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First We Take Manhattan

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'"First We Take Manhattan"' is a song written by Leonard Cohen which, despite never appearing on any of his studio or even live performance albums, was covered extensively by Warren Zevon while on tour in support of the Mr. Bad Example album accompanied by the Odds.

About the Song Edit

Leonard Cohen was one of Zevon's favourite songwriters, and with both Cohen and his backing band at the time being Canadian, it caused Warren to opine the following before one of his cover performances:

"I think the only three singer-songwriters I can stand since Bob Dylan are all Canadian. What do you think about that? So, we’re going to do a Leonard Cohen song for you here ... I was born to sing this song."

Although the song never appeared on any of his albums, recordings of these performances have been legally distributed on the Internet Archive.

Song Lyrics Edit

Note: the text of this song's lyrics is not under the same copyright license as the wiki's encyclopedic text, it is used under fair use/dealing.

They sentenced me to twenty years of boredom

For trying to change the system from within

I'm coming back, I'm coming to reward them

First we take Manhattan, then we take Berlin


I'm guided by a signal from the heavens

I'm guided by this birthmark on my skin

I'm guided by the beauty of our weapons

First we take Manhattan, then we take Berlin


I'd really like to live inside you, baby

I love your body and your spirit and your clothes

Do you see that thunder moving through the station?

I told you, I told you, I told you, I was one of those


I don't like your fashion business mister

And I don't like these drugs that keep you thin

And I don't like what happened to my sister

First we take Manhattan, then we take Berlin


I'd really like to live inside you, baby

I love your body and your spirit and your clothes

Do you see that lightning moving through the station?

I told you, I told you, I told you, I was one of those


Remember me, I used to live for music

Remember me, I brought your groceries in

It's Father's Day and everybody's wounded

First we take Manhattan, then we take Berlin

External Links Edit

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