Leonard Cohen, Thanks Again For The Tour, I Hope It Was Good For You, Too – The Encore Video


Leonard Cohen To World Tour Fans: “I Still Love You, Too”

For those desirous of commemorating the completion of the  Summer 2009 European leg of the Leonard Cohen World Tour, those anticipating the series of concerts in the USA that will conclude the World Tour, and those desperate for a Cohen fix during this Tour hiatus, Cohencentric offers a video celebration comprising photos and video clips associated with the performances, especially those from the past three months. The primary songs are Bird On The Wire and Closing Time.

Dear Leonard Cohen, Thanks – again – for The Tour; I hope it was good for you, too
Video by Allan Showalter

Note: Originally posted Oct 14, 2009 at 1HeckOfAGuy.com, a predecessor of Cohencentric

Leonard Cohen explains: “Songs are… hospitable to different interpretations”

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I like austerity. I like it as a style. It’s the opposite of abundance. ‘Bird on the Wire’ is quite an affirmative song. It has an anthem-like sound to it sometimes. I’ve found that songs are quite hospitable to different interpretations. When you’re on the road for a long period of time, you tend to sings songs in different ways. You can bring a certain kind of nobility to a depressed lyric, or you can deliver a very affirmative statement like a lamentation. I’ve found there’s a certain emptiness to my songs that allows for a lot of interpretations.quotedown2

Leonard Cohen


From Conversations from a Room by Tom Chaffin. Canadian Forum: August/September 1983. Photo by Armando Fusco. Originally posted July 28, 2012 at DrHGuy.com, a predecessor of Cohencentric

“If the bird can get used to the wire, I told him, you can get used to the wire.” Marianne Ihlen On Why, Of All Leonard Cohen’s Songs, She Felt Closest To Bird On The Wire


I felt much more that Bird On A Wire [rather than So Long, Marianne] had something to do with me because I was there. I gave him [Leonard Cohen] the guitar. We looked out of the window. We saw the birds landing on the wires. And he had not been able to create or write or sing or do anything for weeks and he was in a very, very deep deep depression … Yeah, it’s one of my favorites, absolutely.quotedown2

Marianne Ihlen


From interviews conducted by Kari Hesthamar in 2005. See Hear Leonard Cohen And Marianne Ihlen Talk About Their Life Together

The following is from Judy Scott’s comment on the original post.

When I first visited with Marianne in 1973, she showed me Leonard’s studio and out the front window was the infamous “wire.” She told me this story: “when electricity finally came to Hydra, Leonard was not happy to see modernity arrive. He preferred the oil lamps and the candles we were used to. ‘Now we’ll have to find another place’ he said, and just then a bird landed on the wire. “If the bird can get used to the wire,” I told him, “you can get used to the wire.”

I love that story.

Video: Leonard Cohen – Bird On The Wire
Prague: July 21, 2013
Video by albertnoonan

Credit Due Department: Photo of Leonard Cohen’s home on Hydra by Marie-louise Guillard

The Absolutely Fabulous TV Series Version of Leonard Cohen’s Bird On A Wire

birdabThe inclusion of Leonard Cohen’s Bird On The Wire on the soundtrack of the recently released Absolutely Fabulous: The Movie has prompted the republication of this 2007 1HeckOfAGuy.com post about the Bird On The Wire soliloquy from the Absolutely Fabulous TV series.

Featuring Edina As The Drunk In A Midnight Choir – And Wherever

In yesterday’s post, Leonard Cohen BBC Interview: “I’d like to go out [on tour] again”, the BBC interviewer alluded to the use of Leonard Cohen’s “Bird On A Wire”1 in an episode of the British sitcom, Absolutely Fabulous. And, it turns out that, although “Bird On The Wire” has been covered by everybody from Joe Cocker to Jennifer Warnes to The Bobs, the Ab Fab version is, I believe, uniquely memorable.

The Scene: Absolutely Fabulous – Bird On A Wire

Jealous: Series 3, Episode 4 (First broadcast 27 April 1995)
Edina (AKA Eddie, AKA Eddy), has expectations of winning the PR Person of the Year Award over her rival, Claudia Bing, but, despite rigging the vote, loses instead and wants revenge. Later, at an industry luncheon, Edina loses her prepared remarks but proceeds unabated to give a drunken speech, one portion of which consists of the lyrics of “Bird On A Wire.”

The Dialog: Absolutely Fabulous – Bird On A Wire

From IDMB (with “Bird On A Wire” lyrics placed in bold by me):

[Edina (Eddie) has lost her speech which she has to present to the PR meeting]

Eddie: Yeah I was gonna’ make a-

[taps microphone]

Eddie: Testing. Testing. -Yeah I was gonna’ make a speech, but I just can’t be bothered anymore. I mean, this used to be like fun you know; yeah it used to be fun, but I’m getting bored of all the ‘fun’ bits now. You know, your endless bloody lunches and launches, you know, no-career celebrities and party desperates. And what for, huh? Some colony of crap tags and mags! Well I’m sorry there has to be a little more than that doesn’t there?

[slams her handbag down]

Eddie: Hmmm? You know I had a speech, you know, my… my integrated-projected-global-tele-network system bloody system-system. But you know, if that’s what the worlds coming to I don’t want to be in it. No I don’t want that. I don’t want to be in some sort of cyber-space-hypervirtual bloody reality. I don’t want that- exchanging e-mails with some old age bloody hippies with more information at their fingertips than is safe to know about. I don’t want that! What kind of reality is that, huh, you know, with a thirteen-amp plug on the end of it? Huh? Huh?… That can be un-plugged like that? Come-on I’m going.

