STORY OF SONG
“So Long, Marianne” is the sixth track from Canadian poet and musician Leonard Cohen’s 1967 album: “Songs of Leonard Cohen”. Cohen is well known for his beautiful lyrics and soulful words, and “So Long, Marianne” has an extremely interesting backstory.
The track was inspired by Leonard’s then partner Marianne Jensen, whose maiden name was Ihlen, but was married to Norwegian writer Axel Jensen. However, when Cohen met Ihlen she had been left by Jensen, leaving both her and her six-month-old son on the Greek island of Hydra. Cohen and Ihlen hit it off, with Cohen taking her back to her home in Oslo, Norway, and then later invited her and her son to live with him in Montreal. For seven years, the family commuted between New York, Montreal and Hydra. Cohen has also dedicated poetry (his third volume of poetry “Flowers for Hitler”) to Ihlen, as well many other songs and poems. In July 2016, Ihlen sadly passed away in hospital in Oslo aged 81. Before her death, Cohen had written her a letter saying: “Know that I am so close behind you that if you stretch out your hand, I think you can reach mine… Goodbye old friend. Endless love, see you down the road.” Cohen passed away 3 months later in November 2016.
There is no official music video for the track, but there is a live version of Cohen performing it live in Dublin, uploaded to his official YouTube channel in November 2014. As of June 2019, it has over 13 million views and over 26,000 likes.
Release Date: 27th December 1967
Songwriter/s: Leonard Cohen
Chart Rankings & Accolades: “So Long, Marianne” ranked #28 in France, #38 in Spain and #50 in Switzerland all in 2016. It has been placed at #190 on Pitchfork Media’s “The 200 Greatest Songs of the 1960s” list.