Leonard Cohen’s Jukebox
Biggest Influence on My Music – The jukebox. I lived beside jukeboxes all through the fifties. … 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 Cohen (Yakety Yak by Scott Cohen, 1994)
Leonard Cohen’s Jukebox: Over the years, Leonard Cohen has mentioned a handful of specific songs he favors. Leonard Cohen’s Jukebox is a Heck Of A Guy 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 Leonard Cohen’s Jukebox Page.
Fats Domino’s Blueberry Hill Is Leonard Cohen’s Thrill
The Fats Domino rendition of “Blueberry Hill” is Leonard Cohen’s go-to song, the one, according to my assiduously nonscientific survey, he most often names as a great song. These excerpts from Cohen interviews are self-explanatory:
Leonard Cohen’s Nervous Breakthrough by Mark Rowland (Musician, July 1988)
Cohen: You want to hear a guy’s story, and if the guy’s really seen a few things, the story is quite interesting. Or even if he comes to the point where he wants to sing about the moon in June, there’s something in his voice … when you hear Fats Domino singing, “I found my thrill on Blueberry Hill,” whatever that’s about, I mean, it’s deep.
Leonard Cohen Gave Me 200 Franc by Martin Oestergaard (Euroman, Denmark September 2001)
“Over the years I have discovered that a song eventually surrenders, it just needs enough time. But the amount of time is beyond any reasonable conception of how much time you should spend. You might think that it is going to take the rest of the day, the week or the month. But in my case it takes years.
“One of the greatest songs in history is ‘Blueberry Hill.’ ‘The moon stood still on Blueberry Hill.’ I would be happy to have written that line. I don’t know how long it took the guy to write it, but it probably didn’t take years.”
Leonard Cohen: Love’s Hard Man by Alan Franks (The Times Magazine, 13 October 2001)
When I ask him which songs he is most pleased with, he doesn’t name any of his own but quotes the Fats Waller1 standard: ‘The Moon stood still on Blueberry Hill.’
“If I thought I could write lines like that, I’d be more than happy.”
Porridge? Lozenge? Syringe? by Adrian Deevoy (The Q Magazine, 1991)
“I think when you get really good, you write a line like, ‘I found my thrill on Blueberry Hill’, or, ‘The moon stood still on Blueberry Hill’. That’s beautiful, isn’t it? ‘The moon stood still’.”
Fats Domino – Blueberry Hill
- My assumption is that the reference to Fats Waller is a typo or a similar error. As far as I can determine, Fats Waller has no connection to “Blueberry Hill” and in every other interview, Cohen refers to Fats Domino as the artist singing “Blueberry Hill.” [↩]