Bird on the Wire - lyrics this tour

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paddieu
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Bird on the Wire - lyrics this tour

Postby paddieu » Fri Aug 01, 2008 1:54 am

Hi.

Can anyone point me to the lyrics to this, as sung on this tour ?

Thanks !
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tomsakic
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Re: Bird on the Wire - lyrics this tour

Postby tomsakic » Fri Aug 01, 2008 11:55 am

Well, on early recordings from June (Toronto etc.) he returned to early lyrics (I saw a woman leaning on her door... / I saw a beggar...), but few days ago in Lucca, he was again performing 1988-1993 version, with refrain "Don't cry, my friend, don't cry anymore". Then he introduced two completely new lines (not known on 1993 tour) - "It was you my loving was made for".
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Re: Bird on the Wire - lyrics this tour

Postby tomsakic » Fri Aug 01, 2008 12:14 pm

Original 1969 lyrics:
Like a bird on the wire,
like a drunk in a midnight choir
I have tried in my way to be free.
Like a worm on a hook,
like a knight from some old fashioned book
I have saved all my ribbons for thee.

If I, if I have been unkind,
I hope that you can just let it go by.
If I, if I have been untrue
I hope you know it was never to you.

Like a baby, stillborn,
like a beast with his horn
I have torn everyone who reached out for me.
But I swear by this song
and by all that I have done wrong
I will make it all up to thee.

I saw a beggar leaning on his wooden crutch,
he said to me, "You must not ask for so much."
And a pretty woman leaning in her darkened door,
she cried to me, "Hey, why not ask for more?"

Oh like a bird on the wire,
like a drunk in a midnight choir
I have tried in my way to be free
1979 Tour version had one different line in the first verse:
Like a bird on the wire,
like a drunk in a midnight choir
I have tried in my way to be free.
Like a worm on a hook,
Like a monk bending over the book
it was the shape of our love (that) twisted me.
You can hear that on Field Commander Cohen Tour of 1979 CD (2001).

Then, 1979 and 1985 tours saw this variation in the refrain, which will be soon completely replaced by the new one. Now, Leonard is again changing between few versions of this refrain:
I saw a beggar who was standing there on his wooden crutch
Oh he says to me "Leonard you can't ask for that much"
A pretty woman leaning in her darkened door
Oh she cries out to me "hey why not ask for just a little bit more"
[This 1979 version was sung in Toronto, June 6 2008; I have the recording.]

Then, after first few May 1988 shows, with that refrain, late 1988 tour saw completely new verse:
Ah Don't cry, don't cry no more
It's over now, it's over Baby
You see there's nothing left to pray for
Ah It's over now, don't cry, don't cry no more
It's over, completed, it's finished
It's been paid for...
Source: http://pagesperso-orange.fr/pilgraeme/

Now, in Lucca Leonard (and other recent shows?) returned to 1993 version, from Cohen Live CD (1994).
Like a bird on the wire
Like a drunk in an old midnight choir
I have tried in my way to be free
Like a worm on a hook
Like a knight bent down in some old-fashioned book
It was the shape of our love that twisted me

If I have been unkind
if I have been unkind
Oh, I hope you can find the way to let it all go right on by
if I have been untrue
if I have been untrue
It’s just that I thought a lover had to be some kind of liar too

(guitar solo)
(sax solo)

Like a little baby stillborn
Like a beast with his horn
I have torn everyone who reached out for me
But I swear by this song
By all that I have done wrong
I will make it all up to thee

Don’t cry, don’t, don’t cry, don’t cry no more
It’s all over now, it’s over babe, don’t cry no more
I say don’t cry, don’t cry, don’t cry, don’t cry anymore
It’s over. It’s finished. It’s completed. It has, it has been paid for.

Like a bird on the wire
Like a drunk in some old midnight choir
I have tried in my way to be free

(Source: Cohen Live, 1994)
In Lucca we heard:

Don’t cry, don’t, don’t cry no more
It’s all over now, it’s over, don’t cry no more
Don’t cry, don’t cry, don’t cry anymore
It was you that my love was made for.


(I can't swear how many "Don't cry" or "Ah" there was :) Beside new line, I surely recall he did say also "It is finished, it's done, it has been paid for.")

Of course, there are many variations of these lines over the many shows. I recall that on one of the 1993 bootlegs he was singing "It's done, consumatum est, it's finished, has been paid for.")
paddieu
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Re: Bird on the Wire - lyrics this tour

Postby paddieu » Mon Aug 04, 2008 5:11 pm

Thanks Tom :-)
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Bird on the Wire - new wordings at 2008 tour

Postby tomsakic » Tue Aug 05, 2008 2:28 pm

Trying to catch two new lines - I did say there are two, but I forgot the first one, and here it is in The Big Chill recording, something like "don’t cry, don’t cry, you are always the one (?)" , and then "It was you that my longing was made for" (longing, not loving?).

