“What A Wonderful World” By Louis Armstrong 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.

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Leonard Cohen – What A Wonderful World Is “Such A Very Beautiful Song”

In the May 27, 2006 episode of NPR’s Fresh Air, Terry Gross interviews Leonard Cohen1 about a variety of issues, one of which is how Cohen compares himself to classic American songwriters such as Irving Berlin, Cole Porter, and Harold Arlen. Cohen agrees with the characterization that he is more cynical than that group of composers and then segues into his (then) recent thought that perhaps he “should leave a song or two like [What A Wonderful World by Louis Armstrong] behind me.” In the process, he indeed describes What A Wonderful World as “such a very beautiful song.”

What A Wonderful World was written by Bob Thiele (as George Douglas) and George David Weiss and was  first recorded by Louis Armstrong, who released it as a single in 1968.2

Louis Armstrong Performs “What A Wonderful World”

Note: Originally posted Apr 11, 2011 at 1HeckOfAGuy.com, a predecessor of Cohencentric
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  1. See Hear Leonard Cohen Read His Poems & Talk About Boogie Street, The Loss Of His Savings, Mount Baldy Zen Center, & More []
  2. Wikipedia, accessed 11 April 2011 []

Bob Dylan’s “Brownsville Girl” 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.

Another Bob Dylan Hit On Leonard Cohen’s Playlist

knockout_lDylan’s “Brownsville Girl,” #3 on Leonard Cohen’s Top Ten Songs of 1988,1 joins “I And I” and “Tangled Up In Blue” on the list of songs specifically praised by Cohen.

Released in 1986 as a track on Bob Dylan’s “Knocked Out Loaded” album, “Brownsville Girl” (originally named “New Danville Girl”) was co-written by playwright Sam Shepard. Dylan performed it only once in concert, on August 6, 1986.2

Bob Dylan – Brownsville Girl

Bob Dylan Songs On Leonard Cohen’s Jukebox

Leonard Cohen-Bob Dylan Interface

All posts about Leonard Cohen’s & Bob Dylan’s opinions of each other, their meetings, and comparisons by others can be found at

Note: Originally posted June 27, 2010 at 1HeckOfAGuy.com, a predecessor of Cohencentric
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  1. From Leonard Cohen – In Eigenen Worten (in his own words) by Jim Devlin, a listing found by Florian at LeonardCohenForum []
  2. Wikipedia []

"The Grand Tour" by George Jones Is On Leonard Cohen’s Jukebox – Or At Least His Funeral Setlist

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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.

The Lord Byron Of Rock ‘n’ Roll1 and The Possum2

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Q:  What music would you have played at your funeral?
A: The Grand Tour by George Jones. He’s showing somebody round this empty house and he’s saying here’s the nursery, she left me without mercy.

Leonard Cohen answering an awkwardly phrased query in “Q Questionnaire – Leonard Cohen” from the September 1994 edition of Q Magazine.

To put the period during which this Leonard Cohen quotation was made in context, 1994 saw Leonard Cohen completing his tour promoting The Future and beginning his five year retreat at the Mt. Baldy Zen Center near Los Angeles.

George Jones has been featured in a previous Leonard Cohen’s Jukebox post, “Cold Hard Truth” Is On Leonard Cohen’s Jukebox:

Leonard Cohen’s interview with Mark Binelli for Rolling Stone in 20013 is, as suggested by its subtitle, “The cult hero on his songwriting, cooking and Chinese liquor,” wide-ranging. For the purposes of this post, however, the focus is on a few sentences about Cohen’s late night pleasures as a kid in Montreal, including a shout-out to WWVA in West Virginia:

I listened to country as a kid. I could get WWVA from West Virginia, late at night. Have you heard George Jones’ last record, Cold Hard Truth? I love to hear an old guy laying out his situation.4 He has the best voice in America.

