“Save The Last Dance For Me” Is On Leonard Cohen’s Jukebox


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.

Save The Last Dance For Me by Doc Pomus


“Save The Last Dance For Me,” first recorded and popularized in 1960 by Ben E. King with The Drifters, became a fixture on the 2012-2013 Leonard Cohen Tours. Beginning with the 2012 Ghent shows, Cohen’s cover of the pop classic written by Doc Pomus and Mort Shuman was often the number that closed his concerts.


“Save The Last Dance For Me” has an especially poignant origin and connections to Phil Spector and Lou Reed, all of which is described at “Save The Last Dance For Me,” Doc Pomus, & Leonard Cohen and 1977: Doc Pomus Hangs Out With Phil Spector & Leonard Cohen. In those posts, I speculated on why the Canadian singer-songwriter chose this song to routinely cover in multiple concerts over a period of two years; it turns out that I was on the mark when I summarized

It is probable that Leonard Cohen likes “Save The Last Dance For Me” for the same reason he thinks Fats Domino’s “Blueberry Hill” is “one of the greatest songs in history”1 – it’s the sort of record that would be on a good jukebox.

I know this because after the Oct 31, 2012 Austin Concert, when I asked Leonard Cohen why he covered “Save The Last Dance For Me,” he responded “I always liked that song.”

Save The Last Dance For Me – The Drifters


Credit Due Department: Special thanks go to Jugurtha Harchaoui, who first made me aware of the back story of this song. Photo atop this post taken by Gottlieb, William P. – Library of Congress, Public Domain via Wikipedia

Note: Originally posted Jun 4, 2014 at 1HeckOfAGuy.com, a predecessor of Cohencentric


  1. Leonard Cohen Gave Me 200 Franc by Martin Oestergaard. Euroman, Denmark, September 2001 []