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=AfSRXzFRsyI&
Like a bird on the wire
Like a drunk in an old midnight choir
I have tried in my way to be free
Like a worm on a hook
Like a knight bent down in some old-fashioned book
It was the shape of our love that twisted me

If I have been unkind
if I have been unkind
I hope you can find the way to let it all go right on by
if I have been untrue
if I have been untrue
It’s just that I thought a lover had to be some kind of liar too

(electric guitar solo)
(saxophone solo)

Like a little baby stillborn
Like a beast with his horn
I have torn everyone who reached out for me
But I swear by this song
By all that I have done wrong
I will make it all up to thee

Ah, don’t cry, don’t cry, don’t cry anymore
It’s all over now, it’s done, it's been paid for
I say don’t cry, don’t cry, you are always the one (?)
It was you that my longing was made for

Like a bird on the wire
Like a drunk in an old midnight choir
I have tried in my way to be free
UrPal
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Re: Bird on the Wire - lyrics this tour

Postby UrPal » Tue Aug 05, 2008 4:12 pm

Yeah, I hadn't really noticed this new lyric in Bird On The Wire during the Manchester gigs, but it really stood out for me at the Big Chill as one of the most significant moments of the show. It's seems a very personal interlude/disclosure in a song which I generally regard as more "self-anthemic/analytical".

This is how I hear it:
Ah, don’t cry, don’t cry, don’t cry anymore
It’s over now, it’s done, it has been paid for
I said don’t cry, don’t cry, you were always the one
It was you that the longing was made for
It was particularly striking hearing it after being moved close to tears listening the previous morning to Marianne singing along with "So long.." on the radio . "Bird" was written during the Hydra years they shared. Marianne mentions that he ascribes the line "it was the shape of your love that twisted me" to her, and she, perhaps surprisingly, accepts it as a compliment.

The recollection he discloses of sharing a taxi down to Piraeus on a sunny morning back then and trying to recapture a similar moment repeatedly over the years without success was interesting.

Of course, there is no necessary relationship between the two, but the new lines certainly seemed a form of "confessional" to and about someone.
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Re: Bird on the Wire - lyrics this tour

Postby hydriot » Wed Aug 06, 2008 1:26 am

UrPal wrote:"Bird" was written during the Hydra years they shared. Marianne mentions that he ascribes the line "it was the shape of your love that twisted me" to her, and she, perhaps surprisingly, accepts it as a compliment.
In the interview, Marianne stated that it was her decision that she and Leonard would not have a child, and perhaps that was the (unusual) shape of her love that twisted Leonard into looking elsewhere for a womb for his chldren.
“If you do have love it's a kind of wound, and if you don't have it it's worse.” - Leonard, July 1988
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tomsakic
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Re: Bird on the Wire - lyrics this tour

Postby tomsakic » Wed Aug 06, 2008 10:42 am

I agree, UrPal, that line stands out, and it does sound very private, I also felt the same in Lucca last week, and it was the moment in show when I started to feel that the sadness didn't go away (Anthe, Who By Fire, Gypsy Wife, it was all slow and sad), but then the new joy and laugh everybody are talking about during this tour exploded in Tower of Song and particularly during all encores and ovations. But I felt it somewhere there in the middle of the concert, that he's probably away from Anjani and grandchild, living again all those old songs every evening and digging though them, and then sadness came from them. That new line in Bird on the Wire was the high peak of it (as well The Gypsy's Wife, which is the most important come-back song from ancient setlists), particularly with the way LC sings (at exactly that line, as many others, he kept his hand in front of his mouth, mic, or face, half hiding himself while singing, I felt that like urgent need for the privacy of the poetry).

You are right about those two lines, I shall correct my version, and here it is - the 2008 version of Bird on the Wire.
Like a bird on the wire
Like a drunk in an old midnight choir
I have tried in my way to be free
Like a worm on a hook
Like a knight bent down in some old-fashioned book
It was the shape of our love that twisted me

If I have been unkind
if I have been unkind
I hope you can find the way to let it all go right on by
if I have been untrue
if I have been untrue
It’s just that I thought a lover had to be some kind of liar too

(electric guitar solo)
(saxophone solo)

Like a little baby stillborn
Like a beast with his horn
I have torn everyone who reached out for me
But I swear by this song
By all that I have done wrong
I will make it all up to thee

Ah, don’t cry, don’t cry, don’t cry anymore
It’s over now, it’s done, it has been paid for
I said don’t cry, don’t cry, you were always the one
It was you that the longing was made for


Like a bird on the wire
Like a drunk in an old midnight choir
I have tried in my way to be free
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margaret
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Re: Bird on the Wire - lyrics this tour

Postby margaret » Wed Aug 06, 2008 3:21 pm

My own thoughts concerning Marianne's decision not to have a child are that she probably knew that Leonard was not faithful to her during their years together (such as on his trips back to Canada) and realised he could never make a lifelong commitment which she felt was important for a long term and stable family relationship. Marianne seemed an "old fashioned" girl in those "not so old fashioned times". Just my own speculation :)

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Dublin 15th June, Manchester 18th June, Edinburgh 16th July
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Joe Way
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Re: Bird on the Wire - lyrics this tour

Postby Joe Way » Wed Aug 06, 2008 4:04 pm

Like a bird on the wire,
like a drunk in a midnight choir
I have tried in my way to be free.
Like a worm on a hook,
Like a monk bending over the book
it was the shape of our love twisted me.
Tom,
He sang this version here in Madison in 1970-I distinctly remember because it was the first time that I had heard him change a lyric from the recorded version. I was quite impressed that he continued to revise after the "finished" recorded version.

