Saying “I Do” To “Do I Have To Dance All Night” – Leonard Cohen Wedding Music

The Do I Have To Dance All Night Fan Club

I have long considered myself a leading contender for the title of “Biggest Fan of Do I Have To Dance All Night,” a wonderful Leonard Cohen song, the allure of which is no doubt enhanced by the fact that it is available commercially only as a seven inch, 45 rpm single, originally recorded at a 1976 concert in Paris and pressed in Holland for sale in Central European countries.1

I was, in fact, convinced that there was a significant gap between my degree of the devotion to “Do I Have To Dance All Night” and that evidenced by other admirers of that song.

Then I heard from Oded.

I’ve excerpted the essence of our email exchange below:

Oded: I just happened to stumble upon your post, The Best Leonard Cohen Song You Have (Probably) Never Heard, when looking for a lyrics of a different song of this great man.

Thanks so much!! I really love this song! I even think I’ll surprise my fiancé with this song at our wedding

DrHGuy: Do I Have To Dance All Night is one of my favorites, and I think it would be a great wedding song – if your fiancé is a Cohen fan as well. Otherwise, lines like “you touch me like I touch myself,” could lead to a certain awkwardness. That said, I’ve successfully integrated Leonard Cohen’s and Anjani’s songs into a wedding playlist with great success.

Oded: I’m thinking about putting that song at around 1-2am when everyone’s tired but still dancing… If you could send that version along I’d be super-happy!

Selecting Leonard Cohen Songs For Matrimonial Harmony

One of the first Warning Signs Of Leonard Cohen Fan Syndrome I posted follows:

You have been disappointed and perplexed when attending any event – including but not limited to weddings, funerals, b’nei mitzvah, high school proms, jai ala matches, openings of strip malls, kindergarten graduations, meetings of the Daughters Of The American Revolution, presidential inaugurations (regardless of country), royal coronations (regardless of country), coups d’etat (regardless of country), space launches, summer solstices, and Metallica concerts – that did not feature at least one Leonard Cohen song.

Now, Leonard Cohen’s music has graced many nuptial events. Typically, however, the songs from his discography most frequently heard in this context have been “Take This Waltz,” “Dance Me To The End Of Love,” The Marriage March” (from Night Music), “Hallelujah,” and, less often, “I’m Your Man” and “Tennessee Waltz.”2

Singing “Do I Have To Dance All Night” in this setting is another matter altogether.3

Doing so during the dancing that celebrates the marriage ratchets the potential for provocation up another notch and a successful performance will call for an extraordinarily loving groom and dedicated Leonard Cohen fan in the role of singer.

It will also require a bride who is a very special Bird of Paradise.4

I’m betting on Oded and his betrothed.

I can only hope someone has the presence of mind to record the performance so that we can offer a long awaited cover version of “Do I Have To Dance All Night.” I would have to work on the liner notes, but I already have the art prepared (see image atop post).


Leonard Cohen – Do I Have To Dance All Night (With Laura Branigan)
Recorded in Paris: 1976
Video by Allan Showalter

I am republishing selected posts from my former Leonard Cohen site, Cohencentric, here on (these posts can be found at Leonard Cohen). The majority of this material was originally posted Oct 27, 2008 at, a predecessor of Cohencentric.

  1. The story of how I finally obtained a copy of this jewel of a song can the found at Do I Have To Dance All Night: The Best Leonard Cohen Song You Have (Probably) Never Heard []
  2. My dinner music selections for the Very Very Good Girl – SportsBizPro wedding included Cohen’s “Ain’t No Cure For Love” and Anjani’s “I Had to go Crazy to Love You,” but there is a huge jump from choosing a playlist and performing those songs. []
  3. I suppose other Cohen songs might be even more problematic (“Closing Time” and “Last Year’s Man” come to mind), but still … []
  4. And it wouldn’t hurt to have some talented bridesmaids as back up singers, but that may be pushing it a tad. []

2 thoughts on “Saying “I Do” To “Do I Have To Dance All Night” – Leonard Cohen Wedding Music

  1. Allan, I have “Do I have to Dance All Night” on a double CD: Leonard Cohen, Once More for Marianne. It was recorded at the 10th Montreux International Festival in 1976.

    1. That’s true but Once More For Marianne wasn’t an official release – it was a bootleg

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