Take This Longing

Album: New Skin For The Old Ceremony (1974)

Songfacts®:

  • Leonard Cohen first met Nico, singer with the Velvet Underground, in New York. He became besotted with her and this song expresses his unrequited love for the German songstress. Speaking in 1992 with the magazine Throat Culture, Cohen recalled: "Nico was very strange. I tried to talk to her and she always replied very mysteriously. No matter what you said she always replied in a curious fashion."

    "It was only after many weeks, after being perplexed by her conversation and paralyzed by her beauty that she told me she was deaf. She responded to everyone with whatever came into her mind because she could hardly hear a thing. Which explains her particularly strange style. But I definitely wrote 'Take This Longing' thinking of her."
  • Morrissey paraphrased his Smiths' "Hand in Glove" line, "Everything depends upon how near you stand next to me," from this song.
  • Christa Paffgen was a German model who worked with Andy Warhol and sang with the Velvet Underground under the name of Nico. She has been the inspiration for several songs over the years including:

    "We Will Fall" by The Stooges (The spoken word lyrics are Iggy Pop describing a night at the Chelsea Hotel waiting for his then-girlfriend Nico).

    "Nico" by The Cult (This 2001 track celebrates the life of the German singer.)

    "Song For Nico" by Marianne Faithfull (written by Faithfull and Dave Stewart after reading a biography of the German singer.)

    "Dance Dance Christa Paffgen" by Anberlin (Though titled after Nico, her name doesn't actually feature in the lyrics.)

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