He quoted García Lorca (he truly couldn’t stop himself): “The weeping of the guitar begins … as the wind weeps over snowfields.”. Leonard Cohen's Suzanne 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 … It’s a congregation of lights, some shorting out in sputters of electrical sparks but others shooting little geysers of radiance, which run from pure white to scarlet to cobalt. He was aware (he couldn’t help himself) of how poetic it was, a beautiful young woman making tea in a little white room in Montreal. I feel sure the poem and the song wouldn’t have been written if he’d put his hand over hers on that long-ago afternoon and she’d answered with a kiss, if they’d had time to reach the irritations and disappointments — the finger taps on the tabletop, the laundry piles, the uneasy silences — that are inevitable in our lives but may not be all that helpful where certain love poems are concerned. David Freeland I admired that in him. Still, the question demands asking: Is there any benefit, for us as listeners, in knowing something about the “real” Suzanne? Love can be the wrongly meaningful typo spell-check puts into your text. But there are moments when we can… reconcile and embrace the whole mess, and that’s what I mean by ‘Hallelujah’. While moral relativism gave some a license to “tune in and turn on”, others savored the massive I don’t think I cheated her out of anything. } I don’t mean that in a sexist way. He said that a guitar is a hybrid of mind and body. Leonard Cohen was already well-known by the time of the song’s ascendance, but not as a performer. She didn’t care, she didn’t care much, about his stubbled homeliness. _g1.classList.remove('lazyload'); The citizens tended to resemble friendly, talking forest animals in clothes. That tea is Constant Comment, sold by the Bigelow Tea Co. First sold in the 1940s, it remains popular even today. _g1.classList.remove('lazyload'); In the 70s, she’d play his Songs of Leonard Cohen album in our upstairs sitting-room, and we’d all sing along, dancing barefoot on the wooden floor. “He’d seen her dance, she’d been one of five or six people at his poetry readings. They’d have looked more like a young queen out for a stroll with the magician’s assistant, the hobbling, gnomish guy who cast the minor, grudging spells. Ask just about any beautiful woman about that. Actually, she’d never read García Lorca. She knew about his hunger for the secrets underneath the secrets, the jokes God pulls on us. It did get me transferred to Saskatoon, though. These two had met for coffee. I’VE BEEN IN Saskatoon for quite a while. In Cohen's 1975 Greatest Hits album, the liner notes say: "I wrote this in 1966, Suzanne had a room on a waterfront sheet in the port of Montreal. He asked about her new dance (that’s right, ask her something about herself). He was a power drill, a blender stuck on purée. "Suzanne" is a song written by Canadian poet and musician Leonard Cohen.Its lyrics first appeared as the poem "Suzanne Takes You Down" in Cohen's 1966 book of poetry Parasites of Heaven, admittedly because of lack of new material (lyrics to a few other songs from his subsequent 1967 debut album were also printed in the book). It was time for me to go in. The whole city was out, soaking it in, storing it up. He believed he wasn’t attractive enough, famous enough, given all the men who’d fallen, men with big apartments up on Mont Royal, men with jobs and cars. Suzanne: One of our mutual friends mentioned to me, ‘Did you hear the wonderful poem that Leonard wrote for you’ or about you and I said no, because I had been away traveling and I wasn’t … … I’d been delegated, since I was a sprite, to Montreal. First published as a poem in 1966, it was recorded as a song by Judy Collins in the same year, and Cohen performed it as his debut single, from his 1967 album Songs of Leonard Cohen. Both "Suzanne" and "Hallelujah" translate the singer's belief in a God who gives meaning to life's chaos and provides a way of uniting body and soul. I didn’t know music could sound like that. Looking for meanings in songs by Leonard Cohen is an occupation that might best be left untaken. And just like that, she told the poet that her apartment was close by. She brewed tea. There weren’t a lot of artists in Montreal back then. Read more: What to See, and Where to Eat Bagels, in Montreal. I went smoky, slipped through his ear into his skull. Suzanne Verdal inspired Leonard Cohen's song "Suzanne".Here is her story. I kept on top of things, there was always the threat of getting transferred to Newfoundland or Ontario. I know how many lovers end up going back to their solitary lives, trailing a few good memories and more than a few regrets. In an interview with The Irish Times from 2012, Leonard Cohen described his lyric-writing process as a form of “sacred mechanics”. They talked about dancing, they talked about what the body knows versus what the mind knows. Suzanne is a reflection of Cohen's love and it works in both directions. I think it’s ridiculous, too. Montreal is a winter city, frigid much of the year. Who doesn’t? Location producer: Manon Cousin. Not that there’s anything wrong with Red Lobster. I am a writer, not a singer. Suzanne is the first track on Leonard Cohen’s 1967 debut album: Songs of Leonard Cohen. People call it the Paris of the Prairies, I’m not making that up. My perfect couple who risked missing each other because of excessive modesty. And, all right, I guess I wanted him to produce the gorgeous, passionate poem, the breakthrough poem. Go in for the kiss.”