Warren Zevon Turning Canadian, Covering Leonard Cohen’s First We Take Manhattan

zevonListening to live recordings of Warren Zevon playing in Buffalo (December 1991) and Cleveland (January 1992), I was so taken by his cover of Leonard Cohen’s “First We Take Manhattan” and his comments bracketing the song that I realized nothing would do but offer Zevon’s song and his thoughts on turning Canadian.

Update: See

Becoming Leonard Cohen

Prior to both of these audio clips, Zevon has introduced the Odds, a Vancouver based band backing him in this round of concerts. He then segues into their Canadian origin, which is where the first clip begins.

Warren Zevon On Becoming Leonard Cohen
(Empire Club, Cleveland, Jan 5, 1992)

Born To Sing This Song

Before beginning “First We Take Manhattan,” Zevon says,

I think the only three singer-songwriters I can stand since Bob Dylan are all Canadian. What do you think about that? So, we’re going to do a Leonard Cohen song for you here. [indecipherable] I was born to sing this song.

At the end, he opines,

I bet Leonard Cohen doesn’t perspire like this. Neither does John Updike.

Warren Zevon – First We Take Manhattan
Impaxx, Buffalo, Dec 13, 1991


Credit Due Department: Photo by Klaus Hiltscher – Flickr, CC BY-SA 2.0, via Wikipedia Commons. Originally posted May 20, 2009 at 1HeckOfAGuy.com, a predecessor of Cohencentric