Seems So Long Ago, Nancy

Album: Songs From a Room (1969)
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Songfacts®:

  • According to Q magazine May 2007, the inspiration behind this heartbreaking tale of suicide and loss was a 21-year-old girl from Montreal named Nancy Challies, who took her own life after being forced by her family to put her baby son up for adoption.
  • In 2011, the writer Tim Challies revealed that the Nancy about whom Cohen wrote this song was his aunt, who lived from 1943-1965 when she killed herself using a gun belonging to her 15-year-old brother (Tim's father). She spent much of her teenage years in psychiatric hospitals, and sometime around age 20, she had a baby that she was coerced into giving up for adoption. Challies quotes Cohen as telling him: "It is her beauty and bravery that shine through. Many young women of the time came up against the hard limitations of family and society, although not every confrontation ended so sadly."

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