"old black Joe still picking cotton"


by Cheezaki

Leonard Cohen, "Everybody Knows", 1988

This great song by the unmistakable Leonard Cohen was featured heavily in the 1990 move "Pump Up the Volume", starring Christian Slater. It was about a rebel student who starts a pirate radio station and tells it like it is. A great cover was also done by the band Concrete Blond. Both versions are posted below.

Everybody knows that the dice are loaded
Everybody rolls with their fingers crossed
Everybody knows that the war is over
Everybody knows the good guys lost
Everybody knows the fight was fixed
The poor stay poor, the rich get rich
Thats how it goes
Everybody knows

Everybody knows that the boat is leaking
Everybody knows that the captain lied
Everybody got this broken feeling
Like their father or their dog just died

Everybody talking to their pockets
Everybody wants a box of chocolates
And a long stem rose
Everybody knows

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

Everybody knows, everybody knows
Thats how it goes
Everybody knows

Everybody knows, everybody knows
Thats how it goes
Everybody knows

And everybody knows that its now or never
Everybody knows that its me or you
And everybody knows that you live forever
Ah when youve done a line or two
Everybody knows the deal is rotten
Old black joes still pickin cotton
For your ribbons and bows
And everybody knows

And everybody knows that the plague is coming
Everybody knows that its 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 theres gonna be a meter on your bed
That will disclose
What everybody knows

And everybody knows that youre in trouble
Everybody knows what youve been through
From the bloody cross on top of calvary

To the beach of malibu
Everybody knows its coming apart
Take one last look at this sacred heart
Before it blows
And everybody knows

Everybody knows, everybody knows
Thats how it goes
Everybody knows

Oh everybody knows, everybody knows
Thats how it goes
Everybody knows

Everybody knows
Original to scenes from "Pump up the Volume"

Cover by Concrete Blond (1990?)


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for me it will always be a reminder

by fan (not verified) on

of Atom Egoyan's Exotica. He is The Man. However, my favorite is an oldie but a goodie: The Partisan, an old French resistance song from world war II that he revived as a folk song in the 60s.


i'm a big cohen fan

by Q on

this was the last place I expected to see a tribute to a French-Canadian Jew who sings in English. My favorite is actually "First we take Manhattan", but only partly for the totally random line: "I don't like you fashion business Mr.!!!"



Yes, David ET, that's why "Democracy is coming to the USA"

by cohen-fan (not verified) on



by IRANdokht on

I personally prefer Cohen's Hallelujah, even though Jeff Buckly's cover sounded much better and his death made the song even more haunting.

Who's his nephew?


David ET


by David ET on

Indeed Cohen is a gifted responsible poet and singer with many great songs.

As for old black Joe, his nephew may become next US president.

Thanks for the clips. Here is Cohen himself :