his album I'm Your Man, with some of the lyrics changed.

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