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Leonard Cohen — Famous Blue Raincoat
Album: Songs of Love & Hate
Avg rating:
7.6

Your rating:
Total ratings: 1541









Released: 1971
Length: 5:06
Plays (last 30 days): 1
It's four in the morning, the end of December
I'm writing you now just to see if you're better
New York is cold, but I like where I'm living
There's music on Clinton Street all through the evening

I hear that you're building your little house deep in the desert
You're living for nothing now
I hope you're keeping some kind of record

Yes, and Jane came by with a lock of your hair
She said that you gave it to her
That night that you planned to go clear
Did you ever go clear?

Ah, the last time we saw you, you looked so much older
Your famous blue raincoat was torn at the shoulder
You'd been to the station to meet every train
And you came home without Lili Marlene

And you treated my woman
To a flake of your life
And when she came back
She was nobody's wife

Well, I see you there with the rose in your teeth
One more thin gypsy thief
Well, I see Jane's awake
She sends her regards

And what can I tell you, my brother, my killer
What can I possibly say?
I guess that I miss you
I guess I forgive you
I'm glad you stood in my way

If you ever come by here
For Jane or for me
Your enemy is sleeping
And his woman is free

Yes, and thanks
For the trouble you took from her eyes
I thought it was there for good so I never tried

And Jane came by with a lock of your hair
She said that you gave it to her
That night that you planned to go clear

Sincerely, L. Cohen
Comments (170)add comment
Scientology?? This is about a friends struggle with heroine
 macadavy wrote:

"Did you ever go clear?"  We'll never know.



I'm not certain, but this may be a reference to scientology....?

Big fan of Bob Dylan here but frankly, when Dylan won that literature prize, my immediate spontaneous thought was that Leonard Cohen should have been awarded the same prize first.

 milleymeister wrote:

Dylan got the award and Cohen didn’t?


Prize motivation: "for having created new poetic expressions within the great American song tradition."

Bob Dylan created the genre that Cohen stepped into, amongst other things. 
Plaintively, wondrous.
I try not to say "Wow" too much, but 

 unclehud wrote:
Need some help determining if this is a song of love, or a song of hate.
 
Or a song of love and hate.  ; )
Dylan got the award and Cohen didn’t?
If you like this song. Check out the live version in Dublin. One of the best!
 MediaGrrl wrote:
might be sacreligious, but this reminds me of... Leo Sayer.
 
Cohen: "I once had that nicking happen with Leo Sayer. Do you remember that song 'When I Need You'?" Cohen sings the chorus of Sayer's number one hit from 1977, then segues into 'And Jane came by with a lock of your hair', a lyric from 'Famous Blue Raincoat'. 'Somebody sued them on my behalf … and they did settle', even though, he laughs, 'they hired a musicologist, who said, that particular motif was in the public domain and, in fact, could be traced back as far as Schubert. (Wikipedia)
 ukrainian wrote:
Wow, this brings back so many memories. 
 
Music's powerful that way, i'nit?  
"Did you ever go clear?"  We'll never know.
Bought this album, used, at a Salvation Army store.  The cover looked cool. 

Had no clue on this guy.

Wow! What an album.   
The best voice of all time?  Roy Orbison and Elvis excluded.  The best of all time.  Love you Leonard.
Wow, this brings back so many memories. 
Jennifer Warnes does a great cover of this song.
 unclehud wrote:
Need some help determining if this is a song of love, or a song of hate.
 
They are songs of love AND hate, not songs of love and songs of hate.
 unclehud wrote:
Need some help determining if this is a song of love, or a song of hate.
 

Welcome to reality, many more shades than just black and white ..
Need some help determining if this is a song of love, or a song of hate.
Thank you Mom for playing Leonard Cohen since I was a wee lad!

Here's a 10! Bang
 nini wrote:
laozilover wrote:
...Weird, in this album cover picture, he looks like Al Pacino, doesn't he?
Interesting, I see Dustin Hoffman.
 

I'm reminded of this TV puppet show that I liked when I was a kid. One episode in particular Hoffman, Pacino, and Di Niro can't tell themselves apart. 
 tanknemo wrote:


Jack Nicholson in my eyes))
 
Or Anthony Bourdain
guy used to be able to croon
 ChrisVIII wrote:
This must be the only song of him that I like. The lyrics and the music are very moving, plus his voice is actually melodious on that song. 

 
Try covers. I personally love many of his songs but few of his performances of them. 
 nini wrote:
laozilover wrote:
...Weird, in this album cover picture, he looks like Al Pacino, doesn't he?
Interesting, I see Dustin Hoffman.
 

Jack Nicholson in my eyes))
This is a such a good album. Please consider taking a deeper dive. 

