Saturday Songsters on a Sunday – Leonard Cohen

With yesterday being the sixth of the month – and so taken by my post for the monthly Six on the Sixth challenge – my Saturday Songsters post was delayed until today. This week’s track is ‘Suzanne’ by the Canadian singer-songwriter, Leonard Cohen.

Leonard Cohen 2107
Image by Rama via Wikimedia Commons
I first heard Leonard Cohen’s music in my early teens when my Mum bought a greatest hits album – much to my Dad’s disgust. Mum has always liked his music but Dad still refers to it as “music to slash your wrists to”. Whist it may not be the most upbeat music in the world, I’ve always found his lyrics stunning and that’s what makes me simply close my eyes and listen. Leonard Cohen was my first introduction to singer-songwriters. A large percentage of my music collection is now made up of them!

As well as a musician and songwriter, Cohen is also a poet. He has thirteen studio and six live albums in his discography – the earliest produced in 1967 and the most recent in 2014 – and has also written thirteen poetry collections and two novels. I’ve not yet read these but I’m very tempted to.

The track ‘Suzanne’ is one of my favourites – though I can say that about lots of them! It was originally written as a poem in 1966 and in the same year was covered by the singer, Judy Collins. Cohen then included on his first album, Songs of Leonard Cohen, released in 1967. According to Wikimedia, it’s become one of his most covered tracks.

I hope you like it.


Suzanne takes you down to her place near the river
You can hear the boats go by
You can spend the night beside her
And you know that she’s half crazy
But that’s why you want to be there
And she feeds you tea and oranges
That come all the way from China
And just when you mean to tell her
That you have no love to give her
Then she gets you on her wavelength
And she lets the river answer
That you’ve always been her lover
And you want to travel with her
And you want to travel blind
And you know that she will trust you
For you’ve touched her perfect body with your mind.

And Jesus was a sailor
When he walked upon the water
And he spent a long time watching
From his lonely wooden tower
And when he knew for certain
Only drowning men could see him
He said “All men will be sailors then
Until the sea shall free them”
But he himself was broken
Long before the sky would open
Forsaken, almost human
He sank beneath your wisdom like a stone
And you want to travel with him
And you want to travel blind
And you think maybe you’ll trust him
For he’s touched your perfect body with his mind.

Now Suzanne takes your hand
And she leads you to the river
She is wearing rags and feathers
From Salvation Army counters
And the sun pours down like honey
On our lady of the harbour
And she shows you where to look
Among the garbage and the flowers
There are heroes in the seaweed
There are children in the morning
They are leaning out for love
And they will lean that way forever
While Suzanne holds the mirror
And you want to travel with her
And you want to travel blind
And you know that you can trust her
For she’s touched your perfect body with her mind.

Lyrics from AZLyrics.

I found his introduction to the song in the video interesting to hear – it’s a real warning to carefully read any contract placed in front of you.

If you’d like to know more about Leonard Cohen or would like to check out more of his music, you can visit his website here.

I’m very behind on visiting people’s blogs at the moment so I apologise to any visitors who I haven’t got back to recently.  Hopefully I’ll have a little more free time this week.

12 thoughts on “Saturday Songsters on a Sunday – Leonard Cohen

  1. I’ve always been a fan of his lyrics, poetry, and songs, but not his ‘singing’ – so I share some of your dad’s pain 😉
    But in many cases when others cover his songs they come across as inspirational instead of depressing. K.D. Lang’s rendition of Hallelujah is probably my fave recording of a Leonard Cohen song.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. I’ve never found him particularly depressing, though I can see why people do. I’ve always loved the depth of his voice. Having said that, I do love covers of his songs as well. I’ve never heard K.D. Lang’s version of Hallelujah so I’ll have to check it out. Thanks for visiting. 🙂

      Liked by 1 person

      1. Hallelujah is a beautiful song. 🙂 I nearly used it on the post but eventually decided to use Suzanne as it’s the song that really began his career and it doesn’t tend to be as well known as Hallelujah. I think one of the things I like so much about Hallelujah is that each cover of it tends to use slightly different lyrics. I believe he wrote over 80 verses!


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