. The windows were covered in filmy white curtains, the bed (which was also the sofa, it was only one room) with a white comforter and piles of pale pillows. Within the context of the song, she is a complete and satisfying creation. He was finally able to let go of García Lorca. 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 He, on the other hand, was swarthy, big fishhook of a nose, two inches shorter than she. She told him that was beautiful. So many people harbor such familiar fantasies, so many are moderate in their passions. } There weren’t a lot of artists in Montreal back then.”, “I zeroed in on them walking along the St. Lawrence, passing the Chapelle Notre-Dame-de-Bon-Secours, where, atop the harborside tower, stands an angel beneath the statue of the Virgin Mary.”, “I wanted a life for him beyond writing poetry no one would publish, a life beyond reading to a half-dozen people in bars and branch libraries.”, “Poems and songs survive. She wanted him to do that, too. Suzanne lives on a houseboat on the river. The Imagined Story Behind Leonard Cohen’s ‘Suzanne’ A matchmaking sprite recalls the story of a young poet and a dancer, which may or may not have inspired the famous ballad. I loved him. His experimental novel, Beautiful Losers (which one critic described as “the most revolting book ever written in Canada”), was published in 1966 and soon gained a reputation as a benchmark of countercultural expression. And it was time for him to shut up. _g1.setAttribute('srcset', _g1.getAttribute('data-srcset')); He started setting his poetry to music, and by now he has actual fans. And really, I needed a big success. Other details proffered within the song speak to a romantic longing that, seemingly, remained unfulfilled: “And you want to travel with her/and you want to travel blind… for you’ve touched her perfect body/with your mind.”. Leonard Cohen was never a prolific seller of records in the salad days of his musical career. It was harder to know what, exactly, he wanted. (SINGING) You can hear the boats go by. var _g1; It shouldn’t have been difficult for me. MY NEW, NASCENT lovers, then. creativity of this golden age. Suzanne è stata pubblicata come poesia nel 1966 con il titolo di Suzanne Takes You Down, successivamente incisa come canzone da Judy Collins, nell'album In my Life, e finalmente registrata da Cohen nel 1967.La canzone prende spunto dalla profonda amicizia, e dall'inconfessato desiderio di una relazione carnale, tra l'autore e Suzanne Verdal, moglie, ai … Since then it has been recorded by dozens of artists, becoming as much of a 1960s standard as “Respect” or “Yesterday”—a masterwork that defines one era and continues to inspire our own. song lyrics, song meanings, albums, music and more. We’re organized. He had to have acted, and he had to have done it then. We toss suggestions, inclinations, into its fountaining aggregation of lights and let the brain interpret them as it will. There is a constant purity surrounding this epic poem/song that starkly contrasts with the hedonistic free for all that was the 1960’s. I see that I was right to end the affair before it started. She preferred to be the one more aware of the transient gorgeousness of the living world. Still, she gazed out at the afternoon sun spangling the blue-black river as he kept talking flamenco rhythms and stanza breaks. Saunders: Leonard Cohen later said that the opening verse of his poem, later to be the song "Suzanne", was a poetic account of the time he spent with her in the Summer of 1965. I did wonder about the tea. She is eccentric, dressing in rags and feathers, but she is beautiful and her beauty compels the Sun to pour down it's special honey to envelope her. I admit it. (SINGING) And you want to travel blind. Her hospitality was immaculate. They wouldn’t have looked like lovers to the casual observer. You can spend the night forever. A nasty fall and subsequent injury ended her career as a dancer; by the time of the CBC interview, Verdal was living in a converted truck in Venice Beach, California. The short circuits were noisier, they put out bigger plumes of flame-blue sparks. Go ahead, you try to unequivocally love every living person. We manifest as leaf shadows, we manifest as rogue glimmers of reflected window light, we come and go unremarked. The Pulitzer Prize-winning author pays homage to Montreal’s patron saint, crooning the artist’s 1967 ballad ‘‘Suzanne,’’ with the musician Cassandra Jenkins on guitar. He worried that he was