This entry was posted on Saturday, October 6th, 2007 at 11:51 pm and is filed under Cover. You can follow any responses to this entry through the RSS 2.0 feed. You can leave a response, or trackback from your own site.

3 Responses to “ROBERTA FLACK / “Suzanne””

Marian Says:
October 7th, 2007 at 11:07 pm

It’s odd, odd. I never saw this as a song told from a man’s point of view. Maybe because Roberta was singing it….but I always saw it as a woman singing to a man ‘this is why you can trust me’. She’s telling him that she alone knows ‘his perfect body’, his soul.

It was interesting hearing another point of view. I’ve skimmed the articles; I’ll make certain that I read them. Songs have a life of their own. Sometimes they escape their creator’s intention. Sometimes our misunderstanding them gives them another life.

The Magnificent Goldberg Says:
October 9th, 2007 at 9:37 am

In 1969, when Cohen’s first LP came out, I was working in a record shop, so I got to hear this quite a bit more than I was happy to. Frankly, I thought the baby boomers (I was only a bit older 🙂 ) had been suckered.

I couldn’t help notice this song among the others on the LP. However, I was never able to separate the song from the performer – and Cohen is one of the most boring performers of all time. Hearing these versions – particularly Nina’s – remedies that. Anyone, even a boring fart, can write a great song. That’s something I’ve always known, but forgot to apply in this case.


John Shaw Says:
January 23rd, 2015 at 11:33 pm

On first hearing, the reference to Jesus confused me, too. But I think a lot is going on in this song. Part of it is in fact that Cohen seems to be linking Suzanne and Jesus Christ, using a form of Hebrew poetry known as parallelism. He seems to be saying that Suzanne is objectified, almost an object of adoration, like Christ. The other connection is through the church that was visible from Suzanne’s apartment, Notre Dame de Bon Secours or Our Lady of Good Harbors. This was called the Sailor’s Church, as the sailors would go there for confession and mass in Montreal, and seeing it from Suzanne’s window perhaps triggered the verse about Jesus having been a sailor. The third verse links the two themes. Cohen says “The sun pours down like honey on Our Lady of the Harbour.” Of course, in one sense, he means the old cathedral. But he’s been describing Suzanne as she walks down to the river, and it seems likely that Cohen also means that Suzanne is “Our Lady of the Harbour.” Again, the link between Suzanne and the religious overtones of the song is displayed.

Leave a Reply

| top |