Let's play another song boys, 
This one has grown old and bitter. 


 fredriley wrote:

{#Clap} That's nailed it. Cohen's a bit like Tom Waits - a brilliant poet whose voice can be an acquired taste. Personally I really like his older songs, where his voice is barely above subsonic, but I can understand why some folk might not go for the sound.

 
What did he do to those vocal chords though... smoker?
Poetry.
 bstevens1951 wrote:
How old are you?
deepwoodskev wrote:
I haven't heard a single song yet from this guy on RP that I find remotely listenable. What is the appeal, please?!! 

 

 

And does your mom know you're on the computer again?
 ChrisVIII wrote:
This must be the only song of him that I like. The lyrics and the music are very moving, plus his voice is actually melodious on that song. 

 
I guess to each their own. The best live performance I've ever been to was his last show in Milwaukee.
This must be the only song of him that I like. The lyrics and the music are very moving, plus his voice is actually melodious on that song. 
My favorite Leonard Cohen song. Very moving. 
was fortunate to have seen Mr. Cohen ("the old guy") thanks to Mr. Scott Ellsworth (RIP my friend)
It's said you never really are dead until no one says your name....

There you are SCOTT. You live another day!
We be dancin' in the kitchen like ... Never mind!
 Sasha2001 wrote:

Cohen's a storyteller and a poet first, and a musician second. His music is simple, but that's because its only there to support his words, and his words are sublime at times.

 
A musician second? I don't think so. How would he compose those totally unique melodies then, fitting his lyrics so perfectly?
This is a very good album. 

I bought it used at the Salvation Army store, many years ago. Had no clue who L.C. was. The title was so cool and appropriate. 

And that's was always the true benefit of shopping for used records. The surprises you could get for a dollar.   

  
{#Meditate}
 fredriley wrote:
This song could be a definitive musical definition of 'poignant'. Moving, elegaic and wistful. 7 from the lachrymose Nottingham jury.

 
I regret the dismissive things I said about Leonard now that he's gone. His songs like this one voiced emotions that you don't hear much in music anymore. Poignant, melancholic, wistful, nostalgic, introspective...Lately his music wasn't like this, but someone has to hit those places in your soul once in a while, just to remind you of your full emotional range. 
thanks for the trouble you took from her eyes....i thought it was there for good, so I never tried...
amazying 
Such an amazing contribution to the world of music and poetry. I'll miss his perspective.
Sorry, I tried. Nah.
 Sasha2001 wrote:

Cohen's a storyteller and a poet first, and a musician second. His music is simple, but that's because its only there to support his words, and his words are sublime at times.

 
{#Clap} That's nailed it. Cohen's a bit like Tom Waits - a brilliant poet whose voice can be an acquired taste. Personally I really like his older songs, where his voice is barely above subsonic, but I can understand why some folk might not go for the sound.
 deepwoodskev wrote:
I haven't heard a single song yet from this guy on RP that I find remotely listenable. What is the appeal, please?!! 

 
Great song writing, nice subtle hooks.  Terrific prose.  Emotional, nostalgic.  Cathartic, uplifting.  

Just getting started here deepwood.....  

Maybe you have to be of Nordic descent to fully appreciate .....  the prose and music from a Jewish artist born in Montreal.    {#War}
dude-you need to get out more.
This song could be a definitive musical definition of 'poignant'. Moving, elegaic and wistful. 7 from the lachrymose Nottingham jury.
{#Bananapiano}
A poet and a musician whose music is timeless is Leonard Cohen. 10+
 deepwoodskev wrote:
I haven't heard a single song yet from this guy on RP that I find remotely listenable. What is the appeal, please?!! 

 
May you live forever and never get what his music is about, I wouldn't wish it on ya.
You had to be there then.....
 deepwoodskev wrote:
I haven't heard a single song yet from this guy on RP that I find remotely listenable. What is the appeal, please?!! 

 
Not to be listened to if you are having dark thoughts for sure.
First listened to this in my Uncle's farm house a little ways east of Hamar in southwest Norway. Early 70s.

Terrific LP.   Great prose.  
I'm a big fan of Tori Amos's cover of this, but this is the first time I've heard the original. 
How old are you?
deepwoodskev wrote:
I haven't heard a single song yet from this guy on RP that I find remotely listenable. What is the appeal, please?!! 

 


 deepwoodskev wrote:
I haven't heard a single song yet from this guy on RP that I find remotely listenable. What is the appeal, please?!! 

 
Cohen's a storyteller and a poet first, and a musician second. His music is simple, but that's because its only there to support his words, and his words are sublime at times.
 deepwoodskev wrote:
I haven't heard a single song yet from this guy on RP that I find remotely listenable. What is the appeal, please?!! 

 
Right there with ya. Incomprehensible, really.
Somewhere it is late at night and someone is crying.   this is for them but I'll ride along.
I haven't heard a single song yet from this guy on RP that I find remotely listenable. What is the appeal, please?!! 
What a freakin great album..play the whole thing!

