The first time I appreciated Leonard Cohen’s Bird on a Wire was when I heard it sung by Johnny Cash. Everything fell in place at once. If you only trust Cohen’s own interpretations, I’d recommend his late versions of the song.

About that second line, “Like a drunk in a midnight choir” – the reference seems to be to a bunch of revelers singing in the street at night, but I’d rather have a lone drinker wandering into a church during the nocturnal service. On the fringes, there’s also old Eben Flood singing alone, with only two moons watching. Cohen knew how to turn an image.

There are thousands of covers of Cohen songs on YouTube, obviously. My latest find has been So Long, Marianne covered by John Cale and Suzanne Vega.

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