Leonard Cohen

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Leonard Cohen
Background information
Birth nameLeonard Norman Cohen
Born(1934-09-21)September 21, 1934
Westmount, Quebec, Canada
DiedNovember 7, 2016(2016-11-07) (aged 82)
Los Angeles, California, U.S.
  • Singer
  • songwriter
  • musician
  • poet
  • novelist
  • painter
  • Vocals
  • guitar
  • keyboard
Years active1956–2016

Leonard Norman Cohen (September 21, 1934 – November 7, 2016) was a Canadian singer, songwriter, musician, poet, novelist, and painter. His work was mostly about religion, politics, sexuality, and personal relationships. All of these ideas can be seen in his best known work, "Hallelujah".[2]

Cohen was added into both the Canadian Music Hall of Fame and the Canadian Songwriters Hall of Fame as well as the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame. He was a Companion of the Order of Canada, the nation's highest civilian honor. In 2011, Cohen received one of the Prince of Asturias Awards for literature and the ninth Glenn Gould Prize.

Early life[change | change source]

Cohen was born on September 21, 1934 in Westmount, Quebec into a middle-class Canadian Jewish family. His mother was Marsha (Masha) Klonitsky and his father was Nathan Cohen.[3] Cohen's father died when he was nine years old.

During his high school years in Westmount, Cohen learned and played the guitar many times and wrote poems.[4] He studied at McGill University.

Career[change | change source]

Cohen started a career as a poet and novelist during the 1950s and early 1960s. Cohen did not start his music career until 1967, at the age of 33. His first album, Songs of Leonard Cohen (1967), was followed by three more albums of folk music: Songs from a Room (1969), Songs of Love and Hate (1971) and New Skin for the Old Ceremony (1974).

His 1977 record Death of a Ladies' Man was co-written and produced by Phil Spector. In 1979, Cohen returned with the more traditional Recent Songs, which blended his acoustic style with jazz and Oriental and Mediterranean influences.

"Hallelujah" was first released on Cohen's studio album Various Positions in 1984. Cohen wrote around 80 draft verses for "Hallelujah", with one writing session at the Royalton Hotel in New York where he was reduced to sitting on the floor in his underwear, banging his head on the floor.[5] This became Cohen's best known work. I'm Your Man in 1988 marked Cohen's most popular album with the song "Everybody Knows". In 1992, Cohen released its follow-up, The Future, which had dark lyrics and references to political and social unrest.

Cohen returned to music in 2001 with the release of Ten New Songs, which was a major hit in Canada and Europe. His eleventh album, Dear Heather, followed in 2004. After a successful string of tours between 2008 and 2010, Cohen released three albums in the final four years of his life: Old Ideas (2012), Popular Problems (2014) and You Want It Darker (2016), the last of which was released three weeks before his death.

Personal life[change | change source]

Though never married, Cohen had two children: Adam and Lorca with his girlfriend Suzanne Elrod.[6][7] He was also romantically linked with Marianne Ihlen,[8][9] Janis Joplin and Rebecca De Mornay.[10]

Death[change | change source]

Cohen died in 7 November 2016 of leukemia and from complications of a fall in his sleep at his home in Los Angeles, aged 82.[11][12][13]

His funeral was held on November 10, 2016 in Montreal, at a cemetery on Mount Royal, his congregation Shaar Hashomayim confirmed. As was his wish, Cohen was laid to rest with a Jewish rite, in a simple pine casket, in a family plot.[14][15]

Titles and honors[change | change source]

Related pages[change | change source]

References[change | change source]

  1. Kapica, Jack (August 25, 1973). "The trials of Leonard Cohen". Montreal Gazette. Retrieved March 28, 2014.
  2. de Melo, Jessica (December 11, 2009). "Leonard Cohen to Receive Lifetime Achievement Award at 2010 Grammys". Spinner Canada. Archived from the original on February 24, 2010. Retrieved February 24, 2010.
  3. Publications, Europa (2004). The International Who's Who. ISBN 9781857432176. Retrieved April 22, 2012.
  4. "Inductee: Leonard Cohen – Into the consciousness – Hour Community". Archived from the original on 2016-11-11. Retrieved 2017-04-11.
  5. Barton, Laura (18 December 2008). "Hail, Hail, Rock'n'Roll". The Guardian.
  6. "Leonard Cohen's third act – Macleans.ca". September 21, 2016.
  7. "Leonard Cohen died in his sleep after fall, manager says – Fox News". Fox News. November 16, 2016.
  8. Stang Ihlen, Marianne Christine (July 29, 2016). "Leonard Cohen Muse Marianne Ihlen, of "So Long, Marianne", Passes Away". Everything Zoomer. Retrieved August 2, 2016.
  9. "Leonard Cohen’s muse Marianne Ihlen dies at age 81". Toronto Star, August 4, 2016 (printed version, August 5, 2016, page A3).
  10. Cohen, Leonard (June 1, 1993). "Knowing Rebecca de Mornay Like Only Leonard Cohen Can". Archived from the original on September 19, 2012. Retrieved November 19, 2010.
  11. Beeston, Laura (November 12, 2016). "Montrealers make pilgrimage to Leonard Cohen's old haunts". Toronto Star. Retrieved November 12, 2016.
  12. "Leonard Cohen Died on Monday, Sony Confirms". Billboard. 11 November 2016.
  13. "Leonard Cohen, singer-songwriter of love, death and philosophical longing, dies at 82". The Washington Post. November 10, 2016.
  14. "Leonard Cohen died Monday, funeral held Thursday in Montreal". Montreal Gazette. November 11, 2016. Retrieved November 11, 2016.
  15. "Leonard Cohen had simple funeral". Bang Showbiz. Retrieved November 14, 2016.
  16. "GRAMMY.com". Archived from the original on 2008-04-04. Retrieved 2008-10-04.
  17. "Indictees for 2008". Rock and Roll Hall of Fame official website. 2007-12-13. Retrieved 2008-03-11.

Other websites[change | change source]