The Marianne Variations: Leonard Cohen’s “Here Comes The Morning Boat” Version Of So Long, Marianne

Leonard Cohen’s Recurring Revisions Of So Long, Marianne

The Marianne Variations is a series of posts devoted to the major recurring variations of Leonard Cohen’s “So Long, Marianne” that significantly differ from the versions found on the Songs Of Leonard Cohen and Field Commander Cohen albums. An introduction and links to all published posts in this series as well as the inclusion criteria and the original version of “So Long, Marianne” from the Songs Of Leonard Cohen album can be found at The Marianne Variations Summary Page.

The “Here Comes The Morning Boat” Version Of So Long Marianne

Often the variations in this classic Cohen song have been relatively minor, comprising, for example, the substitution of a single word for another or a verse being skipped. In 1988, however, an entire stanza, sung by backup vocalists, Perla Batalla & Julie Christensen, appeared de novo as the song’s final verse:

Here comes the morning boat,
Here comes the evening train,
Here comes Marianne now,
To wave goodbye again.

Note: At some point in the process of recording Songs Of Leonard Cohen, “So Long, Marianne” was titled “Come On, Marianne.”1 While the existence of the same verb in the title of that early iteration and in the third line of this verse added in 1988, “Here comes Marianne now,” is certainly insufficient evidence of a connection between the two versions, the possibility exists that the 1988 line is a vestigial remnant of lyrics written twenty years earlier or that both lines share a common precursor. (See “When [Leonard Cohen] wrote [‘Come On, Marianne’], for me it was like, ‘Come on, if we can just keep this boat afloat.’ And then we found out that we could not.” Marianne)

Leonard Cohen – So Long Marianne
San Sebastian: May 20, 1988

Credit Due Department: Photo by Tom & Anna on Pixnio. Public domain.

I am republishing selected posts from my former Leonard Cohen site, Cohencentric, here on (these posts can be found at Leonard Cohen). This entry was originally posted July 17, 2014 t, at predecessor of Cohencentric.

  1. I’m Your Man: The Life Of Leonard Cohen by Sylvie Simmons. Ecco: 2012 []

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