From Jennifer Warnes Sings "Way Down Deep" To Leonard Cohen Recites "A Thousand Kisses Deep"

The Alpha And Omega (So Far) Of “A Thousand Kisses Deep”

As is true of many Leonard Cohen songs, “A Thousand Kisses Deep” has a complex history. Tom Sakic and I thought it would be interesting to present the earliest performed precursor of this song  juxtaposed with the most recent version.

The result is a video with Jennifer Warnes1 singing the gorgeous but routinely overlooked “Way Down Deep” (by Jennifer Warnes, Leonard Cohen, and Amy Latelevision:2 by Leonard Cohen) from her 1992 album, The Hunter, followed by Leonard Cohen’s July 20, 2009 recitation of “A Thousand Kisses Deep” in Dublin.

Between these end points, “A Thousand Kisses Deep” – both the song and the poem, both in print and as performed – has undergone changes in specific lyrics and the addition, subtraction, and rearrangement of stanzas.

The closest we have to a definitive manuscript of all verses is dated September 21, 1998 and is available online at Blackening Pages: A Thousand Kisses Deep.3 From that point on, the versions are combinations and permutations of these verses with occasional changes in lines and phrases.

The Video: Jennifer Warnes’ “Way Down Deep” To Leonard Cohen’s “A Thousand Kisses Deep”

Despite being romantics at heart, neither Tom nor I planned this as a Valentine’s Day commemoration – but, just as sure as there ain’t no cure for love, it is a suitable treat for those with a Cohenesque perspective.

Video from DrHGuy

Bonus: Leonard Cohen’s 1996 “A Thousand Kisses Deep”

This video clip is from Armelle Brusq’s movie, “Leonard Cohen Spring 96,”4 shot at the Mt Baldy Zen Center.

Leonard Cohen – A Thousand Kisses Deep – 1996 Demo

Video from a1000kissesdeep (AKA Tom Sakic)

Credit Due Department: The photo of Jennifer Warnes and Leonard Cohen at the synthesizer atop this post is from the Jennifer Warnes web site. The photo of those same two individuals and canine companion at the table is from LeonardCohenFiles.

  1. For more about the connections between Leonard Cohen and Jennifer Warnes, see Jennifer Warnes’ Famous Blue Raincoat Reissued On 20th Anniversary, Blog Error On Jennifer Warnes Famous Blue Raincoat Corrected – By Jennifer Warnes, and, of course, The Leonard Cohen Christmas Album []
  2. Lyrics: Way Down Deep

    way down, way way down
    way way down deep
    you’re got me way down, way way down,
    way way down deep
    you’re got me way down, way down deep
    I wander with you in my sleep
    I’m way down, way way down,
    way way down deep
    It came to me this morning
    I was walking down the street
    was like my soul could taste you
    and God, you tasted sweet
    finally I can breathe again
    finally I can speak
    I’ve got you in the glory place
    I’ve got you way down deep

    I’ve got you way down, way way down,
    way way down deep
    you’re got me way down, way way down,
    way way down deep
    you’re got me way down, way way down,
    I wander with you in my sleep
    I’m way down, way way down,
    way way down deep

    it’s a funny feeling
    but I cannot say I mind
    I know that I’m dealing with
    a love that’s far from blind
    I see every single angle
    I look before I leap
    how else can I put it
    when you’re got me way down deep

    you’ve got me way down, way way down,
    way way down deep
    you’ve got me way down, way way down,
    way way down deep
    you’ve got me way down, way down deep
    I wander with you in my sleep
    I’m way down, way way down,
    way way down deep

    don’t matter what we gave away
    was nothing we could keep
    don’t matter what we gave away
    you know that talk is cheap
    forgive me if I hate you
    you’re a liar and a thief
    but I’ve got you in the glory place
    I got you way down deep

    you’ve got me way down, way way down …

    don’t matter if the road is long
    don’t matter if it’s steep
    don’t matter if the moon goes out
    and darkness is complete
    don’t matter if we lose our way
    I know we;re gonna meet
    I’ve got you in the glory place
    I’ve got you way down deep

    you’ve got me way down, way way down .. []

  3. Leonard Cohen’s 1996 demo from Armelle Brusq’s movie at Mt Baldy referenced at at Blackening Pages: A Thousand Kisses Deep is also available on YouTube and can be viewed below in the embedded player near the end of this post. []
  4. See Superb Video Of Leonard Cohen At Mt Baldy Zen Center – Armelle Brusq’s 1996 Film Now Online []

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