The Original Leonard Cohen’s Jukebox

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The Cohencentric History Of Leonard Cohen’s Jukebox

Beginning with the publication of “Unchained Melody” Is On Leonard Cohen’s Jukebox on April 4, 2009, the Heck Of A Guy (1HeckOfAGuy.com was a predecessor of Cohencentric) ongoing series, Leonard Cohen’s Jukebox has featured songs that have won Leonard Cohen’s admiration, as evidenced by his own comments in interviews over the years.

The idea for the series evolved by serendipity. I happened to come across a Leonard Cohen interview by B.P. Fallon,1 the pertinent excerpt from which follows:

Leonard Cohen: It was a great restaurant. I am sorry it disappeared. It was, it was a real funky restaurant, but it had white tablecloths; I don’t know why. (Laughs) And a really good jukebox. Well, it changed over the years. They had good country songs on it, … “Unchained Melody” was a song that I used to listen to a lot on that.

B. P. Fallon: Which version?

Leonard Cohen:

B. P. Fallon: The Righteous Brothers?

Leonard Cohen: The Righteous Brothers, right.

B. P. Fallon: Interesting, here it is.

Leonard Cohen: Oh, that’s a good one.

It was, by the way, not only the obvious importance Leonard Cohen ascribed to a “good jukebox” that resonated with me but also his inability to come up with the artist’s name on the spot.

The notion of Leonard Cohen’s Jukebox appealed to me because jukeboxes were one of the few sources of music, other than the family radio, which was invariably tuned to stations selected by my parents in keeping with their preferences for country and gospel genres, available in my youth prior to my acquisition of (1) a rust colored Sears Silvertone 5-transistor radio and (2) the first of what were to be a multitude of LPs.

Thus was “X Is On Leonard Cohen’s Jukebox” established at Heck Of A Guy. More than a year later, I re-discovered the Leonard Cohen section from Scott Cohen’s 1994 book, Yakety Yak: The Midnight Confessions and Revelation of Thirty-Seven Rock Stars and Legends,” which includes the following 71 word paragraph:

Biggest Influence on My Music
The jukebox. I lived beside jukeboxes all through the fifties. There was “The Great Pretender,” “Cross Over the Road.” 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.

That response, albeit oversimplified and self-consciously clever, goes far to explain the appeal of Cohen’s songs to many of his admirers – including me.  These are songs written by someone whose fundamental fascination is not with pure music, however accomplished his skills in that field might be, but with whatever revelations he can glean from the study of life, including the restaurant he frequents and the restaurant’s waitresses and the restaurant’s jukebox.

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Leonard Cohen’s Jukebox posts:

