“Oh! What It Seemed to Be” 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.

Oh! What It Seemed to Be

Tom Chaffin, author of Conversations From A Room (1993 Leonard Cohen interview), writes

Was looking at your Leonard Cohen Jukebox the other day, and thought of a song that he mentioned to me as one of his early favorites. At the time I wasn’t familiar with the song (just remember him reciting first verse or so), so I have no idea of what version he had in mind.

Wikipedia informs us

“Oh! What it Seemed to Be” is a song composed by Bennie Benjamin, George Weiss and Frankie Carle. The song was most popular in 1946, and was taken to number 1 that year by both Frank Sinatra and the Frankie Carle orchestra, the latter with Marjorie Hughes on vocals.

That first verse follows:

It was just a neighborhood dance
That’s all that it was
But, oh, what it seemed to be
It was like a masquerade ball
With costumes and all
Cause you were at the dance with me

Since Leonard was not, for the most part, a Sinatra fan, I’ve chosen the version by the Frankie Carle orchestra for this post.

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 Aug 21, 2017.


  1. Yakety Yak by Scott Cohen, 1994 []

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