“Take These Chains from My Heart” 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.

“Take These Chains from My Heart” By Ray Charles

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Leonard Cohen On “Take These Chains from My Heart” By Ray Charles

I told Cohen that “my first conscious experience of song as therapy” occurred one night 13 years earlier while I was listening to his recording, “Sing Another Song, Boys.” I explained why. He said, “That’s the way I feel when I hear certain songs at certain times. I feel, ‘He’s said it for me,’ like when Ray Charles sings ‘Take These Chains from My Heart (And Set Me Free)’. ”1

“Take These Chains from My Heart” was written by Fred Rose and Hy Heath for Hank Williams, whose recording of the song went to #1 in 1953 (after Williams’ death Jan 1, 1953). Ray Charles covered on his 1962 album,  Modern Sounds in Country and Western Music Volume Two.

Ray Charles – Take These Chains From My Heart

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  1. From Hallelujah – An Irishman’s Diary on meeting Leonard Cohen by Joe Jackson (Irish Times: Jan 1, 2017) []

Ray Charles Singing “You Win Again” 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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“Ray Charles The Singer I Would Never Be” – Leonard Cohen

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Typically, candidates for the Leonard Cohen’s Jukebox feature are discovered in his interviews. And, indeed, Cohen has often told interviewers about listening to Ray Charles albums when he and Marianne lived in Hydra:

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“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!
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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] []