Leonard Cohen: 'I was a huge fan of Elvis'

By: Elvis Australia
Source: www.elvis.com.au
February 18, 2017

Though Leonard Cohen and Elvis Presley seem to occupy different time-zones in the history of rock, they were born within a year of each other. And Cohen, like John Lennon, Bob Dylan, Bruce Springsteen and so many others, vividly remembers the 'shock of recognition' he felt when he first heard Elvis Presley in the '50s.

Elvis Presley had that special kind of voice

'I was relieved that all the stuff we'd been feeling for so long found expression in Presley and in rock in general, I was playing his records all the time to friends when they'd come over. I'd say, 'This guy is a great singer' - and they thought this was some kind of inverse snobbery. But it wasn't. Presley had that special kind of voice which makes your heart go out to a singer'.

Leonard Cohen

From Leonard Cohen's interview with Hot Press in 1988 by Joe Jackson (Hot Press: 11 Nov 2016).

'I was a huge fan of Elvis!

'I have plans to sing an Elvis song on stage soon. … 'I was a huge fan of Elvis! I was in town until today and bought a compilation LP of the man. Soon you will hear me sing Don't and Are You Lonesome Tonight - but not at the plate. My voice is too deep. 20,000 cigarettes have led my tone of voice three to four notches down too far.

Leonard Cohen

* While we can't find any recordings of Leonard Cohen singing Don't or Are You Lonesome Tonight, he did cover Can't Help Falling in Love by Elvis Presley. He sings a bit of it, in fact, during this 1988 BBC interview.

From Click Here (BA: March 26, 2012) in Google Translation:

Leonard Cohen singing 'Can't Help Falling In Love; is available on 'The Other Leonard Cohen' Album.

Leonard Cohen's Jukebox

Don't and Are You Lonesome Tonight by Elvis Presley were on Leonard Cohen's Jukebox.

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