"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. []

Winner Of “Last Song I Would Have Guessed Would Be On Leonard Cohen’s Jukebox” – “Gums Bleed” By You’ve Got Foetus On Your Breath

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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.

Foetus & Jim Thirlwell

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Wikipedia is useful in clarifying who/what Foetus is:

Foetus is the primary musical outlet of industrial music pioneer J. G. Thirlwell. Until 1995 the band underwent various name changes, all including the word foetus. Monikers adopted at different times include Foetus Under Glass, You’ve Got Foetus On Your Breath and Scraping Foetus Off The Wheel. After 1995 the name permanently became Foetus, though the related project The Foetus Symphony Orchestra was founded in 1997 and continues. Thirlwell acts as the sole instrumentalist, vocalist, songwriter and producer for all Foetus works and as such is the only member of the band. Other artists may occasionally collaborate with Thirlwell on Foetus works but are not considered members of Foetus. Thirlwell is solely responsible for the musical output of the band.

This laudatory assessment posted by Andy Hinds at AllMusic is, however, helpful in characterizing the band’s music and style:

Continue Reading →

Tim Hardin’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.

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Tim Hardin – Taken in Eugene’s WOW Hall 1980

Gzowski[The recording of Bird On A Wire to be played next] isn’t the best version and neither is yours.

Leonard Cohen: That’s right

Gzowski: Whose is?

Leonard CohenTim Hardin’s is pretty good. … Tim Hardin did a very beautiful version of it. … Shortly before he died, he did that

Gzowski: … He used to be one of my favorites … He was drugged up all the time

Leonard Cohen: Yeah, I met him shortly before he died. He was all bloated up and swollen. I did get a chance to tell him how much I loved his songs.

– From the Nov 18, 1992 CBC Radio Morningside interview with Peter Gzowski

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The Tim Hardin Photo

The photo of Tim Hardin was taken by Joel Davis aka BuckarooBob on on Flickr, who writes

It was the WOW (Workers of the World) hall in the Eugene, a town both Tim Hardin and I considered home. From the stage, he joked about the photographer in the pit and some of the social purists in the crowd began to boo my presence…apparently feeling that photography would infringe upon their enjoyment of the music. “Why would you booo the photographer?” Hardin asked, “he’s just working hard, doing his job.” I’d liked him before, I loved him now. Yeh. Yeh, boo birds.

So it was with sadness that I learned he died shortly after that show, in Los Angeles, California of a heroin and morphine overdose. Hardin’s songs are classics, “If I were a Carpenter”, “Reason to Believe”, “Red Balloon”, “Black Sheep Boy”, many gaining their greatest success when covered by other artists. Ironically, Hardin’s biggest hit may have been his own cover of Leonard Cohen’s “Bird on a Wire.”

From Joel’s description and Leonard Cohen’s account of meeting Hardin, it seems that the two events took place with the same time period shortly before Tim Hardin’s death and that this photo of Hardin is a close approximation of his appearance when he and Cohen met.

Tim Hardin – Bird On A Wire

Note: Originally posted July 4, 2012 at 1HeckOfAGuy.com, a predecessor of Cohencentrich

“The Great Pretender” By The Platters Is On Leonard Cohen’s Jukebox

jukebox700Note: Originally posted Jun 17, 2014 at 1HeckOfAGuy.com, a predecessor of Cohencentric

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 Great Pretender

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I never made a big distinction between that which we call a poem and that which we call a song. It was the sort of expression which used beauty, rhythm, authority and truth. All these ideas were implicit. … I made no distinction between the popular expression and the literary expression. I knew that “The Great Pretender” was a very good poem; I made no hierarchies.quotedown2

Leonard Cohen1

The Platters released “The Great Pretender” as a single on November 3, 1955.  The words and music were created by Buck Ram, the Platters’ manager and producer.

Video: The Platters – The Great Pretender

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  1. Comme Un Guerrier by Christian Fevret (Throat Culture magazine, 1992). Underlining mine. []

“Etude Op. 10, No. 1” By Chopin Is On Leonard Cohen’s Jukebox

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The Original 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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Chopin Breaks Into Leonard Cohen’s Top Ten

The fourth entry on Leonard Cohen’s Top Ten Songs of 1988, a listing found in “Leonard Cohen – In Eigenen Worten” (In His Own Words) by Jim Devlin, is Chopin’s “Etude Op.10 No. 1 in C.”

The description of this piece offered by Wikipedia follows:

Étude Op. 10, No.1 in C major, composed by Frédéric Chopin, is a technical study in reach and arpeggios for the piano. It also focuses on stretching the fingers. Sometimes it is known as the “Waterfall” étude. It was composed in 1829, and first published in 1833, in France, Germany, and England. In a prefatory note to the 1916 Schirmer edition the American music critic James Huneker (1857–1921) compared the “hypnotic charm” that these “dizzy acclivities and descents exercise for eye as well as ear” to the frightening staircases in Giovanni Battista Piranesi’s prints of the Carceri d’invenzione.

After viewing a performance of this piece, I concur with the “dizzy acclivities and descents exercise for eye as well as ear” part. Watch this.

Chopin’s Etude Op10 No.1 Performed By Valentina Lisitsa
Video from ValentinaLisitsa

Credit Due Department: Florian earns a tip of the Cohencentric fedora for submitting the reference from “Leonard Cohen – In Eigenen Worten” (In His Own Words) by Jim Devlin, which includes Leonard Cohen’s Top Ten songs of 1988.1

Note: Originally posted June 9, 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 instances of Leonard Cohen favoring a specific song performed by a specific artist, Florian was far and away the most prolific. []

KD Lang’s Cover Of “Hallelujah” Is On Leonard Cohen’s Jukebox

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Note: Originally posted May 13, 2012 at 1HeckOfAGuy.com, a predecessor of Cohencentric

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.

“[Hallelujah] really been done to its ultimate blissful state of perfection”

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In the case of this song, the evidence of Leonard Cohen’s approbation comes from his long-time backup singer and partner, Anjani Thomas:

After hearing KD Lang perform that song at the Canadian Songwriter’s Hall of Fame in 2006 we looked at each other and said, “Well, I think we can lay that song to rest now! It’s really been done to its ultimate blissful state of perfection.”1

KD Lang – Hallelujah
2006 Canadian Songwriter’s Hall of Fame

Credit Due Department: Photo of KD Lang by Charlie Llewellin from Austin, USA – kd lang, CC BY-SA 2.0, https://commons.wikimedia.org/w/index.php?curid=15062259

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  1. Anjani Thomas: “Sometimes You Just Get Very Lucky!” by Alan Pedder (Wears the Trousers Magazine. 8 July 2008) []