The TWO Best Leonard Cohen Songs You've (Probably) Never Heard

This query arose in the comments section of Blue Alert Alert – And Some Unreleased Tracks From The Other Guy:

Where and how did you hear “Do I Have To Dance All Night”
and “There’s No Reason Why You Should Remember Me?”

The question references my footnote in the original post,

Neither of my two personal favorite candidates for additional tracks, “Do I Have To Dance All Night” and “There’s No Reason Why You Should Remember Me,” made the list for these first three albums. Bummer.

I’m responding in a post rather than a follow-up comment because I find it impossible to pass up an opportunity to talk about (or listen to) Leonard Cohen songs.1

Do I Have To Dance All Night


To listen to “Do I Have To Dance All Night” and to peruse the definitive discussion of that wonderful song, including my personal quest to obtain a decent version of it, I refer readers to The Best Leonard Cohen Song You’ve (Probably) Never Heard

For those obsessed with convenience rather than thoroughness, I’ve also embedded a player below. Listeners should be warned that, as noted in The Best Leonard Cohen Song You’ve (Probably) Never Heard,

Even though this MP3 file was made from a good copy of the record, the quality of the original recording is not superb. And, the “live” part of the live recording is, in my view, a liability rather than an asset; I find, for example, that I much prefer the one-hand-clapping phenomenon to a crowd’s synchronized hand-clapping during a concert.

Several sources mention the existence of a studio version of “Do I Have To Dance All Night” that I assume is of higher quality.2

Do I Have To Dance All Night by Leonard Cohen

Audio clip: Adobe Flash Player (version 9 or above) is required to play this audio clip. Download the latest version here. You also need to have JavaScript enabled in your browser.

There’s No Reason Why You Should Remember Me

“There’s No Reason Why You Should Remember Me” was played for a Live at the BBC Television Theatre performance broadcast 31 August 1968. Many of the other songs on the playlist were taken from the 1967 release of Songs Of Leonard Cohen, one of the albums being reissued 24 April 2007.

This set also appeared in a bootleg album, Leonard Cohen — At The Beeb (Yellow Cat Records, Luxembourg (YC 018), 1993).

I first heard of the song when I attended Naked … The Music of Leonard Cohen, a memorably impressive cabaret presentation by an ensemble of singers and a backup band that played at Davenport’s in Chicago almost five years ago.3

The show took place in a small room jammed with listeners of the type I admire: each of them seemed to know every word of every song — but felt no necessity to sing along. During a break, I chatted with one of the singers, mentioning that my obscure Cohen song of choice was “Do I Have To Dance All Night” She countered with her preference, “There’s No Reason Why You Should Remember Me,” and gave me a URL where I could download the MP3.4

In retrospect, the song was an appropriate requiem for my relationship with the woman I brought to the show that night. The song consists of only one line that is repeated several times, No it wasn’t any good, there’s no reason why you should, remember me

Cohen precedes the song with this introduction:

Now I’m going to give you a second chance. [soft laughter] This is the formula in which you can articulate the very worst kind of anxieties, fears, short circuits between all possible relationships and by singing it, with me, you will resolve all those things, and everything will be straight, you will be straighter than you have ever been. You can really look at the person next to you and things will be so good. Really!

Following the song is a bit of banter re the introduction of miniskirts to Edmonton and the not unrelated origin of “The Sisters of Mercy.”5

Many Cohen aficionados are unimpressed by “There’s No Reason Why You Should Remember Me.” “Unremarkable” is a typical assessment, and another critic describes “There’s No Reason Why You Should Remember Me” as “not so much a ‘song’ but a brief rap with the audience, including a one-line tune with which the crowd sings along.”

I, on the other hand, (correctly) find it poignant and brave without succumbing to ostentation or sentimentality. Nonetheless, I admit that “Do I Have To Dance All Night” rates a quantum step or two higher in my preferences and that some portion of my interest is generated by the unavailability of this song except from bootlegged sources.

There’s No Reason Why You Should Remember Me by Leonard Cohen

Audio clip: Adobe Flash Player (version 9 or above) is required to play this audio clip. Download the latest version here. You also need to have JavaScript enabled in your browser.


  1. The reader should be grateful; the post I’m preparing and planned on publishing today includes a tutorial on web site statistics that may be the high point of the piece. []
  2. On my life list of disappointments, not owning or even having listened to the studio version of “Do I Have To Dance All Night” ranks just below my first marriage and just above my failure to simultaneously play first base for the Cubs and first chair violin for the Chicago Symphony Orchestra []
  3. According to an email of mine I just unearthed, admission to the show was $20 with a two-drink minimum. []
  4. It is, I suppose, telling, that I was extraordinarily excited about the URL she offered and only realized the next day that a more worldly sort might have expected or at least hoped she would also scribble her own email address with a salacious suggestion that we get in touch. []
  5. Cohen’s live performances have been marked by this sort of chatting with the audience. One of my favorite bits is his introduction to “First We Take Manhattan” at the Falkoner Theater in 1993: “I thank you for the items that you sent me. Those roses that you sent to my hotel this morning, they were the reddest roses [pause] with the largest thorns that I ever did see. And I thank whoever the kind person was for signing your name in such a manner that I could not read it. I deeply appreciate your sense of modesty” []

0 responses to “The TWO Best Leonard Cohen Songs You've (Probably) Never Heard

  1. Thank You, thank You, and once again, the huge, very big “thank You”! It may be a crappy MP3, but I wasn’t alive yet in 70s and wasn’t able to buy any record outside Poland. My heart is trembling and my hands are shaking. Thank You!