Everybody Knows (Leonard Cohen song)

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"Everybody Knows"
Song by Leonard Cohen
from the album I'm Your Man
Released February 1988
Genre Folk
Length 5:37
Label Columbia Records
Songwriter(s) Leonard Cohen
Sharon Robinson
I'm Your Man track listing
Ain't No Cure for Love
"Everybody Knows"
I'm Your Man

"Everybody Knows" is a song written by Canadian singer-songwriter Leonard Cohen and collaborator Sharon Robinson. It has often been covered and used in soundtracks.


"Everybody Knows" was first released on Cohen's album I'm Your Man, February 1988.

Five minutes, 37 seconds in duration, "Everybody Knows" is known for its somber tone and repetition of the title at the beginning of most verses. Featuring phrases such as "Everybody knows that the dice are loaded" and "Everybody knows that the good guys lost", "Everybody Knows" has been variously described by critics as "bitterly pessimistic" yet funny,[1] or, more strongly, a "bleak prophecy about the end of the world as we know it."[2] The lyrics include references to AIDS,[3] social problems,[4] and relationship and religious issues.[5]


"Everybody Knows" has been widely used in television and film. Allan Moyle's 1990 film Pump Up the Volume featured the song prominently. A favorite of protagonist Mark Hunter (Christian Slater, as the operator of an FM pirate radio station), Cohen's song is played from an on-screen phonograph several times during Mark's clandestine broadcasts. A cover by Concrete Blonde is used at the film's end, and it is this cover version that made it onto the film's soundtrack album rather than Cohen's version.

Cohen's original version was also featured prominently in Atom Egoyan's 1994 film Exotica, as the theme music of exotic dancer Christina (Mia Kirshner) when she performs at the club of the film's title. The soundtrack album for Exotica, featuring music composed by Mychael Danna, does not include Cohen's recording of this song, either.

The song is also used in the film the King of Kong and as theme music for episodes of SexTV. It was used in an episode of the Quebec mystery Fortier. Though the show is entirely in French, the song is played with its original English lyrics.

American rock band Guns N' Roses also used to use the song as their introduction music just before starting some of their concerts on their two-year-long Use Your Illusion world tour at the beginning of the 1990s.

Don Henley's version is heard in episode 219 of the television series Judging Amy, which aired in 2001. Later, the Concrete Blonde version was featured in the third episode of the first season of Dirty Sexy Money entitled the "Italian Banker".

"Everybody Knows" has also been used in a June 2008 anti-smoking advertisement commissioned by the New South Wales government in Australia with the theme "everybody knows smoking causes these diseases ... yet you still do it".

Holly Figueroa recorded the song for her 2007 album Gifts and Burdens. This version was featured in the closing credits of the season 3 finale of Damages which aired in April 2010.

The Toronto, Canada theater company Soulpepper used the song between scenes of its production of David Mamet's play Oleanna in March 2011.

"Everybody Knows" has also been used in as a soundtrack during the closing credits on "Crossfire" the ninth episode of the first season of the TV series Homeland. It originally aired on Showtime on November 27, 2011.

"Everybody Knows" was used in the closing credits of the movie,"The Program". The movie is about the rise and fall of the infamous, former seven-time winner of the Tour De France Lance Armstrong. The version used in the movie is Leonard Cohen's original composition performed by him.

Cohen's song is also featured in two films from 2016, The Infiltrator and War Dogs.

Cover versions[edit]

Like many of Cohen's songs, "Everybody Knows" has been covered by several artists


Chart (2016) Peak
France (SNEP)[6] 88


  1. ^ Browne, David (June 16, 1988). Leonard Cohen: I'm Your Man : Music Reviews. Rolling Stone. Accessed July 14, 2006.
  2. ^ Holden, Stephen (June 21, 2006). 'Leonard Cohen: I'm Your Man': A Documentary Song of Praise. The New York Times. Accessed July 14, 2006.
  3. ^ Stephen Scobie, Intricate preparations: writing Leonard Cohen, ECW Press, 2000, ISBN 1-55022-433-6, p. 123.
  4. ^ Maurice Ratcliff, The complete guide to the music of Leonard Cohen, Omnibus Press, 1999, ISBN 0-7119-7508-6, p. 81.
  5. ^ Barry Alan Farber, Rock 'n' roll wisdom: what psychologically astute lyrics teach about life and love, Greenwood Publishing Group, 2007, ISBN 0-275-99164-4, p. 25.
  6. ^ "Le Top de la semaine : Top Singles Téléchargés - SNEP (Week 46, 2016)" (in French). Syndicat National de l'Édition Phonographique. Retrieved November 19, 2016. 

External links[edit]