According to Wikipedia, “The Grand Tour” was the title track to the album George Jones released in 1974 and  became “Jones’ sixth No. 1 song  on Billboard magazine’s Hot Country Singles chart in August 1974, and was the fourth-biggest hit of the year.”

George Jones – The Grand Tour

Note: Originally posted Jan 18, 2010 at 1HeckOfAGuy.com, a predecessor of Cohencentric

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  1. One of Leonard Cohen’s many nicknames. See Leonard Cohen Nicknames []
  2. Jones was nicknamed “The Possum” by a disc jockey because of the supposed similarity between the country singer’s and the semi-arboreal marsupial’s close set eyes and upturned nose []
  3. Q&A: The New Leonard Cohen – by Mark Binelli. Rolling Stone. Posted Oct 19, 2001. []
  4. I also love to hear an old guy laying out his situation. Incidentally, George Jones was born September 12, 1931, making him only 3 years older than Leonard Cohen, who was born September 21, 1934. It was because Jones began his professional career at 16 and was singing on Texas stations in the 1940s that his songs could possibly have been available on radio while Cohen was still an adolescent. I haven’t been able to track down when Jones began singing at WWVA, but, according to allmusic, the first George Jones recording (a single called “No Money in This Deal”) was released in early 1954, just after Jones returned from a stint in the Marines, on a local Texas label where it received no attention. At that time, Leonard Cohen would have been 19 years old. []

The Beatles’ "Tomorrow Never Knows" 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.

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Leonard Cohen On The Beatles

In “How The Beatles Changed The World,” a 30-minute CBC Radio documentary from Peter Gzowski, first aired in May 1967, Leonard Cohen notes that he has listened to the Beatles on “the AM band” of his transistor radio and specifically describes “Tomorrow Never Knows” as “very, very beautiful.” (See Hear Leonard Cohen Talk About The Beatles – 1967)

“Tomorrow Never Knows” – Background

Wikipedia informs us,

“Tomorrow Never Knows” is the final track of The Beatles’ 1966 studio album Revolver. It is credited as a Lennon/McCartney song, but was written primarily by John Lennon.

The song is significant because it contains the first example of a vocal being put through a Leslie speaker cabinet (which was normally used as a loudspeaker for a Hammond organ) and the use of an ADT system (Automatic double-tracking) to double the vocal image.

“Tomorrow Never Knows” ends the Revolver album in a more experimental fashion than earlier records, which contributed to Revolver’s reputation as one of the group’s most influential and expressive albums.

The Beatles – Tomorrow Never Knows
From Revolver

Note: Originally posted Setp 4, 2009 at 1HeckOfAGuy.com, a predecessor of Cohencentric

“Ol’ Man River” By Ray Charles 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.

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“Ol’ Man River” By Ray Charles

When people ask me, ‘What’s your favorite song?’ I say “Blueberry Hill.”1 “I found my thrill on Blueberry Hill / The moon stood still on Blueberry Hill.” That’s as good as it gets, as far as I know. You know everything about that moment. You know, you’re continually see-sawing back and forth between the secular and the spiritual until from time to time you hit it right. It’s there on “Blueberry Hill,” or “Old Man River” from Ray Charles. And what is that? What is that about? Is it about work? Is it about God? Is it about love? It’s impossible to say; it’s been transmuted into the world, and the song doesn’t invite you to examine your achievements in the realm of piety or religiosity or even love, but the song itself is embracing all those elements!
Leonard Cohen2

Ol’ Man River, with music by Jerome Kern and lyrics by Oscar Hammerstein II, was written for the 1927 musical Show Boat. Ray Charles released his version of the song on his 1963 album, Ingredients in a Recipe for Soul.

Video: “Ol’ Man River” By Ray Charles

Note: Originally posted Oct 23, 2014 at DrHGuy.com, a predecessor of Cohencentric

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  1. See “Blueberry Hill” By Fats Domino Is On Leonard Cohen’s Jukebox []
  2. Sincerely, L. Cohen by Brian Cullman. Details for Men, January, 1993. [emphasis mine] []

"Waltzing Matilda" By Tom Waits 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.

