Do I Have To Dance All Night – The Leonard Cohen Video You’ve Never Seen

The Do I Have To Dance All Night Crusade

Recurrent Heck Of A Guy visitors may be familiar with the rumor that I am fond of “Do I Have To Dance All Night” by Leonard Cohen. And, indeed, I’ve promoted this song since publishing The Best Leonard Cohen Song You’ve Never Heard (Probably) almost three years ago.

Although Cohen sang “Do I Have To Dance All Night” frequently in concerts, it has been available for retail purchase only as a seven inch single, originally recorded at a 1976 concert in Paris and pressed in Holland for sale in Central European countries.1 There was, of course, no official video.

But now – well, there still isn’t an official “Do I Have To Dance All Night” video. I have, however, cobbled together a pastiche of Cohen-associated photos and clips that kinda sorta fits the music. I offer this advice to those in the audience for this premiere showing:

  1. The optimal viewer mindset is thinking of this not as a music video but rather something to watch while listening to a wonderful, under-appreciated song by Leonard Cohen.2 As a bonus, Leonard Cohen fans may garner a modicum of entertainment by determining the origins of the clips and the identities of the various characters on the video.
  2. Those unable to squelch the notion that this is or should be a music video are advised to view it in the manner one watches those cavalierly dubbed Japanese martial arts movies. Squinting has also been found helpful although at least one early viewer reports the ingestion of 3-5 shots of tequila to be an efficacious and altogether more enjoyable means of enhancement.

And, a robustly sustained willing suspension of disbelief is always appreciated.

Leonard Cohen – Do I Have To Dance All Night (With Laura Branigan)

The Reference Key: Since uploading this video to YouTube, I’ve received many questions about the origins of specific clips or the identities of individuals in the montage. Consequently, I’ve constructed a story board identifying the major scenes and characters and providing links to more information and to most of the videos:  Do I Have To Dance All Night Video References Key

The 1980 Version of “Do I Have To Dance All Night”

A substantially different rendition of “Do I Have To Dance All Night” – more gypsy,  less funky – was performed during Leonard Cohen’s 1980 tour.  And, sure enough, I’ve put together a video for that one as well. It’s available at 1980 Do I Have To Dance All Night Video.

  1. The record’s cover art, I now believe, is based on  the scene that followed the  woman’s accusatory query, “Is it true that ‘Do I Have To Dance All Night’ won’t be included on an album?” Why else would Leonard Cohen look  remorseful? []
  2. That said, I maintain that some video segments are more effective when set to “Do I Have To Dance All Night” than as they were originally used. []

0 responses to “Do I Have To Dance All Night – The Leonard Cohen Video You’ve Never Seen

  1. This was LOVELY! Hey, you really made my day – grand use of material, no time to squint though, for I was busy recognizing stuff I partly liked better here than in the original *lol* Finally a good use of the weird jumping on the bed naked and lots of dancing action by Leonard and the various background singers which added to the fun.
    I particularly liked the silent movie-like ending …
    Hmmm, should I finally go and buy “I am a Hotel”?

  2. Well done and thanks for sending the link. I have passed it on.

    BTW with reference to Was (not Was) that was their name not Was (was not!)

    Apparently because the name of Don Was is pronounced Wass and not Was.

    Yours pedantically….

  3. Great job Doctor HeckofaGuy!


  4. That is fantastic – however much time you spent making it was worth it ;) I always love glimpses of Len dancing, and you’ve assembled them here nicely! Where’s the bit where he skips through the doors from?

    • You are, in the words of our favorite icon, too kind. I put the thing together over the course of one evening and the next morning when I couldn’t sleep. It didn’t take long after I figured out how to use Windows Movie Maker and how to convert movie formats.. Cohen’s ghostly skipping through the doors, a precursor of skipping on and off stage, is from the official Memories video – when the two dancers run from the laundry area to the stairs, Cohen follows them out the laundry area door.

      • Well you learn something new every day – I’d never watched it long enough before as I thought it was a bit weird and I much prefer the live version to the album one anyway. I should be more open minded, who knows what I’m missing out on.

        Thanks again for a great video, it totally fits the spirit of the song :)