The album cover art is "art"!

And just remember...

"There are no letters in the mailbox.
And there are no grapes upon the vine.
There are no chocolates in your boxes anymore,
And there are no diamonds in your mine".

  
 L Cohen

Wow, he even had a sweet voice back in the early years! Poetry embedded in a wonderful musical pack of guitar and voices. The essence of singing isn't it?
Leonard at his best - great lyrics - flake of your life.
Well, Cohen is different.  Not always a bad thing.  I like the story.  Just keep listening.{#Ask}
Master of melancholy; excellent.....
It is too early in the morning for this, it is putting me back to sleep. Please bring some energy next . . .
ONLY 2 WORDS FOR THIS SONG-BUZZ KILL
brownbrown wrote:
i absolutely agree, her cover of this song is incredible.
Avril and Pink together with Tori would really rock.
slartibart_O wrote:
...ohmigosh, it's richard simmons' secret identity!..
might be sacreligious, but this reminds me of... Leo Sayer.
DoctorHooey wrote:
This would be so much better with a techno beat. BNN-tcsh-BNN-tcsh-BNN-tcsh-BNN-tcsh THINK ABOUT IT!
I was thinking more like: BNN-tcsh-tcsh-BNN-tcsh BNN-tcsh-tcsh-BNN-tcsh
:sleep: :sleep: :sleep: :sleep: :sleep: :sleep: :sleep: :sleep: :sleep: :sleep: :sleep: :sleep: :sleep: :sleep: :sleep: :sleep: :sleep: :sleep: :sleep: :sleep: :sleep: :sleep: :sleep: :sleep: :sleep: :sleep: :sleep: :sleep: :sleep: :sleep:
Can we hear George M Cohen now?
:puke:
Four-Five wrote:
I doubt anyone will agree but I think Tori Amos does a great cover.
i absolutely agree, her cover of this song is incredible.
pme wrote:
Anthony Bourdain, IMO.
Leonard Cohen, IMO...
This set may have been good for a rainy March day, but c'mon, it's 85 degrees outside. Play something frickin happy. I am about to slit my throat and let myself bleed all over my desk. If I can stay awake long enough to get my scissors.... zzzzzzzzzzzzzzzz
:sleep: :sleep: :sleep: :sleep: :sleep: :sleep: :sleep: :sleep: :sleep: :sleep: :sleep: :sleep: :sleep: :sleep: :sleep: :sleep: :sleep: :sleep: :sleep:
This would be so much better with a techno beat. BNN-tcsh-BNN-tcsh-BNN-tcsh-BNN-tcsh THINK ABOUT IT!
Reminiscent of a young girls thoughts....
jeezuz...heading off to kill myself now. someone pass Leonard some prozac for chrissakes!!
Photo Evidence:
nini wrote:
Interesting, I see Dustin Hoffman.
Anthony Bourdain, IMO.
OK, twas buggin the hell out of me. This sounds way too much like Leo Sayer singing "When I Need You" and upon further research find that Leo C was 6 years previous (1970) and settled a lawsuit for copyright infringement because it was so similar. So even though Leo S was the gauche top 40 pre-Screech of my generation I can't hear this without hearing Leo Sayer . Throw rocks if you will, I prefer that song to Cohen's maudlin thank you letter to a brother who is hiding and drying out in the desert after killing his girlfriend's abusive-ex or whatever the hell it's about. LC's stuff polarizes the crowd like few others except maybe for Gori Amos or Tom Can't-Waits for this song to be over. Ecch.
laozilover wrote:
...Weird, in this album cover picture, he looks like Al Pacino, doesn't he?
Interesting, I see Dustin Hoffman.
'Music to slash your wrists by.' I mean that in the best possible way. Leonard KNOWS melancholy: that crushing, helpless sadness. Bereft. Genius. c.
jadewahoo wrote:
The Master of Melancholy. And he does it so dang well!
Jade, you are famous, for Bill just mentioned your comment on air! :bananasplit: Don't forget us little guys now that you have hit the big time, huh? :wink:
laozilover wrote:
Damn, this is so good, and it seems like eons since I last heard it --- way too long... :smile: :cool: (class segue from Frank Glazer's Satie Gymnopedia No.l too!) ...Weird, in this album cover picture, he looks like Al Pacino, doesn't he?
NO, that's Tony Montana!!!
I doubt anyone will agree but I think Tori Amos does a great cover.
...sublime songwriting, and i realise it's akin to sacrilege, but i adore tori amos' cover of this song...
So beautiful, mesmerizing, haunting...
LC really reminds me of Serge Gainsbourg in this track
Damn, this is so good, and it seems like eons since I last heard it --- way too long... :smile: :cool: (class segue from Frank Glazer's Satie Gymnopedia No.l too!) ...Weird, in this album cover picture, he looks like Al Pacino, doesn't he?
The Master of Melancholy. And he does it so dang well!
I do not understand the naysayers. Its poetry, makes you stop and listen and afterward, you're changed. It has soul.
:yawn: :sleep:
I must say that I enjoy Jennifer Warnes' version as well. That whole album of covers is great - Joan of Arc and Song of Bernadette come to mind in particular..
kevbo77 wrote:
what could a white guy possibly have to be so depressed about?
For that matter, what could a raincoat be so blue about?
