Bob Dylan’s “Ballad Of A Thin Man” 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. 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.

– 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.

Renik Van den Eynde points out that Leonard Cohen’s admiring use of Dylan’s lyrics from The Ballad Of A Thin Man qualifies it for Leonard Cohen’s jukebox:

I don’t know what is happening, and I don’t care what is happening, to tell you the truth, it’s none of my business. I know that the explanations that are available have their various degrees of interest, but nothing seems to be speaking to me personally about what is happening. I tend to, you know, let my attention wander from the various channels of information, whether they be newspapers, television, art, song, literature and even conversation; so something is happening, as Dylan says, but you don’t know what it is, do you Mr. Jones. So that’s the way I feel. So what is happening or what has happened to me or my writing or my lyrics, I’m not interested in the explanation, even my own, I’m only interested in the feeling that is just answering the appetite to describe moments and feelings that somehow has not been described in what is available.1

The referenced Dylan lyrics follow:

Because something is happening here but you don’t know what it is
Do you, Mr. Jones?
You raise up your head and you ask, “Is this where it is?”
And somebody points to you and says, “It’s his”

Bob Dylan – Ballad of a Thin Man
Desert Trip, Coachella: Oct 14, 2016

Bob Dylan Songs On Leonard Cohen’s Jukebox

Leonard Cohen-Bob Dylan Interface

All posts about Leonard Cohen’s & Bob Dylan’s opinions of each other, their meetings, and comparisons by others can be found at

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  1. From Interview with Leonard Cohenby Kari Hesthamar, Los Angeles, 2005 []

“Cross Over The Bridge” By Patti Page 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. 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.

– 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.

“Cross Over The Road Bridge” By Patti Page

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Leonard’s song reference is found in the above excerpt from Yakety Yak by Scott Cohen:

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Biggest Influence on My Music: The jukebox. I lived beside jukeboxes all through the fifties. There was ‘The Great Pretender,’ ‘Cross Over the Road.’quotedown2

Leonard Cohen

While Leonard labeled the song “Cross Over the Road,” the only song with that title I’ve found is a hymn by Kevin Mayhew. Even allowing for Leonard Cohen’s ecumenicism and the idiosyncrasies of Montreal jukebox listings in the 1950s, this seems an unlikely choice.  I suspect Leonard instead had in mind “Cross Over The Bridge,” which was written by Bennie Benjamin and George David Weiss in 1945 but became a best-seller when recorded by Patti Page in 1954. (Page’s release was covered at that time by The Chords.) Page’s version entered the Billboard chart on February 17, 1954, staying on the chart for 23 weeks and peaking at position #2.1

Patti Page – Cross Over The Bridge
1954

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  1. Source: Wikipedia []

Mick Jagger’s Wandering Spirit Album 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.

mig-jagger-wandering-spirit

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Yes, it is true that a lot of people burn themselves out. A lot of people die, especially in rock and roll. But on the other hand, there are people who continue to perfect their art. Curiously enough — and this is probably a very unpopular example — I think the last album by Mick Jagger [Wandering Spirit], who is a figure who is not really taken seriously… That’s a guy who is somehow not considered to be at the cutting edge of his own spirit any longer. Somehow, he has dissolved into the celebrity that he so ferociously courted. But you know, I had occasion to look carefully at the lyrics of his last album [Wandering Spirit]. They’re really quite surprising. They’re pretty good. It’s been a long time since I’ve turned to Mick Jagger for spiritual information! I wanted to see what Mick Jagger was doing these days, ’cause all you hear of him is he shows up with a beautiful woman here or there, or he’s having marital problems, or he’s signing a $60 million contract. It seems not to have anything to do with what we’re interest in. But when I looked at that album, he says, ‘I’ve seen a whole lot of shit, I’ve seen more than most guys.’ He’s speaking the truth. He says, ‘I really have been on those mountains. I really have had dinner with those kings and princes and slept with those beautiful women. And now, from the point of view of this experience. I’m asking you: Is there nothing beyond the kisses? Is there anything better than fucking? I’d like to know because it isn’t very good.’ He’s saying something that is heavy and beautiful, and he’s saying it beautifully. And then … Nobody listening. You know it’s just like another little Mick Jagger record. And it’s cool. It’s OK. We don’t have to worry about the guy, either. We know he’s a billionaire, and we know he has these women. Putting all these things aside, which is difficult to do in a case like Mick Jagger, you see that this guy’s still on this trip at the age of 40 odd.quotedown2

Leonard Cohen

 

From Maverick Spirit: Leonard Cohen by Jim O’Brien. B-Side Magazine: August/September 1993.

Since Leonard indicated an album rather than one song, I’ve selected album’s lead single, Sweet Thing, from the playlist to represent the entire collection.

“Take These Chains from My Heart” By Ray Charles 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.

“Take These Chains from My Heart” By Ray Charles

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Leonard Cohen On “Take These Chains from My Heart” By Ray Charles

I told Cohen that “my first conscious experience of song as therapy” occurred one night 13 years earlier while I was listening to his recording, “Sing Another Song, Boys.” I explained why. He said, “That’s the way I feel when I hear certain songs at certain times. I feel, ‘He’s said it for me,’ like when Ray Charles sings ‘Take These Chains from My Heart (And Set Me Free)’. ”1

“Take These Chains from My Heart” was written by Fred Rose and Hy Heath for Hank Williams, whose recording of the song went to #1 in 1953 (after Williams’ death Jan 1, 1953). Ray Charles covered on his 1962 album,  Modern Sounds in Country and Western Music Volume Two.

Ray Charles – Take These Chains From My Heart

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  1. From Hallelujah – An Irishman’s Diary on meeting Leonard Cohen by Joe Jackson (Irish Times: Jan 1, 2017) []

“The Tennessee Waltz” 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.

The Tennessee Waltz

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Leonard Cohen’s early fondness for this song is documented in this excerpt from Leonard Cohen Makes It Darker by David Remnick (New Yorker: October 17, 2016) [bolding mine]:

[Leonard Cohen] put coins in the jukebox to listen to “The Great Pretender,” “Tennessee Waltz,” and anything by Ray Charles.

“Tennessee Waltz” was written by Redd Stewart and Pee Wee King in 1946 and first released in January 1948. The song became a hit as a Patti Page recording in 1950.

Leonard Cohen not only evidenced his devotion to the song by shoving  his coins into a jukebox but also released a live version of “Tennessee Waltz,” featuring an additional verse written by Cohen himself, recorded in 1985 on his 2004 album Dear Heather.

Patti Page – Tennessee Waltz

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George Jones’ “Just One More” 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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“Just One More” By George Jones

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Released in 1956, “Just One More” was a track on the George Jones Sings 14 Top Country Favorites album.

I was alerted to That Leonard Cohen considered it a favorite by this insert from the other Leonard Cohen’s Jukebox.1

geo jones just one more

Video:  George Jones – Just One More

Note: Originally posted Oct 2, 2013 at 1HeckOfAGuy.com, a predecessor of Cohencentric

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  1. The Heck Of A Guy Leonard Cohen’s Jukebox series, which began April 4, 2009, and the Leonard Cohen’s Jukebox CD released March 9, 2010 on the United States Of Dist./Ka label are not affiliated or associated in any way. []