Leonard Cohen’s Jukebox: In interviews through the years, Leonard Cohen has mentioned a handful of specific songs he favors. Leonard Cohen’s Jukebox is a Heck Of A Guy feature playing those tunes for your edification and entertainment.
Q: What music would you have played at your funeral?
A: The Grand Tour by George Jones. He’s showing somebody round this empty house and he’s saying here’s the nursery, she left me without mercy.
Leonard Cohen answering an awkwardly phrased query in “Q Questionnaire – Leonard Cohen” from the September 1994 edition of Q Magazine.
To put the period during which this Leonard Cohen quotation was made in context, 1994 saw Leonard Cohen completing his tour promoting The Future and beginning his five year retreat at the Mt. Baldy Zen Center near Los Angeles.
George Jones has been featured in a previous Leonard Cohen’s Jukebox post, “Cold Hard Truth” Is On Leonard Cohen’s Jukebox:
Leonard Cohen’s interview with Mark Binelli for Rolling Stone in 20013 is, as suggested by its subtitle, “The cult hero on his songwriting, cooking and Chinese liquor,” wide-ranging. For the purposes of this post, however, the focus is on a few sentences about Cohen’s late night pleasures as a kid in Montreal, including a shout-out to WWVA in West Virginia:
I listened to country as a kid. I could get WWVA from West Virginia, late at night. Have you heard George Jones’ last record, Cold Hard Truth? I love to hear an old guy laying out his situation.4 He has the best voice in America.
According to Wikipedia, “The Grand Tour” was the title track to the album George Jones released in 1974 and became “Jones’ sixth No. 1 song on Billboard magazine’s Hot Country Singles chart in August 1974, and was the fourth-biggest hit of the year.”
George Jones – The Grand Tour
Other Leonard Cohen’s Jukebox Posts
All posts featured in the Heck Of A Guy Leonard Cohen’s Jukebox series can be found at the end of the Leonard Cohen’s Jukebox Page._____________________
- One of Leonard Cohen’s many nicknames. See Leonard Cohen Nicknames [↩]
- Jones was nicknamed “The Possum” by a disc jockey because of the supposed similarity between the country singer’s and the semi-arboreal marsupial’s close set eyes and upturned nose [↩]
- Q&A: The New Leonard Cohen – by Mark Binelli. Rolling Stone. Posted Oct 19, 2001. [↩]
- I also love to hear an old guy laying out his situation. Incidentally, George Jones was born September 12, 1931, making him only 3 years older than Leonard Cohen, who was born September 21, 1934. It was because Jones began his professional career at 16 and was singing on Texas stations in the 1940s that his songs could possibly have been available on radio while Cohen was still an adolescent. I haven’t been able to track down when Jones began singing at WWVA, but, according to allmusic, the first George Jones recording (a single called “No Money in This Deal”) was released in early 1954, just after Jones returned from a stint in the Marines, on a local Texas label where it received no attention. At that time, Leonard Cohen would have been 19 years old. [↩]