Leonard Cohen Corrections Agency – The Case Of Suzanne Vs Volvo

The Leonard Cohen Corrections Agency

The Leonard Cohen Corrections Agency is a privately-funded organization dedicated to the rectification of inaccuracies promulgated by Leonard Cohen, no small task given the Canadian singer-songwriter’s admission that “I don’t want to let  the facts get in the way of the truth.”1

Cases already completed have ranged from cleaning up simple verbal typos such as Cohen’s misidentification of the decade in which he met the young Spaniard who taught him guitar lessons (it was the 50s, not the 60s)2 to setting right mistaken references such as the name of the fast food chain that ran the 1984 “Where’s The Beef?” advertising campaign (it was a promotion for Wendy’s not Burger King or McDonald’s as Mr. Cohen stated)3 to spotlighting inconsistencies such as Mr. Cohen taking both sides in a debate about the relationship of his songs and his poems:

… I regard everything I write as being set to music, almost as if I hear a giant guitar accompanying me!4

I never did set poetry to music. … I got stuck with that. It was a bum rap. I never set a poem to music. I’m not that hopeless. I know the difference between a poem and a song!5

Today’s focus is on the recalculation of a rule of thumb formulated by Leonard Cohen to take into account the impact certain facts, revealed by the passage of time, have had on his assessment of the longevity of his songs.

Cohen Song Endurance Vs The Volvo Lifespan

Mr. Cohen has repeated his testimony about the endurance of his songs on several occasions. This example is documented in Cohen Grows Into The Future Gracefully, And With A Grin by Peter Howell:6

My songs usually last about as long as a Volvo — about 30 years

That equation sounds valid and has, until now, never been challenged, but, as New York Governor Alfred E. Smith famously declared in his 1928 presidential campaign, “Let’s look at the record.”7

Volvo Lifespan

1967 Volvo S122

In 2009, the average life of a Volvo was calculated at 19.7 years, second only to Mercedes.8

Cohen Song Lifespan

Songs, such as Suzanne from his first album, Songs of Leonard Cohen, released in 1967, continue to be popular and to sell now, 44 years later.

The Verdict – Leonard Cohen Songs Outlast Volvo Cars

click on chart to enlarge image

Update: Suzanne Vs Volvo – The Appeal

Credit Due Department: Volvo photo found at Obscure.

  1. See Leonard Cohen Tells Sexologist About His Dog, His Mother, His Impermanence, Seduction, Men As Cocker Spaniels, and Rules Between Men & Women []
  2. Leonard Cohen: The Prince Of Asturias Awards Speech With Annotations & Commentary []
  3. Rarely Viewed Video – Leonard Cohen On His Atrocious Voice, Dylan, Lead Belly, Ice-T, Songwriting, Love, & Where’s The Beef []
  4. Leonard Cohen Seventeen. March 1968 []
  5. “Porridge? Lozenge? Syringe?” by Adrian Deevoy, Q Magazine, 1991 []
  6. Cohen Grows Into The Future Gracefully, And With A Grin by Peter Howell. Toronto Star, November 19, 1992. Found at the always fastidious Speaking Cohen site. []
  7. Mr. Smith’s slogan was one of the few survivors of that unsuccessful campaign. []
  8. Wikipedia, eHow, DesktopCar, and several other sites []

One response to “Leonard Cohen Corrections Agency – The Case Of Suzanne Vs Volvo

  1. So glad my better half won’t see this Allan as I persuaded him some years ago to purchase a Volvo on the strength of Leonard’s statement – and he did!