Friday, November 11, 2016

Obituary: Leonard Cohen

Canadian-born singer/songwriter Leonard Cohen, 82, who had a big following since the 1960s, died yesterday.

I knew about it right when it was announced, but I was too lazy to put the death on the blog.

He wrote a lot of songs and had a lot of success although not a huge name, but I still think his early hit, "Suzanne," was perhaps his best known composition next to "Hallelujah."

I used to hear that song ("Suzanne") all the time on FM radio on the "progressive rock" station until I almost got sick to death of it. His version was the one I remember, not other artists' covers.

He wrote that song not for his longtime girlfriend but for a close friend of his.

Cohen was born Sept. 21, 1934, in Montreal, Canada. He turned to music after failing to find success as a writer.

He recorded his first album, “Songs of Leonard Cohen,” in 1967. His well-crafted songs were soon covered by other famous artists like James Taylor and Judy Collins. Jeff Buckley recorded a particularly popular version of Cohen’s “Hallelujah” in 1994.

As a performer, his unpolished voice was authentic and delivered his emotional lyrics in a way that resonated with audiences. Although he was not a frequent chart-topper, he became one of the most influential and respected artists among fellow musicians.

Cohen wasn't all that much in the looks department, even as a young man, but he loved to mess around and had numerous affairs.

Wikipedia has a lot of space in its article about him covering this, so I might as well pass it along.


Adam Cohen, his son and producer, said: “My father passed away peacefully at his home in Los Angeles with the knowledge that he had completed what he felt was one of his greatest records. He was writing up until his last moments with his unique brand of humor.”

Over a musical career that spanned nearly five decades, Mr. Cohen wrote songs that addressed — in spare language that could be both oblique and telling — themes of love and faith, despair and exaltation, solitude and connection, war and politics. More than 2,000 recordings of his songs have been made, initially by the folk-pop singers who were his first champions, like Judy Collins and Tim Hardin, and later by performers from across the spectrum of popular music, among them U2, Aretha Franklin, R.E.M., Jeff Buckley, Trisha Yearwood and Elton John.

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