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.
Suzanne Vega “make[s] austerity extremely seductive”
In a 1992 interview,1 Suzanne Vega and Leonard Cohen discussed,2 along with many other topics (e.g., Howard Stern, Christmas gifts, politeness, the superior stylishness of wine and water compared to coke and orange juice), songs from Vega’s 99.9 album that had just been released.
One of the songs with which Cohen is clearly taken is “If You Were (In My Movie):”
Cohen: If You Were In My Movie , in that song you seem to indicate that you would give wide allowance to anyown you fall in love with.
Vega: I don’t know if that’s true, maybe, probably. I don’t know.
Cohen: Is that what the song is about?
Vega: The song is about flirting. It’s a flirting kind of song. It’s a song looking at another person and saying these are qualities that you could be, that you could have within you. These are the things that I see.
Cohen: You could realize these things with me.
Vega: Yeah, if you wanted to. It’s putting a glamorous light on someone’s character. Saying these are the things that, when I look at you, these are the things I see. It’s like taking someone’s basic nature and making it more than it actually is.
Cohen: You have managed to make austerity extremely seductive. There is a very seductive quality about your record, although nothing is given away, nothing is thrown away, nothing is revealed.
Suzanne Vega – If You Were (In My Movie)
Video from haramist
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.
Credit Due Department: Davido at LeonardCohenForum alerted me to Leonard Cohen’s favorable comments about Suzanne Vega’s songs made in the referenced interview.
- This interview was previously on Suzanne Vega’s web site, but I cannot find it there or elsewhere on the Internet now. I was lucky enough to have made a copy of the interview when it was available. [↩]
- Ostensibly, Suzanne Vega was interviewing Leonard Cohen. I know that because the heading of the transcript is “The Leonard Cohen Interview – Suzanne Vega Interviews Leonard Cohen.” From the content of the interview’s transcript, however, it appears that, as is true of most of Cohen’s interviews, he is steering the conversation. [↩]