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

“Take These Chains from My Heart” By Ray Charles


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


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