So Long, Marianne

Album: Songs Of Leonard Cohen (1968)
  • "Marianne" in this song is Marianne Jensen (later Ihlen), who met and lived with Leonard Cohen and her son on the Greek island of Hydra. Later, all three moved to Montreal. Marianne's son was from a former marriage with the Norwegian novelist Axel Jensen, who also lived on Hydra at that time.

    Cohen wrote this song when they split up; Marianne left a lasting impression on Cohen, who had several other passionate relationships that informed his songs.
  • Norwegian Broadcasting aired the first interview with Marianne Jensen on January 22, 2006. She described Cohen as a man of "enormous compassion."
  • On the backside of the cover of Songs From A Room there is a picture of Marianne sitting in front of Cohen's typewriter. >>
    Suggestion credit:
    Thomas - Oslo, Norway, for all above
  • Marianne Ihlen and Leonard Cohen both died of cancer in 2016, Ihlen in July and Cohen in November. When Cohen learned that she was sick, he wrote her a letter that read:

    Well Marianne it's come to this time when we are really so old and our bodies are falling apart and I think I will follow you very soon. Know that I am so close behind you that if you stretch out your hand, I think you can reach mine. And you know that I've always loved you for your beauty and your wisdom, but I don’t need to say anything more about that because you know all about that. But now, I just want to wish you a very good journey. Goodbye old friend. Endless love, see you down the road.

Comments: 5

  • Robert Campion from Galway, IrelandThis song was written in Montreal, Canada...always thought there might be some connection between the title and Marianne Street on Montreal.
  • Leo from Ny , Nythis song is so beautiful. i got it from my girl friend. and i been listening to it for past 2 month have 100o tmes n over n over,
    craig you wrote it so precise
  • Thomas Gabrielsen from Oslo, NorwayFor those who understand Norwegian can go to and search for it in the archive, it is freely available for everybody. Next saturday they broadcast an interview with Leonard Cohen where he will tell his story, and I really looking forward to it.
  • Craig from Dunedin, New ZealandA NewZealand band called the "Straitjacket Fits" did a really cool interpretation in the late '80s . The result was that my friends and i checked out the Cohen catalogue. Well into the millenium and continue to listen and be intrigued!
  • Craig from Madison, Wi"She held on to me like I was a crucifix." Absolutely amazing. No lyricist has such a clear and precise sense of metaphor--song length or one-line.
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