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Posts Tagged ‘The Partisan’

I thought it was about time I posted another Leonard Cohen song. Previously I have blogged about “So Long Marianne” and “The Partisan“. “Famous Blue Raincoat” is another of his early songs, released in 1971 from his 3rd album “Songs Of Love and Hate“.


The cover of Leonard Cohen’s 3rd album, Songs of Love and Hate.


The song is in the form of a letter, and speaks of a love triangle between the singer, a woman named Jane, and an unnamed man. Enjoy!



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I only have time for a quick post today as my students have a mid-term exam, so not much time for anything substantive. I posted this on my FaceBook account yesterday, but thought I would share it on my blog today. It is one of my favourite Leonard Cohen songs, “The Partisan”, from his album “Songs From A Room“.



Leonard Cohen as he was in the 1970s




When they poured across the border
I was cautioned to surrender,
this I could not do;
I took my gun and vanished.
I have changed my name so often,
I’ve lost my wife and children
but I have many friends,
and some of them are with me.

An old woman gave us shelter,
kept us hidden in the garret,
then the soldiers came;
she died without a whisper.

There were three of us this morning
I’m the only one this evening
but I must go on;
the frontiers are my prison.

Oh, the wind, the wind is blowing,
through the graves the wind is blowing,
freedom soon will come;
then we’ll come from the shadows.

Les Allemands étaient chez moi (The Germans were at my home)
ils m’ont dit “Résigne-toi” (They said, “Surrender,”)
mais je n’ai pas pu (this I could not do)
j’ai repris mon arme (I took my weapon again)

J’ai changé cent fois de nom (I have changed names a hundred times)
j’ai perdu femme et enfants (I have lost wife and children)
mais j’ai tant d’amis (But I have so many friends)
j’ai la France entière (I have all of France)

Un vieil homme dans un grenier (An old man, in an attic)
pour la nuit nous a cachés (Hid us for the night)
les Allemands l’ont pris (The Germans captured him)
il est mort sans surprise (He died without surprise)

Oh, the wind, the wind is blowing,
through the graves the wind is blowing,
freedom soon will come;
then we’ll come from the shadows.




What I like most about this song is the haunting melody, the use of French (Cohen grew up in Montreal, Quebec, Canada), and the haunting female voice accompaniment. To my mind, Leonard Cohen is one of the most talented lyricists that “pop music” has had in the last 50-60 years. In fact, he was a published poet before he turned to songwriting. Many people glibly say his songs are depressing, but if they think that then have not really listened to his lyrics. There is nothing depressing about “Hallelujah” or “Paper Thin Hotel” (from “Death of a ladies man“)

What is your favourite Leonard Cohen song?

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