While not as well known as his poem, “Days of Kindness,” Leonard Cohen’s “Much Later” from Book Of Longing also evocatively describes his days with Marianne, in this case, listening to Ray Charles in sun-drenched Hydra.
From Book Of Longing by Leonard Cohen
Ray Charles singing You Win Again
in the sunlight
twenty years ago
Ray Charles the singer I would never be
and my young wife
‘the wife of my youth’
smiling at me from an upstairs room
in the old house
Ray Charles and Marianne
dear spirits of my Greek life
now in the sunshine of every new summer
Marianne coming down the steps
‘the woman of the house’
Ray Charles speaking fiercely
for our virgin humanity
Twenty years ago
and again in this Hollywood summer
still companions of the heart
as I measure myself once more
against the high sweet standards
of my youth
– Los Angeles 1978
This is the third entry in Cars Of Leonard Cohen, a series of posts about Leonard Cohen’s actual automobiles, those metaphorical cars he employed in his songs, and his thoughts about cars.
Driving Miss Marianne: Karmann Ghia
Note: The photo atop this post is a 1958 Karmann Ghia, but not the Karmann Ghia owned by Marianne that is featured in this post.
Leonard Drives Marianne From Greece To Oslo
You even drove [Marianne] from Greece back home to Norway?
Yes in her little Karmann Ghia, and she liked to drive fast, and I didn’t like to drive that fast, but anyway, we got there, and, yes we drove from Athens to Oslo. That was a wonderful drive. Although I remember us quarreling a lot. I don’t know whether it was about the driving or not, but I do remember that it was quarrels that arose. But they were healed because we’d stop at some little Italian cafe and have pasta and a bottle of wine or some cheese and bread, and we’ d get over it.
From Leonard Looks Back On The Past, an interview with Leonard Cohen by Kari Hesthamar, Los Angeles, 2005 (Unedited interview for the Norwegian Radio). Found at LeonardCohenFiles [bolding mine].
More About Marianne’s Volkswagens
Marianne’s automotive history, with and without Leonard Cohen, is intriguing. According to So Long, Marianne: A Love Story by Kari Hesthamar (ECW Press; June 10, 2014), in 1957, Marianne and Axel Jensen purchased a “secondhand blue Volkswagen Beetle” in Hamburg en route to Greece. Shortly thereafter, they spun out on ice in Yugoslavia, extensively damaging the vehicle and necessitating repairs before they could continue their journey. Then, in 1959, they traveled to Stockholm where they used the revenue from the publication of Axel’s novel, Line, they purchased a “beige Karmann Ghia with light brown leather upholstery.” Some time later, Axel’s lover, Patricia, was driving this car in Athens when, dodging a cart in the road, she wrecked it, injuring herself severely. This was the Karmann Ghia that transported Leonard and Marianne to Oslo. Before Leonard and Marianne left Greece, they had the car checked out, at which time, they discovered – by accidentally meeting the original owner – that the Karmann Ghia was fitted with a Porsche motor.
All posts in this series will be collected at Cars Of Leonard Cohen when they go online.
Credit Due Department: Photo atop post by Sicnag – 1958 Volkswagen Type 14 Karmann Ghia front view, CC BY 2.0, Wikimedia Commons.
From The Face May Not Be Familiar, but the Name Should Be: It’s Composer and Cult Hero Leonard Cohen by Pamela Andriotakis & Richard Oulahan. People: January 14, 1980.
Note: Originally posted Dec 30, 2013 at DrHGuy.com, a predecessor of Cohencentric
How affected did you get when Marianne Ihlen passed away?
The way any heartless son of a bitch
is affected by
the relentless amputation of his past.
From the original questionnaire (in English) for Le Dernier Empereur by J.D. Beauvallet and Pierre Siankowski (Les Inrocks: Oct 19, 2016) forwarded to me on Oct 16, 2016 by Leonard Cohen.
From Leonard Cohen by Ray Connolly. Evening Standard, July 1968
One year ago (July 28, 2016), Marianne Ihlen, immortalized in “So Long, Marianne,” died. She was a frequent visitor to Cohencentric and much beloved by readers. A few posts featuring her from this and other sites follow:
- Hear Leonard Cohen And Marianne Ihlen Talk About Their Life Together
- Marianne Talks About First Meeting Leonard Cohen
- “Would love to hear you at 82 Leonard, with your Golden tongue” Marianne’s Last Comment On My Facebook Page
- Marianne, Hydra And The Love Affair with Leonard Cohen – Now In English
- Leonard Cohen Facebook Page: Marianne Tribute
- Video: Leonard Cohen’s Divergent & Devastating Version Of So Long, Marianne – Oslo 1993
- 4 Photos Of Leonard Cohen & Marianne – Hydra 1960s
- Leonard Cohen Invokes Feelings For Marianne After They Separated As Evidence That “Love Never Dies”
- Leonard Looks Back On The Past
- Marianne’s Song: Leonard Cohen’s Bird On A Wire
- Photo: Leonard Cohen with Marianne & Young Axel on Hydra
- Hear Leonard Cohen Talk About Marianne, Hydra, His Career, Drinking, Touring, Love, & Whose Dogs Are Barking
- Marianne: “I didn’t believe it when Leonard said ‘You’re the most beautiful woman I’ve ever seen’”
- Leonard Cohen on Marianne: “I thought she was a simple milkmaid but I discovered she was the Imperial …”
- Birthday Video Celebrating Marianne’s 80th Birthday On Hydra – May 18, 2015
- Video: Leonard Cohen’s Poignant Recall Of Marianne & Hydra
- Marianne Ihlen’s Response To 2015 Photo Query: What is on that phone that has captivated Marianne & a Webb Sister?
Marianne Ihlen, the woman immortalized in “So Long, Marianne” and the woman in Leonard Cohen’s life through the 1960s, died July 28, 2016 after being diagnosed with leukemia less than a week earlier.
Leonard Cohen’s Final Farewell To Marianne
Two days before Marianne’s death, Leonard sent her this message
So Long, Marianne
This is an especially moving version of Leonard Cohen’s classic song about his separation from Marianne.
Leonard Cohen – So Long, Marianne
Oslo Spektrum: May 1, 1993
Video by Allan Showalter