“The Streets of Laredo” 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 Heck Of A Guy 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 Leonard Cohen’s Jukebox Page.

I think you once sang somewhere “Streets of Laredo”

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It was one of the first songs I’ve learned.
As I walked out in the streets of Laredo
As I walked out in Laredo one day,
I spied a young cowboy, all wrapped in white linen.
It’s a great song.
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Leonard Cohen1

The Streets Of Laredo was performed by many artists, including Marty Robbins, Johnny Cash, Joan Baez, Burl Ives, Jim Reeves, Roy Rogers, Chet Atkins, Arlo Guthrie, Norman Luboff Choir, Rex Allen, Willie Nelson, Waylon Jennings, John Cale, Prefab Sprout, Snakefarm, Mercury Rev, Jane Siberry, Suzanne Vega and Paul Westerberg, but the version by Eddy Arnold was one of the earliest to popularize the song and is a favorite of mine so I’ve chosen it for this post,

Note: Leonard Cohen’s own version of Streets Of Laredo can be (without charge) as part of “The Other Leonard Cohen Album” compilation.

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  1. Excerpted from Gerrit Terstiege’s interview with Leonard Cohen (July 2001) []