  1. “Unchained Melody” By The Righteous Brothers Is On Leonard Cohen’s Jukebox
  2. “Blueberry Hill” By Fats Domino Is On Leonard Cohen’s Jukebox
  3. Janis Joplin’s “Piece Of My Heart” Is On Leonard Cohen’s Jukebox
  4. Van Morrison’s “Veedon Fleece” Is On Leonard Cohen’s Jukebox
  5. Tim Hardin’s “Don’t Make Promises You Can’t Keep” Is On Leonard Cohen’s Jukebox
  6. Billy Joel’s “Light As The Breeze” Cover Is On Leonard Cohen’s Jukebox
  7. Bob Dylan’s “I And I” Is On Leonard Cohen’s Jukebox
  8. Otis Redding’s “These Arms Of Mine” Is On Leonard Cohen’s Jukebox
  9. Bobby Darin’s “If I Were A Carpenter” Is On Leonard Cohen’s Jukebox
  10. “Folsom Prison Blues” By Johnny Cash Is On Leonard Cohen’s Jukebox
  11. Nick Cave’s “Avalanche” Cover Is On Leonard Cohen’s Jukebox
  12. “Don’t” & “Are You Lonesome Tonight” By Elvis Presley Are On Leonard Cohen’s Jukebox
  13. “Y.M.C.A.” By The Village People Is On Leonard Cohen’s Jukebox
  14. “My Father” By Judy Collins Is On Leonard Cohen’s Jukebox
  15. Red Rubber Ball By The Cyrkle Is On Leonard Cohen’s Jukebox
  16. Roy Orbison’s “House Without Windows” (Or Hank Williams’ “House Without Love”) Is On Leonard Cohen’s Jukebox
  17. “Je ne regrette rien” By Edith Piaf Is On Leonard Cohen’s Jukebox
  18. Chopin’s “Nocturnes” Is On Leonard Cohen’s Jukebox
  19. A Special Leonard Cohen’s Jukebox Selection: His Favorite Song Played While Writing The Favourite Game: “I Wonder” By Ray Charles
  20. Joni Mitchell’s “A Case Of You” Is – Intriguingly – On Leonard Cohen’s Jukebox
  21. “Don’t Go Home With Your Hard-On” Cover By McComb & Peters Is On Leonard Cohen’s Jukebox
  22. “The Movies Are A Mother To Me” By Loudon Wainwright III Is On Leonard Cohen’s Jukebox
  23. “Your Cheatin’ Heart” By Hank Williams Is On Leonard Cohen’s Jukebox
  24. KD Lang’s Cover Of “Hallelujah” Is On Leonard Cohen’s Jukebox
  25. “Etude Op. 10, No. 1” By Chopin Is On Leonard Cohen’s Jukebox
  26. “The Great Pretender” By The Platters Is On Leonard Cohen’s Jukebox
  27. Tim Hardin’s Cover Of “Bird On A Wire” Is On Leonard Cohen’s Jukebox
  28. Winner Of “Last Song I Would Have Guessed Would Be On Leonard Cohen’s Jukebox” – “Gums Bleed” By You’ve Got Foetus On Your Breath
  29. Bob Dylan’s “Tangled Up In Blue” Is On Leonard Cohen’s Jukebox
  30. Chuck Berry’s “Roll Over Beethoven” Is On Leonard Cohen’s Jukebox
  31. “My Way” By Sid Vicious Is On Leonard Cohen’s Jukebox
  32. “Cold Hard Truth” By George Jones Is On Leonard Cohen’s Jukebox
  33. Joe Cocker’s Cover Of “Bird On A Wire” Is On Leonard Cohen’s Jukebox
  34. “Waltzing Matilda” By Tom Waits Is On Leonard Cohen’s Jukebox
  35. “Ol’ Man River” By Ray Charles Is On Leonard Cohen’s Jukebox
  36. Tom Cochrane’s Cover Of “Bird On A Wire” Is On Leonard Cohen’s Jukebox
  37. The Beatles’ “Tomorrow Never Knows” Is On Leonard Cohen’s Jukebox
  38. “The Grand Tour” by George Jones Is On Leonard Cohen’s Jukebox – Or At Least His Funeral Setlist
  39. Bob Dylan’s “Brownsville Girl” Is On Leonard Cohen’s Jukebox
  40. “What A Wonderful World” By Louis Armstrong Is On Leonard Cohen’s Jukebox
  41. “Fat Man And Dancing Girl” By Suzanne Vega Is On Leonard Cohen’s Jukebox
  42. Geoffrey Oreyama’s Cover Of “Suzanne” Is On Leonard Cohen’s Jukebox
  43. “Concierto de Aranjuez” by Joaquín Rodrigo Is On Leonard Cohen’s Jukebox
  44. “The Future’s So Bright, I Gotta Wear Shades” By Timbuk3 Is On Leonard Cohen’s Jukebox
  45. “Gloomy Sunday” Is On Leonard Cohen’s Jukebox
  46. Patsy Cline’s “I Fall To Pieces” Is On Leonard Cohen’s Jukebox
  47. Aaron Neville’s Cover Of “Bird On A Wire” Is On Leonard Cohen’s Jukebox
  48. Bell & Arc’s Cover Of “So Long, Marianne” Is On Leonard Cohen’s Jukebox
  49. Jay-Z’s “99 Problems” Is On Leonard Cohen’s Jukebox
  50. Ray Charles Singing “You Win Again” Is On Leonard Cohen’s Jukebox
  51. Suzanne Vega’s “If You Were (In My Movie)” Is On Leonard Cohen’s Jukebox
  52. “Choices” By George Jones Is On Leonard Cohen’s Jukebox
  53. “Save The Last Dance For Me” Is On Leonard Cohen’s Jukebox
  54. George Jones’ “Just One More” Is On Leonard Cohen’s Jukebox
  55. “The Tennessee Waltz” Is On Leonard Cohen’s Jukebox
  56. “Take These Chains from My Heart” By Ray Charles Is On Leonard Cohen’s Jukebox
  57. Mick Jagger’s Wandering Spirit Album Is On Leonard Cohen’s Jukebox

__________________________

  1. Leonard Cohen at the BP Orchestra, March 2 1985 on RTE 2 (Dublin, Ireland). From A Thousand Kisses Deep: “Leonard gave two shows in Dublin the same evening, so the programme probably was conceived around that date.” From bpfallon.com: The BP Fallon Orchestra is the famous radio programme on RTE Radio 2 that ran from 1982 to 1987 and played a big part in BP being awarded The Jacob’s Award For Broadcasting. In its five years, The BPFO featured incisive interviews with everyone from George Harrison to Mick Jagger, Spike Milligan to Quentin Crisp, Leonard Cohen to Pete Townsend, Jerry Lee Lewis to the Pogues… “ []

3 thoughts on “The Original Leonard Cohen’s Jukebox

  1. Pingback: Leonard and Nick « Shrine of Dreams

  2. Steve Morris

    Love the post, and I don’t want to be pedantic, but the Tom Waits song is titled “Tom Traubert’s Blues”

    Reply
    1. DrHGuy Post author

      Well, it’s another instance of learn something everyday. I’ve added an update noting that the actual name of the Tom Waits song Leonard Cohen calls “Waltzing Matilda” is “Tom Traubert’s Blues.” Thank you for the correct information.

      Reply

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