Tim Hardin’s Cover Of “Bird On A Wire” Is On Leonard Cohen’s Jukebox

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 Cohen1

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.

Tim Hardin, Leonard Cohen, & Bird On A Wire

Gzowski: [The recording of Bird On A Wire to be played next] isn’t the best version and neither is yours.

Leonard Cohen: That’s right

Gzowski: Whose is?

Leonard Cohen: Tim Hardin’s is pretty good. … Tim Hardin did a very beautiful version of it. … Shortly before he died, he did that

Gzowski: … He used to be one of my favorites … He was drugged up all the time

Leonard Cohen: Yeah, I met him shortly before he died. He was all bloated up and swollen. I did get a chance to tell him how much I loved his songs.2


Also See: Tim Hardin’s “Don’t Make Promises You Can’t Keep” Is On Leonard Cohen’s Jukebox

The Tim Hardin Photo

The 1980 photo of Tim Hardin was taken by Joel Davis aka BuckarooBob on on Flickr, who writes

It was the WOW (Workers of the World) hall in Eugene, a town both Tim Hardin and I considered home. From the stage, he joked about the photographer in the pit and some of the social purists in the crowd began to boo my presence…apparently feeling that photography would infringe upon their enjoyment of the music. “Why would you booo the photographer?” Hardin asked, “he’s just working hard, doing his job.” I’d liked him before, I loved him now. Yeh. Yeh, boo birds.

So it was with sadness that I learned he died shortly after that show, in Los Angeles, California of a heroin and morphine overdose. Hardin’s songs are classics, “If I were a Carpenter”, “Reason to Believe”, “Red Balloon”, “Black Sheep Boy”, many gaining their greatest success when covered by other artists. Ironically, Hardin’s biggest hit may have been his own cover of Leonard Cohen’s “Bird on a Wire.”

From Joel’s description and Leonard Cohen’s account of meeting Hardin, it seems that the two events took place with the same time period shortly before Tim Hardin’s death and that this photo shows Hardin as he appeared when he and Leonard met.


Tim Hardin – Bird On A Wire

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 July 4, 2012 at 1HeckOfAGuy.com, a predecessor of Cohencentric.

  1. Yakety Yak by Scott Cohen, 1994 []
  2. From the Nov 18, 1992 CBC Radio Morningside interview with Peter Gzowski []

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