Leonard Cohen, the revered Canadian singer, songwriter, artist, poet and novelist has died at 82. Intensely original, compared to Bob Dylan and James Joyce but second to none, Cohen created a style / genre all his own.
Born on September 21st 1934 in Montreal, Canada, Cohen died on November 10th 2016 in Los Angeles, at the age of 82. He was a Jew from a well-to-do family who spent several years as a Zen Buddhist monk… He loved spectacular women but never got married. In the course of his life, Cohen earned a fortune but found himself forced to work and tour till the end because his one-time partner decimated his retirement funds and even though Cohen won the case in court he couldn’t collect the money awarded to him by the court. Just these few examples suggest that Leonard Cohen led a colorful albeit not uncomplicated life. Complicated lives of creative – and talented! – people produce wonderful art. It is definitely true of Cohen.
Best known in the United States as a singer / songwriter, Cohen’s “Hallelujah”, “Suzanne” and other songs became classics. Among his studio albums are:
- Songs of Leonard Cohen (1967)
- Songs from a Room (1969)
- Songs of Love and Hate (1971)
- New Skin for the Old Ceremony (1974)
- Death of a Ladies’ Man (1977)
- Recent Songs (1979)
- Various Positions (1984)
- I’m Your Man (1988)
- The Future (1992)
- Ten New Songs (2001)
- Dear Heather (2004)
- Old Ideas (2012)
- Popular Problems (2014)
- You Want It Darker (2016)
Cohen’s accomplishments as a singer / songwriter earned many recognitions. Among them are Grammy Lifetime Achievement Award and induction into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame. The Canadian government bestowed upon him the title of an Officer of the Order of Canada in 1991, and eventually upgraded it in 2003 to the rank of Companion of the Order in 2003.
In July of this year, Leonard Cohen learned that his once-love Marianne Ihlen (whom he has immortalized in “So Long, Marianne”) was dying. Upon learning of her impending demise, Cohen wrote a moving poem for her in which he mentioned that he will follow her soon. How prophetic.
A Facebook post on Leonard Cohen’s page says:
“It is with profound sorrow we report that legendary poet, songwriter and artist, Leonard Cohen has passed away.
We have lost one of music’s most revered and prolific visionaries.
A memorial will take place in Los Angeles at a later date. The family requests privacy during their time of grief.”
Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau tweeted:
“No other artist’s music felt or sounded like Leonard Cohen’s. Yet his work resonated across generations. Canada and the world will miss him.”
Huge outpouring of condolences from artists and notables worldwide continues.
The man who once said: “I intend to live for ever.” is gone. His children, several women, many friends and even more fans are in mourning. Leonard Cohen lived, felt, thought and created. He generously shared his thoughts and feelings through his poetry. His thoughts on life and death, love and religion and other existential topics enriched us all and remain relevant.