Readers' Poll: The 10 Best Leonard Cohen Songs

"Suzanne," "Famous Blue Raincoat" and your other favorite tracks by the Canadian poet

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3. "Famous Blue Raincoat"

Sometime in the early 1970s, a thief stole Leonard Cohen's old raincoat from Marianne Ihlen's New York apartment. God only know what happened to it, but the thief almost certainly had no idea he was stealing an object that belongs in the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame, if not the Smithsonian. It was that very coat that inspired Cohen to write one of his most beloved and mysterious songs. It's written in the form of a letter, possibly to the narrator's brother, who stole his lover, Jane.

"Famous Blue Raincoat" has captivated listeners ever since it first appeared on 1971's Songs of Love and Hate, though Cohen admits he's not happy with the lyrics. "It was a song I've never been satisfied with," he said in 1994. "It's not that I've resisted an impressionistic approach to songwriting, but I've never felt that this one, that I really nailed the lyric. I'm ready to concede something to the mystery, but secretly I've always felt that there was something about the song that was unclear." 

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