One of a songwriters main inspiration point is the women in his life, usually a girlfriend that they have loved and lost. Sometimes they are about fictional women that were inspired by real woman but the women make up many of the songs over the last 100 years or so. One thing that I have always wondered about is who is the woman who is being sung about, what made a songwriter write about her? And while it is not as earth shattering as some other things being discussed in town I still find it interesting and hopefully so do you.
In 1967 Leonard Cohen released SUZANNE, one of the truly great Canadian songs of all time and in true songwriter tradition the main character was real. Her name was Suzanne Verdal, the then wife of Canadian Sculptor Armand Vaillancourt and she lived in Montreal. The song describes the City of Montreal in all it’s splendor as well as giving us an image of SUZANNE that to this day still sits in my mind. The real Suzanne claims that she and Leonard never had sex despite what some think the song represents and as a matter of fact Cohen himself has said that there was neither the opportunity nor the inclination to actually go through with it, and according to Suzanne she has only seen Leonard twice since the song was released, once in the 1970′s and once in the 1990′s.
Today Suzanne lives in Venice Beach California and is an on again off again homeless person living off the good intentions of friends and artists that call the beach home.