On March 22, E Street Band saxophonist Jake Clemons will release a cover of Leonard Cohen’s “Democracy” that will also be on his next album, due out in May.
The song, which was on the late Cohen’s 1992 album The Future, is a sardonic but also hopeful anthem about the state of the country.
“From the wars against disorder/From the sirens night and day/From the fires of the homeless/From the ashes of the gay/Democracy is coming to the U.S.A.,” Cohen sang.
While Cohen’s version sounded like a prophetic poem, due to his craggy voice and the ominous way he delivered the lyrics, Clemons’ version, which I’ve heard but which is not yet publicly available, is more of a straightforward rock anthem.
“My father, a man whose greatest pride lay within his service to his country, instilled in me a firm belief that our flag, our nation should represent the certain unalienable rights of all people, that we are all created equal, that we are stronger as a whole, and that our rights as a collective whole deserve to be defended,” Clemons said in a press release. “Democracy, a mighty ship that would sail for the people and by the people, well, it’s slow. It is here, but it’s not. We are both waiting for it and simultaneously seem to be warring against it.
“When then, will the identity that promised to bind us together in precious liberty finally ring true; ‘FOR THE PEOPLE, BY THE PEOPLE’? When will we resolve to become truly UNITED as that powerful force claiming that grander posture of ‘WE, THE PEOPLE’? This was the promise made, one that I have to hold on to, be it desperately, one that my father would proudly sacrifice time & time again for. It is slow … but it’s coming. This is Democracy.”
The song will be available via all digital outlets on March 22. For information, visit jakeclemons.com.
(April 25 Update: Here is the song’s new video)