Seductive Songs Of Leonard Cohen #11 – “Take This Longing” & Bonus: The Hollywood YMCA Shirt

The Ten Eleven Most Seductive Leonard Cohen Songs

Ruth Stimson, the co–publisher along with me of Another Other Leonard Cohen Album,  professes herself befuddled that a list of  The Ten Most Seductive Leonard Cohen Songs:  #1 to #5 and  #6 to #10, would not include “Take This Longing” from the New Skin For The Old Ceremony album.

While the musical arrangement of “Take This Longing” doesn’t enchant me (which may explain its absence from the seductive song listing), a consideration of its lyrics certainly vindicates Ruth’s championship of this work.

Many men have loved the bells
you fastened to the rein,
and everyone who wanted you
they found what they will always want again.
Your beauty lost to you yourself
just as it was lost to them.

Oh take this longing from my tongue,
whatever useless things these hands have done.
Let me see your beauty broken down
like you would do for one you love.

Your body like a searchlight
my poverty revealed,
I would like to try your charity
until you cry, “Now you must try my greed.”
And everything depends upon
how near you sleep to me

Just take this longing from my tongue
all the lonely things my hands have done.
Let me see your beauty broken down
like you would do for one you love.

Hungry as an archway
through which the troops have passed,
I stand in ruins behind you,
with your winter clothes, your broken sandal straps.
I love to see you naked over there
especially from the back.

Oh take this longing from my tongue,
all the useless things my hands have done,
untie for me your hired blue gown,
like you would do for one that you love.

You’re faithful to the better man,
I’m afraid that he left.
So let me judge your love affair
in this very room where I have sentenced
mine to death.
I’ll even wear these old laurel leaves
that he’s shaken from his head.

Just take this longing from my tongue,
all the useless things my hands have done,
let me see your beauty broken down,
like you would do for one you love.

Like you would do for one you love.

So, thanks to Ruth, it’s now The Eleven Most Seductive Leonard Cohen Songs.

And, happily, Ruth’s YouTube persona has published a version of this tune.

Leonard Cohen – Take This Longing (Hanover 1979)

Video from messalina79

Bonus  – Leonard Cohen’s Hollywood YMCA Shirt

Sharp-eyed viewers may have spotted, in the photo used in the video of “Take This Longing,” a Hollywood YMCA shirt peeking out from Leonard Cohen’s jacket. That shirt1 shows up occasionally in 1979 photos of Leonard Cohen.

lc-ymca2

The caption translates to "The ex-writer - Leonard Cohen, mutated into a musician and songwriter already, during a party in 1979"

  1. Or similar shirts []

4 responses to “Seductive Songs Of Leonard Cohen #11 – “Take This Longing” & Bonus: The Hollywood YMCA Shirt

  1. christine roberts

    The original which was written for Nico in 1976 has to be the best version for me; the minimal backing adds to the beauty of his raw vocals and makes it a favourite although I do enjoy listening to the video above and as for the photo directly above…words fail me….thanks Dr. H.

  2. I think the bonus could be the shorts, rather than the t-shirt.

  3. please,can anyone tell me what YMCA means!?? I’m in swiss and have no idea…thanks

    • Arnold the Frog

      Knowing what YMCA stands for does not help! It’s actually The Young Men’s Christian Association.

      What you really need to know is that it provides cheap rooms on short lets in many, many cities.