"Famous Blue Raincoat (Leonard Cohen cover)" as written by and Leonard Cohen....
It's four in the morning, the end of December
I'm writing you now just to see if you're better
New York is cold, but I like where I'm living
There's music on Clinton Street all through the evening.

I hear that you're building your little house deep in the desert
You're living for nothing now, I hope you're keeping some kind of record.

Yes, and Jane came by with a lock of your hair
She said that you gave it to her
That night that you planned to go clear
Did you ever go clear?

Ah, the last time we saw you you looked so much older
Your famous blue raincoat was torn at the shoulder
You'd been to the station to meet every train
And you came home without Lili Marlene

And you treated my woman to a flake of your life
And when she came back she was nobody's wife.

Well I see you there with the rose in your teeth
One more thin gypsy thief
Well I see Jane's awake --

She sends her regards.
And what can I tell you my brother, my killer
What can I possibly say?
I guess that I miss you, I guess I forgive you
I'm glad you stood in my way.

If you ever come by here, for Jane or for me
Your enemy is sleeping, and his woman is free.

Yes, and thanks, for the trouble you took from her eyes
I thought it was there for good so I never tried.

And Jane came by with a lock of your hair
She said that you gave it to her
That night that you planned to go clear


Lyrics submitted by minette

Famous Blue Raincoat (Leonard Cohen cover) song meanings
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  • 0
    General Commentjust something about this song: it was originally done by leonard cohen
    Flickon October 10, 2004   Link
  • 0
    General Commentyes it was though the tori cover is also most lovely.I just love this song and think she covers it most well as with all her covers.I think the story behind leonard writing it is so sad.
    rash_decisionon May 24, 2005   Link
  • 0
    General Commentyes it was though the tori cover is also most lovely.I just love this song and think she covers it most well as with all her covers.I think the story behind leonard writing it is so sad.

    rash what story are you referring to? just like cooling, my favorite of tori's song are the most mysterious. but i'd still like to know what they mean!
    ashpash588on June 02, 2005   Link
  • 0
    General CommentThis is a letter of reconciliation to an old friend who once had a drug-addled affair with the author’s wife. The author offers forgiveness and wants reassurance that his friend is doing better, “living for nothing now” (instead of living for cocaine).

    At the time of the affair, the friend, described as a “thin gypsy thief”, had a serious cocaine problem indicated by the line “You’ve been to the station to meet every train” (“Riding the train” is slang for doing cocaine). In the depths of his addiction, he was looking old, wearing the same clothes all the time until they started to fray. He had worn out his once incredibly loyal girlfriend, who had finally left him. (“Lili Marlene” is a famous German love song about an heroically loyal girlfriend waiting for her man to get back from war).

    The author refers to his old friend as “my brother, my killer”, indicating that he and Jane shared cocaine with the friend on a number of occasions. (In other words, offering the cocaine was an act of friendship, but cocaine can kill.) Eventually, Jane started doing “flake” (also slang for cocaine) with the friend a lot, and got involved with him sexually, as expressed by the lines:

    “And you treated my woman to a flake of your life
    And when she came back she was nobody's wife.”

    At the end of the affair, determined to leave town and clean up his life, and having no other possessions left to give Jane to remember him by, the friend gives her a lock of his hair.

    As much as the affair hurt the author, and as much as he disapproved of the excessive drug use, in retrospect he admits that for whatever reason, the affair was ultimately good for Jane, helping her through a rough time. He invites his friend to come for a visit saying, “Your enemy (cocaine) is sleeping, and his woman (Jane) is free.” This is to reassure his friend that returning to New York will not ignite a relapse, especially since Jane has stayed clean.

    Note 1: Much has been made of Leonard Cohen’s use of the word “clear” instead of “clean” in the song. I agree that his word choice may have been affected by his brush with Scientology, but I don’t believe that this implies that the friend in the song has joined the Scientologists. Rather, Cohen was simply using the word in the same way a Scientologist might. “You planned to go clear” means “You planned to clear your life of all the junk (drugs, etc.) which is holding you back.”

    Note 2: I believe that Cohen’s protestation that he doesn’t remember who or what the song is about exactly is a cop out. Like many artists, he doesn’t want to alienate listeners who have developed their own deeply personal interpretations of his songs by telling them what the “right” one is.
    pisomojadoon November 29, 2007   Link
  • 0
    General CommentIt's IMO about despair. I think the line "did you ever go clear" refers to scientology and I think Cohen was into that for a while. Going clear refers to some sort Scientology mumbo jumbo about baring your soul.

    It sounds like they are left in a relationship that is broken more than it was broken and passionless before Jane's betrayal.

    It's interesting that in his poetry book the last line is "sincerely your crime" but the song he says, "sincerely L Cohen"

    You came home without Lilly Marlene to me means that the antagonist also never found a faithful mate.
    Balldozeron September 18, 2013   Link

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