The Original Leonard Cohen’s Jukebox
Biggest Influence on My Music
The jukebox. I lived beside jukeboxes all through the fifties. There was “The Great Pretender,” “Cross Over the Road.” 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’s Jukebox: Over the years, Leonard Cohen mentioned a number of specific songs he favored. 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.
Fats Domino’s Blueberry Hill Is Leonard Cohen’s Thrill
The Fats Domino rendition of “Blueberry Hill” is Leonard Cohen’s go-to song, the one, according to my assiduously nonscientific survey, he most often names as a great song. These excerpts from Cohen interviews are self-explanatory:
You want to hear a guy’s story, and if the guy’s really seen a few things, the story is quite interesting. Or even if he comes to the point where he wants to sing about the moon in June, there’s something in his voice … when you hear Fats Domino singing, “I found my thrill on Blueberry Hill,” whatever that’s about, I mean, it’s deep.2
Over the years I have discovered that a song eventually surrenders, it just needs enough time. But the amount of time is beyond any reasonable conception of how much time you should spend. You might think that it is going to take the rest of the day, the week or the month. But in my case it takes years. One of the greatest songs in history is ‘Blueberry Hill.’ ‘The moon stood still on Blueberry Hill.’ I would be happy to have written that line. I don’t know how long it took the guy to write it, but it probably didn’t take years.3
When I ask [Leonard Cohen] which songs he is most pleased with, he doesn’t name any of his own but quotes the Fats Waller4 standard: ‘The Moon stood still on Blueberry Hill.’ “If I thought I could write lines like that, I’d be more than happy.”5
“I think when you get really good, you write a line like, ‘I found my thrill on Blueberry Hill’, or, ‘The moon stood still on Blueberry Hill’. That’s beautiful, isn’t it? ‘The moon stood still’.”6
Fats Domino – Blueberry Hill
Credit Due Department: Fats Domino photo by Roland Godefroy; cropped by Erik Baas (Own work (photo personnelle)) [GFDL, CC-BY-SA-3.0, CC BY-SA 2.5-2.0-1.0, GFDL or CC BY-SA 4.0-3.0-2.5-2.0-1.0], via Wikimedia Commons
I am republishing selected posts from my former Leonard Cohen site, Cohencentric, here on AllanShowalter.com (these posts can be found at Leonard Cohen). This entry was originally posted April 10, 2009 at 1HeckOfAGuy.com, a predecessor of Cohencentric.
- Yakety Yak by Scott Cohen, 1994 [↩]
- Leonard Cohen’s Nervous Breakthrough by Mark Rowland (Musician, July 1988) [↩]
- Leonard Cohen Gave Me 200 Franc by Martin Oestergaard (Euroman, Denmark September 2001) [↩]
- My assumption is that the reference to Fats Waller is a typo or a similar error. As far as I can determine, Fats Waller has no connection to “Blueberry Hill” and in every other interview, Cohen refers to Fats Domino as the artist singing “Blueberry Hill.” [↩]
- Leonard Cohen: Love’s Hard Man by Alan Franks (The Times Magazine, 13 October 2001) [↩]
- Porridge? Lozenge? Syringe? by Adrian Deevoy (The Q Magazine, 1991) [↩]