boring her, but he couldn’t stop himself, he couldn’t at that moment think about anything other than García Lorca, and even after he’d quickly agreed that the sparks on the river and the gold tumbling over the Virgin were wonders, he went back to the effects of flamenco music on García Lorca’s early work, the relationship between traditional music and radical poetry …. The poet’s desires were stormier, less prone to the visual — how many supplicant celebrities have I seen? She was tired of dating men who didn’t know her and didn’t really care to, who wanted to be the guy dating the beautiful young woman who’s an artist, yeah she does these interpretive dances in little clubs, which is not, you know, my kind of thing, but my God, look at her …. The whole thing is almost too bright to look at, fizzling and spurting like a miniature sun. It’s not that I’d been unsuccessful. And he was poet enough to know that everyone, every single person, was a mystery he could spend a lifetime trying to solve. Cohen’s voice was that of a trusted friend sharing confidences late at night, a source of depth rather than breadth. Stream ad-free or purchase CD's and MP3s now on Amazon.co.uk. Artistically, the song’s brilliance lies in its pairing of a spare, hypnotic melody with evocative lyrics: “Now 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 she’s half crazy.” In Cohen’s version, first recorded on his 1968 album, Songs of Leonard Cohen, the mood is underscored by a lilting female chorus and Cohen’s own subtle, insistent guitar playing. var _g1; if ( localStorage.getItem(skinItemId ) ) { My job is to encourage hesitant lovers to take the risk. (Redirected from Suzanne Elrod) Leonard Norman Cohen CC GOQ (September 21, 1934 – November 7, 2016) was a Canadian singer-songwriter, poet, and novelist. He stood up. SUZANNE LEONARD COHEN E Suzanne takes you down to her place near the river A You can hear the boats go by, you can spend the night beside her ... And just when you mean to tell her that you have no love to give her _g1.setAttribute('src', _g1.getAttribute('data-src') ); _g1 = document.getElementById('g1-logo-inverted-source'); [music] My name is Michael Cunningham. 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 … _g1 = document.getElementById('g1-logo-mobile-inverted-source'); It was first published as a poem in Cohen’s 1966 collection “Parasites of Heaven”. I could have sworn that when I first went in, doing my initial research, that I heard the word “transcend,” muffled, like a voice speaking from far away, in a snowstorm. Fairies don’t speak to the brain in language. Undoubtedly, “Suzanne,” as a work of art, must be taken on its own terms, but Verdal’s own story demands attention as well; it is, in effect, the story behind the story, the real-life experience that can be found, if we are willing to peel back the song’s layers. Cohen delineates his enigmatic title figure, who wears “rags and feathers from Salvation Army counters,” so sharply that we seem to know everything we need to about her. He no longer reads in bars and suburban libraries. Find out more about the name Suzanne at BabyNames.com. She’d been to his poetry readings. Such is the case with “Suzanne,” the haunting composition that has become one of Canadian singer/songwriter Leonard Cohen’s best-known works. "Suzanne" is a song written by Canadian poet and musician Leonard Cohen in the 1960s. If you didn’t know he was talking to her, with feverish earnestness, about his newly discovered love for the poetry of García Lorca, you could have easily imagined that he was telling her about his recent breakthrough with spiders in wigs, as she paid polite, slightly distracted attention. There was the sturdy, hardworking young couple who bought themselves a trim little house outside of town, had a baby and devoted themselves to campaigning against abortion rights. It was as if I’d lost the ability to obey my own intentions. Our progress is monitored by the One Whose Visage Is Too Terrible to Behold. Behind the Song: Leonard Cohen, “Suzanne”, The Top 20 Rolling Stones Deep Cuts: #13, “No Expectations”, Industry Contact Database (Pro/Master Only), Lyric Critique Walkthroughs (Pro/Master Only), Husband and Wife Duo The War and Treaty Offer Hope and Care on ‘Austin City Limits’, The Annual Sundance ASCAP Music Café Takes Place in Online Sundance Film Festival Village Jan. 29 – Feb. 1, NAMM’s ‘Believe In Music’ Week Begins Monday And It’s Free To Register, Watch Nick Ryan Perform ‘Waiting’ On The Latest Taylor Guitars Acoustic Sessions. This grandson of a rabbi was raised in the Jewish faith. Montreal, with its own private atmosphere of celebration and voluptuous sorrow, standing as it does alongside the snowbound barnyards of Vermont, the silent forests of Maine. Fairies can see strip malls and high-rises, we can see fluorescent franchise joints, and Montreal is as full of them as most cities, but we can’t describe those places, we can barely talk about them. 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