“Window Up Above” By George Jones Is On Leonard Cohen’s Jukebox

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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.

Window Up Above

Window Up Above was #1 on Leonard Cohen’s Top Ten Songs of 1988 list.1

“The Window Up Above” is a 1960 single written and originally recorded by George Jones. The version recorded by Jones peaked at number #2 on the country charts and spent a total of 34 weeks on the chart. It became a #1 smash for Mickey Gilley in 1975. “The Window Up Above” is widely praised by many critics – and George Jones himself – as his greatest composition. In “The Devil in George Jones”, an article which appeared in the July 1994 Texas Monthly, the singer told Nick Tosches that he wrote it one morning while living in Vidor, Texas, and that it remained his favorite: “I wrote it in about twenty minutes. I just came in off the road, about eight in the morning. While breakfast was being fixed, I just sat down in the den and picked up the guitar, and it was as simple as that. Sometimes it’s hard to even figure where the ideas come from.” Tosches added, “For Jones, ‘The Window Up Above’ seemed to issue directly from a lifelong insecurity and ambivalence, a deep-rooted fear of what lurked beneath the dream of hearth and home and happiness.” The song addresses the theme of adultery, but adds a foreboding, voyeuristic twist to the typical country music “cheatin'” song, filled with jealous anger and a deep, irreconcilable sense of betrayal2

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  1. From “:Cohen – In Eigenen Worten” (In His Own Words) by Jim Devlin, which was pointed out to me by Florian []
  2. Wikipedia []