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Famous Blue Raincoat

written by Leonard Cohen
from Tower of Song: the Songs of Leonard Cohen


It's four in the morning
the end of December
I'm writing you now
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
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
On the night that you planned to go clear
Did you ever go clear?

Last time I saw you
you looked so much older
Your famous blue raincoat
torn at the shoulder
been to the station
to meet every train
You came home alone
without Lili Marlene

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
I see Jane's awake
She sends her regards

What can I tell you
my brother, my killer
What can I possibly say
Hey, I guess that I miss you
I guess I forgive you
I'm glad you stood in my way
If you ever come by
for Jane or for me
Your enemy is sleeping
and his woman is free

Well, 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
On the night that you planned to go clear
L. Cohen

Tori Quotes

I've done something on the Leonard Cohen tribute that I'm very excited about, because, what an influence his writing has been to so many. I did "Famous Blue Raincoat," just a piano/vocal, which Iím kind of happy about. Everybody else was, you know, doing a big production thing, and I figured, no. [Baltimore Sun - July 1994]

She [Tori] started talking about the covers she has done, that when she covers a song it's not because she just likes it, but she needs to put a character to it. Like with Teen Spirit, she had always wanted to be a cheerleader, but was told she didn't have enough rhythm! And one day she was driving a truck--"I love Trucks"--and heard this song and loved it. But she had to have a character, so she decided she was Jane and has stolen this letter that has been written and is reading it aloud. "Famous Blue Raincoat." - Beth Coulter [VH1 Storytellers taping - October 24, 1998]

She [Tori] chooses things that speak to her. She has to find a way into the song. When she covered "Famous Blue Raincoat," Leonard Cohen's version was "already so stunning" that she had to find her own way in. She finally sang the song from the point of view of "Jane" in the song. - Kim H. [KROQ Breakfast with Tori & Alanis - September 24, 1999]

Live Versions

"Famous Blue Raincoat"
October 9, 2007 - Albany, New York

"Famous Blue Raincoat"
September 10, 2017 - Luxembourg, Luxembourg

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