"Waltzing Matilda" By Tom Waits Is On 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: 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 that began playing these tunes for your edification and entertainment on April 4, 2009.

Tom Waits – Also Born With The Gift Of A Golden Voice

Evidence of Leonard Cohen’s preference for today’s selection comes by way of Florian1 who submitted an excerpt from “Leonard Cohen – In Eigenen Worten” (In His Own Words) by Jim Devlin that includes a Leonard Cohen’s Top Ten Songs of 1988. Eighth on that list is “Waltzing Matilda” by Tom Waits.

And Tom Waits Likes Leonard Cohen – Go Figure

As it turns out, this is a mutual admiration sort of thing. Tom Waits, writing about his “20 most cherished albums of all time” in The Guardian, lists I’m Your Man by Leonard Cohen (Columbia, 1988) in the number 9 spot with this description of the Montreal Mensch.2

Euro, klezmer, chansons, apocalyptic, revelations, with that mellifluous voice. A shipwrecked Aznovar, washed up on shore. Important songs, meditative, authoritative, and Leonard is a poet, an Extra Large one.

The Video: “Waltzing Matilda” By Tom Waits

We are serendipitously blessed with an excellent video rendition of this song. Enjoy.

Note: While this song is often, as in this case, called “Waltzing Matilda,” its correct name is “Tom Traubert’s Blues.”

Tom Waits – Tom Traubert’s Blues aka Waltzing Matilda  (Live 1977)

Video from theBPlog


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.

  1. Of the several members of LeonardCohenForum who responded to my request for help in finding documented instances of Leonard Cohen favoring a specific song performed by another artist, Florian was far and away the most prolific. []
  2. “Montreal Mensch” is another of the nicknames applied to Leonard Cohen at one time or another. See Leonard Cohen Nicknames []