Tim Hardin’s Cover Of “Bird On A Wire” Is On Leonard Cohen’s Jukebox

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Leonard Cohen’s Jukebox

Biggest Influence on My Music – The jukebox. I lived beside jukeboxes all through the fifties. … I never knew who was singing. I never followed things that way. I still don’t. I wasn’t a student of music; I was a student of the restaurant I was in — and the waitresses. The music was a part of it. I knew what number the song was.

– Leonard Cohen (Yakety Yak by Scott Cohen, 1994)

Leonard Cohen’s Jukebox: Over the years, Leonard Cohen has mentioned a number of specific songs he favors. Leonard Cohen’s Jukebox is a Cohencentric feature that began collecting these tunes for the edification and entertainment of viewers on April 4, 2009. All posts in the Leonard Cohen’s Jukebox series can be found at The Original Leonard Cohen’s Jukebox Page.

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Tim Hardin – Taken in Eugene’s WOW Hall 1980

Gzowski[The recording of Bird On A Wire to be played next] isn’t the best version and neither is yours.

Leonard Cohen: That’s right

Gzowski: Whose is?

Leonard CohenTim Hardin’s is pretty good. … Tim Hardin did a very beautiful version of it. … Shortly before he died, he did that

Gzowski: … He used to be one of my favorites … He was drugged up all the time

Leonard Cohen: Yeah, I met him shortly before he died. He was all bloated up and swollen. I did get a chance to tell him how much I loved his songs.

– From the Nov 18, 1992 CBC Radio Morningside interview with Peter Gzowski

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The Tim Hardin Photo

The photo of Tim Hardin was taken by Joel Davis aka BuckarooBob on on Flickr, who writes

It was the WOW (Workers of the World) hall in the Eugene, a town both Tim Hardin and I considered home. From the stage, he joked about the photographer in the pit and some of the social purists in the crowd began to boo my presence…apparently feeling that photography would infringe upon their enjoyment of the music. “Why would you booo the photographer?” Hardin asked, “he’s just working hard, doing his job.” I’d liked him before, I loved him now. Yeh. Yeh, boo birds.

So it was with sadness that I learned he died shortly after that show, in Los Angeles, California of a heroin and morphine overdose. Hardin’s songs are classics, “If I were a Carpenter”, “Reason to Believe”, “Red Balloon”, “Black Sheep Boy”, many gaining their greatest success when covered by other artists. Ironically, Hardin’s biggest hit may have been his own cover of Leonard Cohen’s “Bird on a Wire.”

From Joel’s description and Leonard Cohen’s account of meeting Hardin, it seems that the two events took place with the same time period shortly before Tim Hardin’s death and that this photo of Hardin is a close approximation of his appearance when he and Cohen met.

Tim Hardin – Bird On A Wire

Note: Originally posted July 4, 2012 at 1HeckOfAGuy.com, a predecessor of Cohencentrich

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