Bon Jovi’s visit to one of Leonard’s Montreal haunts wasn’t their first connection with the Canadian singer-songwriter. Just after Leonard Cohen’s death, Bon Jovi tweeted
Leonard Cohen’s gone home. but he will live forever through his songs. thank you Leonard
Bon Jovi, who famously covered Leonard Cohen’s Hallelujah, had this to say in a 2008 interview (no longer online):
You’re covering Leonard Cohen’s Hallelujah these days. . .
It’s a pleasure to sing that song. I’m jealous . . . what a song.
Is that a song you wish you’d written?
It’s right up there, man. It’s up there in the Top 10 of all time. The only thing that gives me any solace is that I read it took him five years to write it. It’s a masterpiece.
Do you like the Jeff Buckley version?
I do. I saw him in a bar, couldn’t have been more than 50 people there, no exaggeration, in Asbury Park, New Jersey. It was for that first EP (Live at Sin-E) with the coffee cup ring on it. He was this close to the bar. He could sing. The honest-to-God truth is that was the first time I heard Hallelujah.
I didn’t know Cohen’s version before that. I heard that song and went, ‘‘There’s the hit!” and my friend went, ‘‘You genius, it’s a Leonard Cohen song, you’re not so bright are you?” Nope, but at least I wasn’t the last one to know it was a Cohen song.
Thanks to Marie Cohen Viana, who alerted me to the Moishes Steakhouse Facebook image.