Evolution of a Song - "Suzanne"

by Jonas Jacobs

19 February 2010


The next piece has a thousand covers, but I’m only going to include the ones I find relevant personally. 

I was taken back to this song by a specific Nina Simone version from Sugar in My Bowl: The Very Best of Nina Simone 1967 - 1972. The lyrics of the song first appeared in a poetry book Cohen wrote in 1966. It appeared as “Suzanne takes you down.” There was also recently an LA Weekly cover piece called “Living Off the Grid” that spotlighted the actual Suzanne that Cohen wrote the poem for and what she is doing today.

Leonard Cohen is one of the many artists I was introduced to by my parents growing up. His songs always touched me deeply and below are some videos that I think help give a trajectory of how the song evolved. In this case, I have included multiple live version of Cohen singing “Suzanne,” so we can see how he has evolved as an artist and how crowds have evolved as crowds.

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