Margaret,
I think that you make a very good case for Marianne's reasoning.

Joe
"Say a prayer for the cowboy..."
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Maarten
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Re: Bird on the Wire - lyrics this tour

Postby Maarten » Wed Oct 22, 2008 4:49 pm

I posted this on the Brussels 19-20 Oct. thread... Not Youtube, but some nice videos! The second part of Bird On The Wire starts with the new lyrics!
Here we go with some videos:

Avalanche.MOV (267.23 MB)
http://www.megaupload.com/?d=OFK9FYRN

Bird On The Wire.MOV (259.55 MB)
http://www.megaupload.com/?d=JS59VDE1

Bird On The Wire - You were always the one....MOV (92.17 MB)
http://www.megaupload.com/?d=TZH5VVE9

Famous Blue Raincoat.MOV (219.19 MB)
http://www.megaupload.com/?d=SYLC16Q9

The Partisan.MOV (382.17 MB)
http://www.megaupload.com/?d=NZVTQF91

I think you will have to install the "Download manager" from their website (there's a Download now button on the right somewhere). I've never used this before, let me know if it doesn't work...

Maarten

2008 Manchester | Bruges | Amsterdam | London | 2x Brussels | Rotterdam |2x London
2009 New York | Cologne | Antwerp | Venice | Colmar | Barcelona | Las Vegas | San José
2010 Salzburg | 2x Sligo | Helsinki | 3x Ghent | Lille | 2x Las Vegas
2012 5x Ghent | 2x A'dam | Helsinki | Dublin | Verona | 3x Paris | Lisboa
2013 Paris | Antwerp | Oberhausen | Brussels | Pula | Rotterdam | Amsterdam | 2x Wellington | Auckland
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tomsakic
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Re: Bird on the Wire - lyrics this tour

Postby tomsakic » Tue May 19, 2009 3:57 pm

Excellent shot of the "new" 2008/2009 version from NYC, May 17: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=2-yrJG5r9wE
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Re: Bird on the Wire - lyrics this tour

Postby somewhat_nifty » Sun May 31, 2009 4:26 pm

I think I prefer BOTW with the alternative 'don't cry' lyrics; the song has never been a particular favourite, but hearing Leonard sing those lines in NYC earlier this month really moved me, and I've had them running round my head ever since. Very touching.
I'm chained to the old masquerade...
2008: London O2 14th Nov, RAH 18th Nov; 2009: NY RCMH 16th May, Weybridge MBW 11th July, Barcelona 21st Sept; 2010: Sligo 31st July, Lille 25th Sept, Las Vegas 11th Dec; 2012: Wembley Arena 8th Sept, Dublin 11th Sept 2013: London O2 21st June, London O2 14th Sept
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tomsakic
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Re: Bird on the Wire - lyrics this tour

Postby tomsakic » Mon Jun 08, 2009 1:22 pm

Bird on the Wire in 1972: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Mjem3G_QsKA (Bird on a Wire movie)

Bird on the Wire in 1972 - backstage improvisation: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=wEJGWSRxW7U (Bird on a Wire movie)

Bird on the Wire in 1979: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=9tHvVqeWPF8 (Live at ZDF, Munich)

Bird on the Wire in 1985 - there's no video online, what's strange because there's almost whole Warsaw 1985 DVD on YouTube...

Bird on the Wire in 1988: the same, although YouTube has San Sebastian TV broadcast (Bird has been removed!), and The Songs from the Life of Leonard Cohen movie (that one has just first verse of Bird...)

No 1993 recording at all, but we have Cohen Live CD :)

Bird on the Wire in Summer 2008, "early" lyrics: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Q-bl44hqaFY (St. John's, Newfoundland audience video)

Bird on the Wire in Summer 2008, the "later" lyrics and the introduction of the new line: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=AfSRXzFRsyI& (The Big Chill audience video)

Bird on the Wire in Fall 2008, the "later" lyrics with new line: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=lNAqjMXROQ0 (Helsinki audience video)

Bird on the Wire in 2009: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=dBBOS6WBX5A (Coachella audience video)



PS. Bird on the Wire programmed to be sung by a robot voice: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=uGG1hzf6BFQ :shock:
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Re: Bird on the Wire - lyrics this tour

Postby Amos » Sun Mar 18, 2012 5:07 pm

UrPal wrote:
This is how I hear it:
Ah, don’t cry, don’t cry, don’t cry anymore
It’s over now, it’s done, it has been paid for
I said don’t cry, don’t cry, you were always the one
It was you that the longing was made for
A little nuance in those lines. The last line goes like that:
It was you that this longing was made for
This is both in the one on "Songs From The Road" and in NYC on May 17 2009.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=QOFWlkc0Qs4
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=2-yrJG5r9wE

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