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Boomer Ballads: Suzanne

“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.'”

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  • Greg February 5, 2019, 6:59 PM

    Bought my first Cohen album about 1968. A fellow shoe salesman introduced me to his music. Now, all my Cohen albums reside with my youngest son at his home in St.George, Utah.

  • RigelDog February 6, 2019, 10:46 AM

    The verse about Jesus is so profound–wish I could express that without sounding trite. It seems to encapsulate the absolute essence of Christianity; I know it does for me. When I try to sing this song, I can’t get past the line, “All men shall be sailors then, until the sea shall free them,” without choking back tears; we are all called to sail the perilous and beautiful sea of life and Jesus chose to join us in order to show the way to do so. If there is a God, if there is a Holy Spirit, then it’s clear to me that Cohen was often a conduit of ultimate Truth.
    “The birds they sang at the break of day.
    Start again, I heard them say.
    Don’t dwell on what has passed away
    Or what is yet to be.
    Yeah the wars they will be fought again,
    The holy dove, She will be caught again,
    Bought and sold and bought again;
    The dove is never free.

    Ring the bells that still can ring,
    Forget your perfect offering.
    There is a crack in everything–
    That’s how the light gets in.”

  • Eskyman February 6, 2019, 2:05 PM

    First time I heard this song back in ’68 I was a long way from home, without a friend; I was in Biluxi, Miss. learning electronics in the USAF, sitting on the steps of my barracks all alone with a crappy little 6 transistor radio to keep me company. This song made me forget where I was and transformed my cheap radio into a heavenly choir.

    Suzanne burnt straight into my heart and will always be there. I cannot begin to say how deeply it affected me then or now.

  • Mary Ann February 6, 2019, 7:03 PM

    I came to this song thru Judy Collins. I’m still working on what it means to me.

    Secret Gardens of the Heart….Hit me big time about 15 years ago when I realized I was the oldest generation in the family.

  • Matt Burchett February 6, 2019, 7:14 PM

    Heard this gem first on Neil Diamond’s “Stones” … the first LP bought with my own money and played on my first ‘Hi-Fi”… played until the vinyl’s grooves approached translucence. There were giants and serious tunesmiths in those long ago days. We wanted to explore and understand the art and craft and poetry involved. It frequently required pounding hangovers, but never regretted.

    Spark of the divine … seek it

  • churchladyiowa February 6, 2019, 10:07 PM

    Is it just me, or does Cohen bear a striking resemblance to the late Leonard Nimoy?

  • David Foster February 7, 2019, 5:29 AM

    Another interesting Leonard Cohen song is The Captain:


    …some say that it is an anti-war song, but I don’t think that’s right.

  • Walter Sobchak February 7, 2019, 7:50 AM

    Monday, November 21, 2016
    Leonard Cohen ZT”L
    Leonard Cohen died two weeks ago. Those of us who knew his work mourn. The initials in the title of this post ZT”L signify zekher tzadik livrakha, a Hebrew phrase meaning “may the memory of
    the righteous be a blessing”. They reflect my estimate of Leonard’s importance as a spiritual figure in our time.

    My daughter, who used to work in the music industry, had the privileged of working with Leonard within recent years. She worked with a lot of pop stars, and has very little use for most of them. She loved Leonard, whom she said was a better human being than he was an artist.

    Many of Leonard’s fans thought that he deserved the Nobel prize over Bob Dylan. I don’t have a strong view on that. I love Bob’s music too. And it was Bob who pioneered the use of popular music as the vehicle for lyric poetry in the modern age. Leonard, who was older than Bob, and who had embarked on a literary career before Bob burst on the scene, followed Bob.

    On the other hand, Leonard’s lyrics are to me profound and moving, more poetic than musical, but ultimately they are rewarding and will endure for many years.

    The following is a list of my favorite Leonard Cohen songs, with links to YouTube video’s of them and a brief comment that reflects nothing more than my naive view. I urge to try some of them, you will be glad you did.