Leonard Cohen will always be considered a musical legend. He was iconic. He was tremendously influential. He was considered a visionary by so many. And as the world mourns his passing, the Bigelow family wants to give our condolences to his family, friends and many, many fans.
For six decades, Leonard revealed his soul through music and poetry. As Billboard noted, his songs that became radio hits were more likely to have been recorded by other musicians, such as “Suzanne,” by Judy Collins. In fact, it was the success of Judy’s cover of the song that led to his recording career—soon after, he released The Songs of Leonard Cohen, the first of 14 albums. And it was the beautiful lyrics in “Suzanne” that honored our “Constant Comment®” tea by making reference to “tea and oranges.”
Suzanne takes you down to her place near the river
You can hear the boats go by, you can spend the night forever
And you know that she’s half-crazy but that’s why you want to be there
And she feeds you tea and oranges that come all the way from China
And just when you mean to tell her that you have no love to give her
Then he gets you on her wavelength
And she lets the river answer that you’ve always been her lover
Inspired by his friendship with Suzanne Verdal, the evocative lyrics in “Suzanne” describe the afternoons they would spend together at her apartment by the Montreal harbor: she would serve him “Constant Comment” tea and fruit, and they would walk along the St. Lawrence River and by the Notre-Dame-de-Bon-Secours, where sailors prayed before heading out to sea.
“The song was begun, and the chord pattern was developed, before a woman’s name entered the song,” he told the BBC in 1994. What allegedly began as a song about his hometown of Montreal evolved into a reminiscent and melodic poem of friendship, a story that NPR’s The Salt shared in detail here.
While great songs last forever, we recognize that our time with people, even the greatest and most creative people, is fleeting. We’ll miss you, Leonard. To his fans in the tea community, let’s find some time today to turn on “Suzanne,” make a pot of “Constant Comment,” and reflect on the work of one of the greatest songwriters of time. Tag your reflective moment with #TeaProudly to share with other tea drinkers.