[She turns to leave, but… ]

Eddie: No I’m not going yet! No, you!

[points to her competition, Claudia Bing]

Eddie: You, you, just sit there like your velcroed to some bloody add-man! You know those crap-head add-men over there, you know, those kings of bastardization that have just taken everything that was ever real and genuine and honest and original and attached it to a toilet cleaner! Whereas I, I… Like a bird on a wire… Like a drunk in a midnight choir… I have tried in my way to be free.

[Then she sings]

Eddie: Like a bird, on a wire.

Patsy: Go for it Eddy.

Eddie: [singing] … Like a drunk in a midnight choir. I have tried in my way to be free.

[Claudia Bing and her colleagues are laughing]

Eddie: Yeah you can laugh, but you know something- I don’t want more choice I just want nicer things! And you, you can take that look off your face, sitting there with your… with your wheels and AIDS and starvation. You know, skimming a neat profit of the whole of human misery. Labeling us all with this- with this global guilt. Well it may not be all great and good but it ain’t that bad, so cheer up world it may never bloody happen!

[slams her bag down again]

Eddie: Come on I’m going.

[Edina walks off making rude farting sounds at everyone in the room]

Audio Only: Absolutely Fabulous – Bird On A Wire

Edina – “Bird On A Wire”
Spoken word portion

Edina – “Bird On A Wire”
Singing portion

Video: Absolutely Fabulous – Bird On A Wire

This clip (may not be available in all countries) comprises the final third of Absolutely Fabulous Series 3, Episode 4: Jealous (First broadcast 27 April 1995). The pertinent portion begins at 4:35


Note: Originally posted July 17, 2007 at 1HeckOfAGuy.com, a predecessor of Cohencentric


  1. Yes, I know that the name of the song on Leonard Cohen’s Songs From A Room album is “Bird On The Wire.” In the Ab Fab episode, it’s “Bird On A Wire” – as it is in The Essential Leonard Cohen album. []

Leonard Cohen talks about the opening verse of “Bird On The Wire”

Like a bird on the wire
Like a drunk in a midnight choir
I have tried in my way to be free

It’s as explicit as you can get. It mitigates a kind of arrogant human statement, which is ‘I’ve tried to be free’ – well everybody tries to be free. ‘In my way’ somewhat modifies and softens the idea, and also includes the possibility of failure. Because you say, you know, according to my own light and in my way I’ve tried, and I’ve messed it up like everybody else, but that was the effort.quotedown2

Leonard Cohen

From Harry Rasky’s 1979 book The Song of Leonard Cohen — Portrait of a Poet, a Friendship, and a Film, quoted in Behind The Song: Leonard Cohen, “Bird On A Wire” by Jim Beviglia. American Songwriter: July 25th, 2013. The complete, insightful article is available at the link.

Note: Originally posted July 25, 2013 at DrHGuy.com, a predecessor of Cohencentric

Leonard Cohen Video: Bird On The Wire Ft Mitch Watkins & Neil Larsen – NYC 2012

birdnyThis video, featuring a heartfelt performance by Leonard Cohen and impressive solos by Mitch Watkins on guitar & Neil Larsen on the Hammond B-3 Organ, is flawed only by the inordinate number of audience members standing and walking about. Where are these folks going in the middle of a song?

Leonard Cohen – Bird On The Wire
Madison Square Garden: Dec 18, 2012
Video: coneyislandgirl930

Note: Originally posted Dec 19, 2012 at 1HeckOfAGuy.com, a predecessor of Cohencentric

Kris Kristofferson’s Epitaph From Leonard Cohen’s Bird On The Wire


‘Like a bird on a wire,
Like a drunk in some midnight choir,
I have tried in my way to be free’

…. That’s my epitaph


Kris Kristofferson


From Take This Waltz: A Celebration of Leonard Cohen, Edited by Michael Fournier and Ken Norris (The Muses Company, Quebec, Canada: 1994). Photo by Ron Baker (Kingsnake) – Cropped from the original, SXSW 2006 – Kris Kristofferson – Austin Music Awards, CC BY-SA 2.0, via Wikipedia. Originally posted Nov 8, 2008 at DrHGuy.com, a predecessor of Cohencentric

Tom Cochrane’s Cover Of “Bird On A Wire” 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.

Tom Cochrane’s Grand Bird On A Wire


From CBC Radio Morningside with Peter Gzowski (Nov 18, 1992):

Peter Gzowski: Tom Cochrane has a beautiful  Bird On A Wire
Leonard Cohen: I know he does. It’s grand.

Tom Cochrane, is a Canadian singer-songwriter who fronted Red Rider as well as establishing a successful solo career, winning seven Juno Awards. He is a member of the Canadian Music Hall of Fame and was inducted onto the Canadian Walk of Fame in 2009. Tom Cochrane and Red Rider released their cover of Bird On A Wire on The Symphony Sessions album (1989).

Credit Due Department: Tom Cochrane photo by Scott Penner

Note: Originally posted Nov 7, 2014 at 1HeckOfAGuy.com, a predecessor of Cohencentric