I can see that performed by the right person this could be a great tune. As done, it's unlistenable but I can appreciate that he's a good writer.
A diet of Cohen would be miasmic {?}. But a shot now and then is cold and clear, and definitely not happy. But "Closing Time," and "Suzanne" and "We'll Take Manhattan"! Not to mention the soundtrack from "McCabe and Mrs. Miller," with Warren Beatty dying in the snow.... "The flames surrounded (?) Joan of Arc As she came riding through the dark...." Chills!
kevbo77 wrote:
what could a white guy possibly have to be so depressed about? He's an oppressor, there has to be at least a little comfort in that....
your true colors are showing humanoid.....
brander wrote:
prefer Jennifer Warnes cover on the CD of the same name.
yeah, more Jennifer Warnes - please
ladainty wrote:
The sort of song that makes me sit still and silent for a while
Yes, he makes me stop and think. :think:
The sort of song that makes me sit still and silent for a while
jagdriver wrote:
Sorry... LC is just plain BOR-ing, not to mention depressing as h3ll.
In general, I agree. Never understood all the hype, and I tried, but this song has grown on me over the years. And could that album cover possibly look any more like The River?
Back in Montreal we used to call it 'music to slit your wrists by'. It was unfair. There are moments for Lenny.
Cohen the worst artist ever? I don't think so, he just followed Colin 'I come from a land of thunder' Hay, for a start. Leonard's allright, admittedly the fella seems to have more than his fair share of melancholy and has never been shy of tapping into it, but he's allright is Leonard. Me ma bought his cd for me pa a while back and the bloke in the shop apparently just looked at her and said. "Leonard Cohen... you're not depressed, are you?"
ladainty wrote:
Give me a Leonard Cohen afterworld So I can sigh eternally
eternal sigh indeed......nice bit of peace on this run rabbit run afternoon
This is amazing.
Sorry... LC is just plain BOR-ing, not to mention depressing as h3ll.
anniebear wrote:
what was it Cobain said? Something about a heaven full of L. Cohen so he could sigh eternally?
Give me a Leonard Cohen afterworld So I can sigh eternally It's from Pennyroyal Tea off In Utero. Haha spot the Nirvana geek. I really love Tori Amos's live version of this song too, I think it was used as a b-side for one of her singles off To Venus and Back
Part of the melody here is echoed in Elton John's 'Little Jeannie', though unavoidably that is a bit more up tempo....
what could a white guy possibly have to be so depressed about? He's an oppressor, there has to be at least a little comfort in that....
Is this what they play for the prisoners at Guantanemo Bay? Talk about torture. :stop: Stop!!! I will tell you everything!! Just stop this annoying music!!!!!
blah. cohen is my least favorite artist ever.
what was it Cobain said? Something about a heaven full of L. Cohen so he could sigh eternally?
JohnErle wrote:
His popular and critical acclaim might have something to do with the fact that there are billions and billions of people in the world other than yourself. Some of them even have different tastes and opinions than your own.
P. Diddy is also extremely popular. Doesn't mean I have to live listening to his stuff. To each his own though.
the melodies are straight outta shul
make it STOP!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
It's four in the morning, the end of december I'm writing you now just to see if you're better New york is cold, but I like where I'm living There's music on clinton street all through the evening. I hear that you're building your little house deep in the desert You're living for nothing now, I hope you're keeping some kind of record. Yes, and jane came by with a lock of your hair She said that you gave it to her That night that you planned to go clear Did you ever go clear? Ah, the last time we saw you you looked so much older Your famous blue raincoat was torn at the shoulder You'd been to the station to meet every train And you came home without lili marlene And you treated my woman to a flake of your life And when she came back she was nobody's wife. Well I see you there with the rose in your teeth One more thin gypsy thief Well I see jane's awake -- She sends her regards. And what can I tell you my brother, my killer What can I possibly say? I guess that I miss you, I guess I forgive you I'm glad you stood in my way. If you ever come by here, for jane or for me Your enemy is sleeping, and his woman is free. Yes, and thanks, for the trouble you took from her eyes I thought it was there for good so I never tried. And jane came by with a lock of your hair She said that you gave it to her That night that you planned to go clear -- sincerely, l. cohen
OK...I give up. Hand me the revolver. God this must be the MOST depressing song ever.
you go Leonard.