Monday, November 12, 2007

under the covers: Leonard Cohen

"Cause You Touched Her Perfect Body With Your Mind"

Whether or not you realize it, you know and love Leonard Cohen. No, not the old jewish librarian at your middle school, rather the Canadian poet, novelist and musician who has written and recorded some of the most unabashedly honest pop songs ever to grace the canon. Cohen's most famous piece, "Hallelujah", has been covered by JJ Cale, Rufus Wainwright and Jeff Buckley, and still gives me goose bumps after a couple thousand listens. If your interested in covers of "Hallelujah" My Old Kentucky Blog has an absurd collection here.

One of my favorite Cohen songs of late has been "Suzanne" from Cohen's first record, Songs of Leonard Cohen. Lines like "you know shes half crazy/ but thats why you want to be there" make the tune personal, while Leonard fleshes out the story of "foresaken, almost human" lovers. His imagery is so vivid that you can actually see Suzanne "wearing rags and feathers from Salvation Army counters."

The same afternoon I began revisting Cohen's debut album Aquarium Drunkard (here) posted on iconic Francophile hipster Franciose Hardy. Coincidently, AD pointed out that Francoise covered Cohen's "Suzanne." Compare and contrast below.

Leonard Cohen- Suzanne
Francoise Hardy- Suzanne

1 comment:

Thomas L. Strickland said...

A bit late to this party. Sorry.

Another excellent cover of "Suzanne" is Fairport Convention's, featuring Sandy Denny's vocals. It's on Heyday, the BBC recording compilation.

In a way, the titular girl makes a reappearance on Hope Sandoval's solo album from 2001. She seems to be singing to the wanna-be Cohen's of late that keep looking for a Suzanne that they'll never find.

"Suzanne is waiting at your doorway
But all she does is waste your time."