Leonard Cohen’s Other Do I Have To Dance All Night (1980 Version) Gets Its Own Video

Leonard Cohen -November 1980 (Photo: Alberto Manzano)

Leonard Cohen -November 1980 (Photo: Alberto Manzano)

Do I Have To Dance All Night Keeps On Dancing

– Not Unlike Leonard Cohen Himself

As many readers know, I am an unrepentant fan of Leonard Cohen’s “Do I Have To Dance All Night,” a fascination well documented at Cohencentric, beginning with The Best Leonard Cohen Song You’ve Never Heard (Probably).

That first post focuses on the quasi-funky version of “Do I Have To Dance All Night” that Cohen, aided and abetted by backup vocalist, Laura Branigan, performed, sometimes twice in the same concert, during his 1976 tour. This was also the version that was released for sale, albeit only as a 7″ single and only in Europe.

To promote the 1976 rendition of “Do I Have To Dance All Night,” (or, as I prefer to think of it, to enrich the tragically empty lives of my fellow earth-dwellers who have not yet heard this hymn of cosmic salvation), I recently put together  a “Do I Have To Dance All Night” video that, as previously (and accurately) described, “kinda, sorta fits the music.”

The 1980 Revision Of Do I Have To Dance All Night

The music for the Do I Have To Dance All Night (1980) video was recorded at a 1980 Amsterdam concert and, of course, was never included on an album or pressed as a single. There are some changes in the lyrics1 and the tempo from the 1976 version I’ve previously posted, but the song is once again the final performance of the concert. I still favor the first version I heard (from the 45 rpm record) but that may well be an artifact of my own history with the song rather than the result of an unbiased musical assessment.

Compared to the 1976 rendition, the version of “Do I Have To Dance All Night” performed on the 1980 tour has a distinctly slower tempo and a less disco-more Eastern sound, which utilizes the style and talents of his band, Passenger, the jazz fusion group co-founded by Roscoe Beck which featured oriental instruments (John Bilezikjian on oud and mandolin and Raffi Hakopian on gypsy violin),2 and Sharon Robinson, the backup singer for the 1980 tour.3

The Making Of  The Video For  “Do I Have To Dance All Night” (1980)

Neither version of “Do I Have To Dance All Night” has an official or performance video.  As I did earlier with the “Do I Have To Dance All Night” video, I have now “cobbled together a pastiche of Cohen-associated photos and clips that kinda sorta fits the music.”

My self-imposed rule governing sources follows:

All videos and graphics used have a readily apparent connection to Leonard Cohen. For example, in addition to Cohen’s own music videos, potential sources included documentaries about and interviews with Cohen.4

Although second novels, second albums, second films, and even, I suspect, second homemade cut and  paste YouTube videos  are notoriously problematic, I’m happy enough with the result.

It is, after all, the world’s  best – and, at  this moment, the only – video of the 1980 version of Leonard Cohen’s  “Do I Have To Dance All Night.”

Leonard Cohen – Do I Have To Dance All Night
Amsterdam: Oct 30, 1980
Video by Allan Showalter

Note: Originally posted May 27, 2009 at 1HeckOfAGuy.com, a predecessor of Cohencentric


  1. I note, for example, that the 1976 version opens with “I’m 41 …,” but singing the same song 4 years later, Cohen skips the age-declaring line. ‘Tis a pity – I would get off on hearing him start with “I’m 73, … .” []
  2. Passenger is yet another connection between Leonard Cohen and Joni Mitchell. According to KOOP, in 1979, Passenger moved from Austin to Los Angeles to work with Joni Mitchell in a project that fell through, after which the band was “tapped by Leonard Cohen to be the core band of his latest album and follow-up tour that year.” Cohen was, however, actually introduced to the band through a producer with whom he and Mitchell both worked. This excerpt from Field Commander Cohen summarizes the events:

    In 1978 Leonard Cohen contacted music producer Henry Lewy to work with him on the recording of Recent Songs. Lewy had previously used the musicians from Passenger, a Texas-based fusion-rock group, on an album he had produced for Joni Mitchell and so he called upon them for Leonard’s album. Thus, Mitch Watkins (electric guitar), Paul Ostermayer (sax), Steve Meador (drums), Roscoe Beck (bass), and Bill Ginn (keyboards) joined violinist Raffi Hakopian, oudist John Bilezikjian and vocalists Jennifer Warnes and Sharon Robinson at A&M Studios in Los Angeles for the recording of the album.


  3. Sharon Robinson and Jennifer Warnes were the backup vocalists on the 1979 tour, but Warnes did not return for the 1980 tour. []
  4. I think  my video premiering today  has only one ringer that is so obscure that only a hard core Cohenite – or a loyal Cohencentric reader – is likely to recognize the source. My guess is that only a few folks will be able to identify all of the other clips but a significant number will recognize having seen them all before  although they may not bit be able to name the source and any given segment, except the potential ringer, will be specifically identified by at least a few dozen folks. []