Leonard Cohen Wedding Music: "I Do"

The Do I Have To Dance All Night Fan Club1

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.2

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

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.”3

Singing “Do I Have To Dance All Night” (see lyrics and hear audio below) in this setting is another matter altogether.4

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.5

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.

Audio

Do I Have To Dance All Night 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.

Lyrics

Do I Have To Dance All Night
I’m Forty-One, the moon is full,
you make love very well.
You touch me like I touch myself,
I like you Mademoiselle.
You’re so fresh and you’re so new,
I do enjoy you, Miss.
There’s nothing I would rather do
than move around just like this

But do I have to dance all night?
But do I have to dance all night?
Ooh tell me, Bird of Paradise,
do I have to dance all night?

You never really have to tell me what
you really think of me – alright.
Let’s say I’m doing fine,
but do I have to dance all night?

Do I have to dance all night? …

I learned this step a while ago.
I had to practice it while everybody slept.
I waited half my life for you, you know,
I didn’t even think that you’d accept.
And here you are before me in the flesh
saying “Yes, yes, yes!”

But do I have to dance all night? …

I learned this step a while ago …

But do I have to dance all night? …


  1. This is a Heck Of A Guy Confessional post. For the description and background of this format, see Meet The Confessionals. []
  2. The story of how I finally obtained a copy of this jewel of a song can the found at The Best Leonard Cohen Song You Have (Probably) Never Heard []
  3. 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. []
  4. I suppose other Cohen songs might be even more problematic (“Closing Time” comes to mind), but still … []
  5. And it wouldn’t hurt to have some talented bridesmaids as back up singers, but that may be pushing it a tad. []

Comments are closed.