Leonard Cohen | Meaningful Music | Poetry

Leonard Cohen’s Who By Fire Best Covers And Interpretation

This classic song is philosophically rich while being catchy and enchanting in its overall sound and melody. In this post, let’s interpret the song, and look through some of the best covers of this song.

For Reference, Here Is The Original Who By Fire

I chose this live version because the string instruments sound extra enchanting; more so than in the recorded version. The strings used in this song is an instrument called “Archilaud” which I have to admit I only learned about from this song.

Who By Fire Interpretation And Meaning

During the 1973 war between Israel and Egypt, which is referred to as the Yom Kippur war, Leonard Cohen traveled to Israel to support the IDF soldiers. He wrote this song in days. The song is about the conundrum we all face. It’s the conundrum of not knowing how we will die.

“Who by fire, who by water, who in the sunshine, who in the nighttime.”

Of course, it wouldn’t be a Leonard Cohen song without beautiful, sensitive, and even vulgar poetry that he manages to somehow still make beautiful. Here is an example of such a line from the song:

Who in her lonely slip, who by barbiturate.

I’ll let you guess what a “lonely slip” is, but one thing is, but I’d invite you to think about the contrast of that, drugs, and the reality of that war. The first two are a part of regular life, and the reality of war puts the smallness and pettiness of many of our daily things in perspective.

My Favorite Cover Of Who By Fire by The Bad Sisters

It’s interesting to hear this song with female vocals. Plus, it’s very well done and emotionally compelling. The instrumentation adds a lot to the dramatic tension of the song. It’s very well done.

Darker, Rock Cover Of Who By Fire by Alex Genadinik

I loved this song so much that I made my own Who By Fire cover, but I chose to make mine more intense. I tried to make both, the vocal part and the video more intense. I hope you can humor me, and take a listen.

Sopfia Ammann – The Best Female Acoustic Who By Fire Cover

Sofia is a fantastic vocalist. Pay attention to intonations and accents she makes at different moments. She has great sensitivity to the song. She feels it, and you can tell by how sensitively she performs this song.

This is a live and unedited version, which is extremely impressive.

David Gilmore

The Avalanche Quartet Performing Who By Fire

Gal Klein & Seed Holden – Who By Fire

This cover is nicely done with a male and female duet! The video is great because you can see the emotional connection these performers have with the song.

This sound is close to how Leonard Cohen used to record and perform many of his songs. He often had female backup vocalists to contrast his low voice.

Similar Posts