Tom Waits – Also Born With The Gift Of A Golden Voice

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Evidence of Leonard Cohen’s preference for today’s selection comes by way of Florian1 who submitted an excerpt from “Leonard Cohen – In Eigenen Worten” (In His Own Words) by Jim Devlin that includes a Leonard Cohen’s Top Ten Songs of 1988. Eighth on that list is “Waltzing Matilda” by Tom Waits, a song also known as “Tom Traubert’s Blues,” the opening track of the fourth Waits album, Small Change (1976).

And Tom Waits Likes Leonard Cohen – Go Figure

As it turns out, this is a mutual admiration sort of thing. Tom Waits, writing about his “20 most cherished albums of all time” in The Guardian, lists I’m Your Man by Leonard Cohen (Columbia, 1988) in the number 9 spot with this description of the Montreal Mensch.2

Euro, klezmer, chansons, apocalyptic, revelations, with that mellifluous voice. A shipwrecked Aznovar, washed up on shore. Important songs, meditative, authoritative, and Leonard is a poet, an Extra Large one.

The Video: “Waltzing Matilda” By Tom Waits

We are serendipitously blessed with an excellent video rendition of this song. Enjoy.

Note: While this song is often, as in this case, called “Waltzing Matilda,” its correct name is “Tom Traubert’s Blues.”

Tom Waits – Tom Traubert’s Blues aka Waltzing Matilda  (Live 1977)
Video from theBPlog

Note: Originally posted Feb 24, 2010 at 1HeckOfAGuy.com, a predecessor of Cohencentric
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  1. Of the several members of LeonardCohenForum who responded to my request for help in finding documented instances of Leonard Cohen favoring a specific song performed by another artist, Florian was far and away the most prolific. []
  2. “Montreal Mensch” is another of the nicknames applied to Leonard Cohen at one time or another. See Leonard Cohen Nicknames []

Joe Cocker’s Cover Of “Bird On A Wire” 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.

Leonard Cohen On Joe Cocker: “That man is one of the best singers the world has ever seen”

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Joe Cocker – 1970

From Bård Oses intervju med Leonard Cohen by Linn Gjerstad (BA: March 26, 2012; from May 4, 1988 interview) in Google Translation:

I am always intrigued when someone else record my songs. Especially if they are in foreign languages. I have heard my songs in Finnish, Japanese and Polish. Incredible. But Joe Cocker’s version of “Bird on a Wire” is my favorite. That man is one of the best singers the world has ever seen.

Note: Originally posted Mar 29, 2012 at DrHGuy.com, a predecessor of Cohencentric
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“My Way” By Sid Vicious 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.

My Way – The Sid Vicious Way

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Leonard Cohen on being asked about Frank Sinatra’s “My Way:”1

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I never liked this song [“My Way”] except when Sid Vicious did it. Sung straight, it somehow deprives the appetite of a certain taste we’d like to have on our lips. When Sid Vicious did it, he provided that other side to the song; the certainty, the self- congratulation, the daily heroism of Sinatra’s version is completely exploded by this desperate, mad, humorous voice. I can’t go round in a raincoat and fedora looking over my life saying I did it my way — well, for 10 minutes in some American bar over a gin and tonic you might be able to get away with it. But Sid Vicious’s rendition takes in everybody; everybody is messed up like that, everybody is the mad hero of his own drama. It explodes the whole culture this self-presentation can take place in, so it completes the song for me.quotedown2

Leonard Cohen

Sid Vicious – My Way
Video from SexPistolsArchives

Note: Originally posted May 14, 2014 at 1HeckOfAGuy.com, a predecessor of Cohencentric

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  1. Cohen’s Way by Mat Snow. The Guardian: February 1988. []