Leonard Cohen’s Other "Do I Have To Dance All Night" (1980 Version) Gets Its Own Video

A Perplexed Leonard Cohen Asks, "Do I Have To Dance All Night"

A Perplexed Leonard Cohen asks, “Do I Have To Dance All Night” (re-enactment)

“Do I Have To Dance All Night” Keeps On Dancing

- Not Unlike Leonard Cohen

As many readers know, I am an unrepentant fan of Leonard Cohen’s “Do I Have To Dance All Night,” a fascination well documented at Heck Of A Guy, beginning with The Best Leonard Cohen Song You’ve Never Heard (Probably).

That first post focuses on the quasi-funky version of “Do I Have To Dance All Night” that Cohen, aided and abetted by backup vocalist, Laura Brannigan, performed, sometimes twice in the same concert, during his 1976 tour. This was also the version that was released for sale, albeit only as a 7″ single and only in Europe.

To promote the 1976 rendition of “Do I Have To Dance All Night,” (or, as I prefer to think of it, to enrich the tragically empty lives of my fellow earth-dwellers who have not yet heard this hymn of cosmic salvation), I recently put together  a “Do I Have To Dance All Night” video that, as previously (and accurately) described, “kinda, sorta fits the music.”

The 1980 Revision Of Do I Have To Dance All Night

Compared to the 1976 rendition, the version of “Do I Have To Dance All Night” performed on the 1980 tour has a distinctly slower tempo and a less disco-more Eastern sound1 which utilizes the style and talents of his band, Passenger, the jazz fusion group co-founded by Roscoe Beck which featured oriental instruments (John Bilezikjian on oud and mandolin and Raffi Hakopian on gypsy violin),2 and Sharon Robinson, the backup singer for the 1980 tour.3

The Making Of  The Video For  “Do I Have To Dance All Night” (1980 Version)

Neither version of “Do I Have To Dance All Night” has an official or performance video.  As I did earlier with the “Do I Have To Dance All Night” video, I have now “cobbled together a pastiche of Cohen-associated photos and clips that kinda sorta fits the music.”

Piecing together a video for the 1980 version of “Do I Have To Dance All Night” was a significantly more difficult task than it was for the 1976 edition. This was in part due to my profligate use of my favorite segments from Cohen-related and graphics for that first effort (I did not plan on making a second “Do I Have To Dance All Night” video at the time), but the primary problem has to do with the musicological differences between the renditions and the predominate styles of the source videos. The 1976 performance features an upbeat tempo that works well with a wide variety of video scenes while the slower rhythms of the 1980 recording  fit a much smaller group of clips.

Likewise, the mood of the two versions vary in sync with their respective beats.  While almost every dancing scene I found, for example, seemed to fit the music  of the 1976 version, only smooth, gliding dance moves worked, with a couple of exceptions,  in the 1980 rendition. One victim of this kind of incongruity were the extraordinarily popular shots from the 2008-2009 Word Tour in which Leonard Cohen performs his jig while singing about “the white man dancing” in “The Future.” While these segments, without any alteration other than extracting them from their sources,  fit into the first video easily, they clashed with the rhythm (and tone) of the 1980 version of the song.

Reflecting the similarities and contrasts between the two versions of the song, the two videos have parallel scenes (the opening of the 1980 version’s video is obviously derivative of its predecessor) and other scenes set against the same group of words in the lyrics that have nothing in common.

My self-imposed rules governing sources follow:

  1. All videos and graphics used have a readily apparent connection to Leonard Cohen. For example, in addition to Cohen’s own music videos, potential sources included documentaries about and interviews with Cohen.4
  2. Source videos which contributed clips to the composite video for 1976’s  “Do I Have To Dance All Night” are also mined for components to be used in the video for 1980’s  “Do I Have To Dance All Night,” but the exact scenes are not  re-used.

As was true for the first “Do I Have To Dance All Night” video, “the optimal viewer mindset is thinking of this not as a music video but rather something to watch while listening to a … Leonard Cohen tune” that I find impressive and especially enjoyable. “As a bonus, Leonard Cohen fans may garner a modicum of entertainment by figuring out the origins of the clips and the identities of the various characters on the video.”5

Although second novels, second albums, second films, and even, I suspect, second homemade cut and  paste YouTube videos  are notoriously problematic, I’m happy enough with the result.

It is, after all, the world’s  best – and only – video of the 1980 version of Leonard Cohen’s  “Do I Have To Dance All Night.”


Credit Due Department: Photo by Laszlo of Montreal

  1. See Another Best Leonard Cohen Song Some Of You Still Haven’t Heard []
  2. Passenger is yet another connection between Leonard Cohen and Joni Mitchell. According to KOOP, in 1979, Passenger moved from Austin to Los Angeles to work with Joni Mitchell in a project that fell through, after which the band was “tapped by Leonard Cohen to be the core band of his latest album and follow-up tour that year.” Cohen was, however, actually introduced to the band through a producer with whom he and Mitchell both worked. This excerpt from Field Commander Cohen summarizes the events:

    In 1978 Leonard Cohen contacted music producer Henry Lewy to work with him on the recording of Recent Songs. Lewy had previously used the musicians from Passenger, a Texas-based fusion-rock group, on an album he had produced for Joni Mitchell and so he called upon them for Leonard’s album. Thus, Mitch Watkins (electric guitar), Paul Ostermayer (sax), Steve Meador (drums), Roscoe Beck (bass), and Bill Ginn (keyboards) joined violinist Raffi Hakopian, oudist John Bilezikjian and vocalists Jennifer Warnes and Sharon Robinson at A&M Studios in Los Angeles for the recording of the album.


  3. Sharon Robinson and Jennifer Warnes were the backup vocalists on the 1979 tour, but Warnes did not return for the 1980 tour. []
  4. I think  my video premiering today  has only one ringer that is so obscure that only a hard core Cohenite – or a loyal Heck Of A Guy reader – is likely to recognize the source. My guess is that only a few folks will be able to identify all of the other clips but a significant number will recognize having seen them all before  although they may not bit be able to name the source and any given segment, except the potential ringer, will be specifically identified by at least a few dozen folks. []
  5. A listing of the specific sources of the visual segments of this video can be found at Do I Have To Dance All Night (1980 Version) Video Sources. []

0 responses to “Leonard Cohen’s Other "Do I Have To Dance All Night" (1980 Version) Gets Its Own Video

  1. Puddingdale

    *lol* Even Shrek :)
    This one clearly worked very well, mademoiselle ;) Even better than the first, more in rhythm and some source videos that were new to me. So, I will be very curious to read your storyboard. Well done as usual! :)

  2. Few “boring” biographical additions by another LC researcher (that would be me:): I believe that Joni Mitchell introduced Cohen to Henry Lewy after his “disaster” with Phil Spector. Also, in 1979/80. Warnes was trying to break up to the scene and had a major country single and album, so her record company was quite upset when she went to 1979 tour with Cohen – in 1980 she was forced to leave the band and work on her own self promotion.

    • For Heck Of A Guy readers who are not also LeonardCohenForum readers, I should introduce Tom. How about this? Tom is, at least by my lights, the leading contender for Grandmaster Of Leonard Cohen Facts. Tom is also the proprietor of A Thousand Kisses Deep, a remarkable source of reliably accurate Cohen info.