Friday Interlude – a favourite lyric from a favourite singer-songwriter

I was listening to the repeat of this week’s Desert Island Discs on Radio 4 this morning. Lauren Laverne’s guest was Professor Sir David Spiegelhalter (right), a statistician from Cambridge University, whose clear analysis of Covid statistics has enhanced the R4 airwaves all through the lockdowns and beyond. You can listen to the episode on BBC Sounds here – Spiegelhalter is fascinating.

Spiegelhalter also has (IMHO) excellent taste in music, and for his first choice he picked Leonard Cohen’s wonderful ‘Everybody Knows’ (from his 1988 album ‘I’m Your Man‘). The song is in D Minor, and the gloomy but so witty lyrics are pure poetry, so I wanted to share a couple of the verses with you.

And everybody knows that you love me baby
Everybody knows that you really do
Everybody knows that you’ve been faithful
Ah, give or take a night or two
Everybody knows you’ve been discreet
But there were so many people you just had to meet
Without your clothes
And everybody knows

And everybody knows that the plague is coming
Everybody knows that it’s moving fast
Everybody knows that the naked man and woman
Are just a shining artifact of the past
Everybody knows the scene is dead
But there’s gonna be a meter on your bed
That will disclose
What everybody knows

Watch Cohen perform the song live in London here, or listen to the album version here. Enjoy!

17 thoughts on “Friday Interlude – a favourite lyric from a favourite singer-songwriter

    • AnnaBookBel says:

      Although I was aware of him primarily through songs like ‘Suzanne’, I didn’t start listening to him seriously until this album with its ‘angel chorus’ contrasting with his voice. Wonderful, dark but witty. That was the hook for me.

  1. Jenny Holden says:

    Love him!, Saw him twice on his last tour. I always think people underestimated his dry humour. Great man!

  2. winstonsdad says:

    Love Cohen my favourite song by him is dance me to the although ask me next week will change his later albums are among the best a singer has made in later life

  3. Boschfan says:

    I had the great good fortune of seeing LC in Leeds on his final tour and, in over 45 years of regular live concert-going, this was one of the most moving, uplifting and involving shows I have ever attended. The respect the musicians showed each other and the integrity of the performance were spellbinding. Even recalling it now as I write sends a shiver down my spine. It was a magical evening.

  4. BookerTalk says:

    I shared a room in my first year in college with a Cohen fan. I think I’d like him more if I hadn’t been made to listen to him over and over and over….

  5. Anokatony says:

    First of course I loved Suzanne, but what really turned me into a Leonard Cohen fan was the album ‘Famous Blue Raincoat’ by Jennifer Warnes which consists entirely of Leonard Cohen songs. Later I discovered that he wrote ‘Hallelujah’.
    I find the second verse of the song you quote quite enigmatic.

  6. imogenglad says:

    I love LC and love Spiegelhalter so was delighted to hear a combination of the two yesterday morning! I thought the programme was really moving, I’ve always liked Spiegelhalter’s warmth and wisdom, but I also found him quite inspiring to listen to yday.

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