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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5. "Bird on a Wire"

Leonard Cohen was going through a bout of depression while living on the Greek Island of Hydra when he noticed a bird sitting by himself on a telephone wire. He began writing a poem comparing himself to the lonely bird, but it would be a long time before he turned it into a song he was happy with. During the 1968 Songs From a Room sessions in Nashville, Cohen ran through the song over and over until he got so frustrated that he sent most of the musicians home and gave up. Days before the final session, he simply walked up to the microphone and spontaneously found a whole new way to approach the work. It became one of his most beloved songs, and a staple of his live show for decades. 

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