Nominations Now Open For “The Most Underappreciated Leonard Cohen Song”

“I love talking about the various ways in which I am unappreciated”

Leonard Cohen1

The topic of underrated songs from Leonard Cohen’s oeuvre has been explored many times by the press.2 Now, however, I am shifting the debate to a different forum, one populated by fans of the Canadian singer-songwriter.

While I have my own contender for the “Most Underappreciated” title: Do I Have To Dance All Night – The Best Leonard Cohen Song You’ve (Probably) Never Heard, it is, one supposes, theoretically possible that another Leonard Cohen tune could be more deserving – especially since setting prescriptive criteria for “Most Underappreciated” has proven an insurmountable obstacle.

While I originally had in mind songs such as “Do I Have To Dance All Night,” “Leaving Green Sleeves,” “Ballad of the Absent Mare,” “The Captain,” Leonard’s cover of “To Love Somebody,” and “By the Rivers Dark,” I belatedly realized that even such classics as “Hallelujah,” “Suzanne,” and “Bird On The Wire” could – technically – be “underappreciated.”

So, I am asking fans for their nominations, secure in the conviction that they will recognize the subjective intent of “The Most Underappreciated Leonard Cohen Song.”

Nominations will be open until Noon (Eastern) Nov 8, 2019. The most popular nominations will then be submitted on “The Most Underappreciated Leonard Cohen Song” ballot for voting.

Note: The only certain way to make a nomination is as a comment to this post or via email to [email protected] Nominations made on Facebook may or may not be registered.

Credit Due Department: Photo by Lorca Cohen.


  1. This quote is listed but did not originate at Len’s Last Laugh by Barry Didcock. Sunday Herald: July 12, 2008. []
  2. E.g.,12 Underappreciated Leonard Cohen Songs by Ezra Glinter. The Jewish Daily Forward: September 20, 2014. []

44 thoughts on “Nominations Now Open For “The Most Underappreciated Leonard Cohen Song”

  1. Night Comes On. Love that song to bits and it also has the best girl backing singer ‘Woooh’ in any song ever. As in ‘I’m tied to the threads of some prayer- pause-wooooh’ Makes me a bit weepy every time I here it, it’s so beautiful. He played it the last time I saw him live in Dublin. What a treat that was…

  2. The Captain. Funny and irreverent. (Although I completely agree with the comment from Phil Church. Alexandra Leaving is moving beyond description and reveals how skilled Leonard was at taking someone else’s work and transforming it, whilst retaining the original purpose and emotional value.

    1. Night Comes On.

      It is one og my favourite songs, even though it makes me sad every time I listen to it. Still, it is hautingly beautiful, though seldomly performed and that is a shame.

  3. My nomination for underappreciated song is not an LC song per se, depending on how “LC song” is defined. The song is ‘Always’ (by Irving Berlin) as it is performed on ‘The Future.’ I love Leonard’s leisurely approach, the humour and fun in the performance (LC’s as well as the backing singers), and Leonard’s little improv with “a shakedown in the shower…” It’s a long and lazy and wonderful song!

  4. Sorry Alan! I can’t possibly choose just one. Some of my personal favourites are:
    Heart with No Companion
    Different Sides
    Did I Ever Love You
    The Lost Canadian
    By The Rivers Dark
    You Have Loved Enough
    One of us Cannot be Wrong
    Field Commander Cohen
    Lover Lover Lover
    Alexandra Leaving
    The Traitor
    Night Comes On
    The Window and …
    The Captain

    Apologies for the long list!

  5. Isn’t it a little oxymoron to choose the most underappreciated song by seeing which one will end up the most popular choice by his fans? (just asking).

    Anyway, I like the idea, so my nomination is the following (conditional):

    1) If covers are allowed to be nominated (though technically not LC’s songs), my nomination is “To Love Somebody”

    2) If covers are not allowed, then my nomination is “The Stranger Song”


    1. I’m unsure if it’s oxymoronic, ironic, or just moronic, but I couldn’t come up with a better methodology – other than making an ex cathedra pronouncement.

  6. I nominate ‘If I Didn’t Have Your Love’ from the ‘You Want It Darker’ album. Perhaps because this was Leonard’s last album (so we thought!) and the title track is so stunning, I feel that the lyrics of ‘If I Didn’t Have Your Love’ have not been given the attention they deserve. To me, it is simply the greatest love song ever. The words are truly beautiful.

  7. Ballad of the absent mare; Night comes on; The window; By the rivers dark; The captain; Heart with no companion…

  8. The Law. So unappreciated, no one has mentioned it! Beautiful melodies. Beautiful words. Almost with a semi reggae feel. An outstanding Cohen song that many forget about.

  9. ” Why don’t you try” Such a wonderful song from the album New Skin for the Old Ceremony. Hardly ever seen it posted

  10. Ballad of the Absent Mare!
    A beautiful song, wonderful to listen to, of course and a story with a profound meaning.

  11. I don’t see the song i love nominated here and is the” almost like the blues”.,but if i have to choose from the list then its must be ” A singer must die” a masterpiece i love and shivers me everytime i listen to it!

  12. I adore “Paper Thin Hotel” and would loved to have heard Leonard revisiting this song in his last decade. It would have been interesting to hear these lyrics with the benefit of his maturing ravishing voice.

    Also..Leonard did a cover version of a song called “Be for real”. It’s a heartstopper….truly underestimated.

  13. True Love Leaves No Traces.

    As we pass the three year anniversary of his death I reminded of the lines “ many nights endure, without a moon, without a star- so will we endure when one is gone and far”

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