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Each day, Rich Terfry and Radio 2 Drive wraps up your day with music and stories about the interesting things going on in the world.


Today is Leonard Cohen Day on CBC Radio 2. Cohen is turning 80, so we’re celebrating with a full day of special features. You’ll hear clips from some the best interviews Cohen has ever given the CBC, plus tons of his music! We’ve lined up some amazing Canadian artists to do covers of some of Leonard’s tunes, plus you’ll hear tracks from Cohen’s brand new album, “Popular Problems.”  Join us today for the show (3:30-7).


RICH'S PICK: "The Pioneers" by Tunng: 



How to ruin a rainbow sighting: 

25 famous people who were once interns: 

Selfie session: 



Every week, Rich Terfry looks back in our Rear-view Mirror at a great song from the good ol’ days. This week, Leonard Cohen's "Suzanne."

"Suzanne" is perhaps Leonard Cohen's greatest and best known song. But who exactly is the woman he sings about and what was his relationship to her?


Listen to Rich tell you the story behind "Suzanne"

The inspiration for the song was a woman named Suzanne Verdal and by all accounts, she was the most desired woman in Montreal before Cohen wrote the song. He once said in an interview with the BBC that "everyone was in love with Suzanne". She was the girlfriend of a prominent Montreal artist named Armand Vaillancourt. He's a sculptor, painter and performance artist who still lives, works and is politically active in the Montreal area.

Cohen was somewhat in awe of the couple and saw their relationship as sacred. For that reason, he kept his feelings for Suzanne in check, even though the sexual tension between them was very strong. As he says in the lyrics, he only ever touched her body with is mind.

By the time Leonard Cohen wrote and recorded the song, he had fallen out of touch with his muse. When Verdal heard the song, she said she was flattered, but also felt a bit embarrassed, saying she felt like her privacy had been invaded.


Listen to CBC's The National interview with Suzanne Verdal by hitting the Play button

As Cohen went on to become a pop icon, Verdal traveled the world working as a dancer. By the '90s, she was nursing an injured back and living in a homemade camper on Venice Beach in Los Angeles.

By the way, she really did live by the river in Montreal and did serve Cohen tea and oranges, just like he says in the song. In the liner notes to his 1975 Greatest Hits album, he wrote that "her hospitality was immaculate."

Here's the song that was first published as a poem in 1966 and went on to become one of Leonard Cohen's many classics. This is "Suzanne."

Here are some other great editions of Rear-view Mirror:

The Ramones/I Wanna Be Sedated

Blue Rodeo/Try

The Guess Who/American Woman

U2/I Still Have't Found What I'm Looking For

Janis Joplin/Me and Bobby McGee

Gordon Lightfoot "If You Could Read My Mind"

The Byrds "Eight Miles High"

Simon and Garfunkel "The Sound of Silence"

Bill Haley and his Comets "Rock Around The Clock"

The Velvet Underground "I'm Waiting For The Man"

Johnny Cash "Folsom Prison Blues"

Bobby Fuller "I Fought The Law"

Big Star "September Gurls"

The Hollies "Bus Stop"

Joy Division "Love Will Tear Us Apart"

Booker T and the MGs "Green Onions"

Jimi Hendrix "Hey Joe"

Neil Young "Rockin' in the Free World"

Dolly Parton "Jolene"

The Left Banke "Walk Away Renee"

Lou Reed "Walk On The Wild Side"

James Taylor "Fire And Rain"

The Clash "Should I Stay or Should I Go"

Marvin Gaye "Sexual Healing"

Radiohead "Paranoid Android"

M.I.A. "Paper Planes"

The Animals "We Gotta Get Out of this Place"

Dusty Springfield "Son of a Preacher Man"

Screamin' Jay Hawkins "I Put A Spell On You"

Cheap Trick "Surrender"

Mott The Hoople "All the Young Dudes"

Beach Boys "Sloop John B"

Amy Winehouse "Rehab"

New York Dolls "Personality Crisis"

Modern Lovers "Roadrunner"

George Jones "He Stopped Loving Her Today"

Bruce Springsteen "Born in the USA"

The Beatles "With A Little Help From My Friends"

Rolling Stones 'Miss You'

The Coasters 'Run Red Run'

Elvis Costello, 'Alison'

James Brown, 'Hot (I Need to be loved loved loved)'

Inner Circle, 'Tenement Yard'

Ray Charles, 'I Don't Need No Doctor'

Curtis Mayfield, 'Freddy's Dead'

Gang Starr, 'Beyond Comprehension'

Bo Diddley, 'Bo Diddley'

Aretha Franklin, 'Rocksteady'

CCR, 'Have You Ever Seen the Rain'

Howlin' Wolf, 'Smokestack Lightning'

Bobby Womack, 'Across 110th Street'

Roy Orbison, 'In Dreams'

Foggy Hogtown Boys, 'Man of Constant Sorrow'

Pink Floyd, 'Wish You Were Here'

Neil Young, 'Cortez The Killer'

Bob Dylan, 'Subterranean Homesick Blues'

Little Eva, 'Loco-Motion'

Elvis Costello, 'Watching the Detectives'

John Cougar Mellencamp, 'Pink Houses'

Jimmy Cliff, 'The Harder They Come'

The Verve, 'Bittersweet Symphony'

Roberta Flack, 'Killing Me Softly with his Song'

R.E.M., 'Radio Free Europe'

Radiohead, 'No Surprises'

Led Zeppelin, 'Ramble On'

Glen Campbell, 'Wichita Lineman'

Rolling Stones, 'Beast of Burden'

posted by Mark Wigmore at 5:50 AM
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Selfie session: More Junk on the DRIVE page:
25 famous people who were once interns: More Junk on the DRIVE page:
How to ruin a rainbow sighting: More Junk on the DRIVE page:
Rich's pick - "The Pioneers" by Tunng:
It's Leonard Cohen Day on CBC Radio 2. Cohen is turning 80 & we’re celebrating with a full day of features.
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