Video: The Original 1986 “Take This Waltz” By Leonard Cohen

There’s a concert hall in Vienna
Where your mouth had a thousand reviews
There’s a bar where the boys have stopped talking
They’ve been sentenced to death by the blues
Ah, but who is it climbs to your picture
With a garland of freshly cut tears?

Leonard Cohen’s 1st “Take This Waltz” Recording

Leonard Cohen’s “Take This Waltz,” with lyrics based on “Pequeno Vals Vienés” (Little Viennese Waltz) by Federico Garcia Lorca, was released as a track on the “I’m Your Man” album (February 1988).

A different version of “Take This Waltz,” however, was released in 1986. This rendition was recorded by Leonard Cohen in Paris, at Studios Montmartre in September 1986, as part of a tribute album, “Poetas En Nueva York,” which celebrated the 50th anniversary of the assassination of the Spanish poet.

The 1988 version of “Take this Waltz” is a remix of the 1986 version with the addition of Jennifer Warnes1 on vocals and the violin of Raffi Hakopian.2

Leonard Cohen went to the native soil of Lorca in the province of Granada in Spain to shoot the official video of the original (1986) version “Take This Waltz:”


Leonard Cohen – Take This Waltz
Official Video


Cohencentric published several posts about Leonard Cohen’s Take This Waltz being based on his translation of Pequeño Vals Vienès by Federico García Lorca:

I am republishing selected posts from my former Leonard Cohen site, Cohencentric, here on (these posts can be found at Leonard Cohen). This entry was originally posted Dec 3, 2012 at, a predecessor of Cohencentric. Dominique BOILE contributed information for this post.


  1. Warnes sang backup on the 1972 and 1979 Leonard Cohen Tours and performed on Live Songs (1973), Recent Songs (1979), Various Positions (1985), I’m Your Man (1988), The Future (1992), Field Commander Cohen: Tour of 1979 (2001), and Old Ideas (2012) []
  2. Hakopian played on the Recent Songs and I’m Your Man albums as well as touring with Leonard Cohen in 1979 and 1980 []

One thought on “Video: The Original 1986 “Take This Waltz” By Leonard Cohen

  1. Jennifer Warnes let her voice spread gold on some of Leonard Cohen’s best dance themes over the decades, didn’t she? From “Dance Me to the End of Love” to “Take This Waltz” – and even on “Thanks for The Dance”.

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