“Ol’ Man River” By Ray Charles 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.

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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.

“Ol’ Man River” By Ray Charles

When people ask me, ‘What’s your favorite song?’ I say “Blueberry Hill.”2 “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


This is one of 5 Ray Charles songs on :

  1. A Special Leonard Cohen’s Jukebox Selection: His Favorite Song Played While Writing The Favourite Game: “I Wonder” By Ray Charles
  2. “Ol’ Man River” By Ray Charles Is On Leonard Cohen’s Jukebox
  3. Ray Charles Singing “You Win Again” Is On Leonard Cohen’s Jukebox
  4. “Take These Chains from My Heart” By Ray Charles Is On Leonard Cohen’s Jukebox
  5. “Losing Hand” By Ray Charles Is On Leonard Cohen’s Jukebox

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 Oct 23, 2014 at DrHGuy.com, a predecessor of Cohencentric.


  1. Yakety Yak by Scott Cohen, 1994 []
  2. See “Blueberry Hill” By Fats Domino Is On Leonard Cohen’s Jukebox []
  3. Sincerely, L. Cohen by Brian Cullman. Details for Men, January, 1993. [emphasis mine] []

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