Video: Rare Leonard Cohen Performance Of Az Der Rebe Zingt – Vienna 1976

Rebbe-ZingtLeonard Cohen performed “Az Der Rebe Zingt” in only nine concerts and never released the song on a recording. A few days ago, this earnest 1976 Leonard Cohen performance of “Az Der Rebe Zingt” in Vienna surfaced on YouTube.

Update: Song Background & Lyrics

In contrast to Leonard Cohen’s almost solemn performance, “Az Der Rebe Zingt” is typically sung as a lively, light-hearted tune (see video at end of the post). There are several variations provided for the lyrics of this Yiddish folk song. The version below and the English translation are adapted from Jane Enkin Music and Story.

Az der rebe zingt (When the rabbi sings)
Zingen ale khasidim (All the hasidim sing)
Tshiri biri bim tshiri biri bom
Zingen ale khasidim

Az der rebe trinkt (When the rabbi drinks)
Trinken ale khasidim (All the hasidim drink)
Yaba baba bay – Lekhayim! Yaba baba bay – Lekhayim! (To life!)
Trinken ale khasidim

Az der rebe lakht (When the rabbi laughs)
Lakhn ale khasidim (All the hasidim laugh)
Ha ha….
Lakhn ale khasidim

Az der rebe veynt (When the rabbi cries)
Veynen ale khasidim (All the hasidim cry)
Oy oy oy oy oy vey’z mir, oy oy… (Oh, woe is me)
Veynen ale khasidim

Az der rebe shloft (When the rabbi sleeps)
Shlofn ale khasidim (All the hasidim sleep)
(shh… yawn… hmmm…)

Az der rebe tantst! (When the rabbi dances)
Tantsn ale khasidim (All the hasidim dance)
Ay didi day didi day, ay didi day didi day
Tantsn ale khasidim

Update: The Performance Venue

This is the story behind the banner [which reads, in English, To stay (here) is solidarity”] Back in the 70’s in Vienna a former slaughterhouse called St. Marx was used as a cultural center for young people. But in 1976 the city council decided to tear it down. So hundreds of young people seized the building and tried to save their cultural center. They were supported by Austrian artists. When Leonard Cohen played a concert in Vienna he heard the story and after the concert he went there to support these people fighting for their cultural center. And this is the end of the story: after 101 days the occupants had to leave the building but the city council gave them a nearby building where they founded a new cultural center called “Arena”.1

Leonard Cohen – Az Der Rebe Zingt
Vienna: June 14, 1976


A more traditional rendition by the Ramatayim Men’s Choir, Jerusalem ca be viewed below.

Note: Originally posted Apr 7, 2009 at, a predecessor of Cohencentric


  1. From LeonardCohenForum post by stella s. []

Photo: Leonard Cohen Backstage – Portsmouth 1976

coyler-port2sMartin Colyer, who has written one of the best Leonard Cohen concert reviews I’ve ever read, offers this photo of Leonard Cohen taken backstage at the May 23, 1976 Portsmouth concert.  The first publication of this photo anywhere was on – March 7,2014.

Note: Martin also runs two interesting sites: 5 Things I Saw & Heard This Week and Adventures In Commissioning

Details Re Unauthorized Leonard Cohen CD: From The Shadows

81q-cgxi1nl-_sl1500_Dominique BOILE forwards these scans from the bootleg CD, Leonard Cohen: From The Shadows. Dominique points out that it is based on the national radio France Inter broadcast (in early July 1976) of the June 5, 1976 Leonard Cohen Olympia Theatre concert in Paris – a concert Dominique attended in person.

France Inter also released the exclusive vinyl single of Do I Have To Dance All Night. During this concert, Leonard sings a part of Bird On The Wire and introduces some of the songs in French.

In addition to appropriating the radio broadcast, the producers of this CD appear to have also arrogated the poster Dominique contributed for posting at Cohencentric to illustrate the CD booklet.


Poster from private collection of Dominique BOILE


From The Shadows booklet

1. Bird On The Wire 4:54
2. Who By Fire 4:03
3. Store Room 4:46
4. I Tried To Leave You 4:22
5. Lady Midnight 3:42
6. There Is A War 5:05
7. Do I Have To Dance All Night 4:13
8. Avalanche 4:07
9. Chelsea Hotel #2 3:37
10. The Partisan 3:46
11. Story Of Isaac 4:05
12. Famous Blue Raincoat 5:01
13. Lover, Lover, Lover 5:55
14. Is This What You Wanted 5:21
15. Suzanne 3:44

Numérisation_20170225 (4)Numérisation_20170225 (5)


Leonard Cohen Performs Hey, That’s No Way To Say Goodbye On Swiss TV 1976

76heyYesterday’s posting of Stellar Video: Leonard Cohen’s Full French TV Performance – Lover, Lover, Lover 1976 prompted several viewers to alert me to another 1976 Leonard Cohen video from a French language broadcast. On July 1, 1976, Radio Television Suisse (RTS) broadcast Leonard Cohen performing Hey, That’s No Way To Say Goodbye soon after his June 25 concert opened the 1976 Montreux Jazz Festival and has now offered the video online. The descriptive language at the RTS site is somewhat ambiguous, at least in translation (“For his fans and all those who enjoyed it, extract of this concert, 01.07.1976, broadcast in the show“), but the performance captured on this video does not appear to be the concert performance.

The 1976 Tour musicians follow:

  • Laura Branigan and Cheryl Barnes – backup singers
  • Sid McGinnes – guitar
  • Johnny Miller – bass
  • Fred Thaylor – keyboards
  • Luther Rix – drums

Stellar Video: Leonard Cohen’s Full French TV Performance – Lover, Lover, Lover 1976

loverloverAnd may the spirit of this song
May it rise up pure and free
May it be a shield for you
A shield against the enemy


‘Lover, Lover, Lover’ was born over there; the whole world has its eyes riveted on this tragic and complex conflict. Then again, I am faithful to certain ideas, inevitably. I hope that those of which I am in favour will gain.1quotedown2

Leonard Cohen

These words by Leonard Cohen reference the 1973 Yom Kippur War

bkup56Jo Meul alerts us to a improved version of Leonard Cohen singing Lover Lover Lover on French TV in 1976. An already outstanding video, which has been available for some time, is now stellar: the annoying subtitles are gone and, more importantly, the length is more than doubled.  It’s a gem.

Leonard Cohen – Lover Lover Lover
With Laura Branigan and Cheryl Barnes
Le Grand Echiquier on French TV: May 27, 19762

The 1976 Tour musicians follow:

  • Laura Branigan and Cheryl Barnes – backup singers
  • Sid McGinnes – guitar
  • Johnny Miller – bass
  • Fred Thaylor – keyboards
  • Luther Rix – drums


  1. “I’m Just A Minor Poet” By Gilles Medioni. L’Express, France, October 4, 2001. Found at Leonard Cohen French Web Site. []
  2. Le Grand Echiquier was a live tribute program presented by Jacques Chancel and dedicated to Charles Aznavour, featuring Bird on The Wire, Lover Lover Lover, and Suzanne. Source: Diamonds in the Mine []