Billboard News on Leonard Cohen

News about Leonard Cohen and his work, press, radio & TV programs etc.
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Billboard News on Leonard Cohen

Postby Roy » Sat Nov 12, 2016 4:55 am

Leonard Cohen Dies at Age 82

http://www.billboard.com/articles/news/ ... 2-obituary

11/10/2016 by Gary Graff

"I get tagged as an art-song intellectual," Leonard Cohen observed during the early 80s. "But I've always tried to have hits."

Cohen -- who died at the age of 82 -- didn't have any of those. But the poet, songwriter and singer wielded enormous influence as a kind of pop music laureate, writing literate, evocative material that was admired and frequently recorded by others. In some cases they even became hits -- "Suzanne" and "Bird On a Wire" for Judy Collins, for instance, or "Hallelujah" for the late Jeff Buckley -- and other artists' regard for Cohen has been chronicled via multiple high-profile tribute albums.

Cohen death was announced with a message to his fans on Facebook Thursday (Nov. 10) stating "We have lost one of music’s most revered and prolific visionaries."

Cohen’s son and producer Adam Cohen said his 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.” A memorial will take place in Los Angeles at a later date.

Cohen's multi-generational mark is even echoed via name-checks in songs by Nirvana ("Pennyroyal Tea"), Better Than Ezra ("Under You") and Mercury Rev ("A Drop In Time").

Inducting him into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame in 2008, Lou Reed said Cohen was among the "highest and most influential echelon of songwriters." The The's Matt Johnson said that, "When I listen to his songs, it's a simple, stripped-down naked soul." Collins, meanwhile, added that Cohen's songs "are just so deep and full of the human experience, and yet so open to interpretation, which is what a singer craves." And frequent Cohen backup singer Sharon Robinson, who recorded many of his songs and co-wrote her 2001 album Ten New Songs with him, explained that, "The beauty in Leonard's songs is that he expresses really universal feelings. A hundred singers could sing the same (Cohen) song and they'd all be different."

A native of Quebec, Cohen was born to a middle class family with deep Judaic roots. His maternal grandfather was a Talmudic scholar, while his paternal grandfather founded the Canadian Jewish Congress. His father Nathan Cohen, a clothing retailer, died when Cohen was nine years old. Cohen began studying music can poetry as a youngster, taking up clarinet but turning his attention primarily to writing as he grew older and attended McGill University. He published his first book of poetry, Let Us Compare Mythologies, and his first novel, Beautiful Losers, in 1966.

It was Collins' success with "Suzanne" that led to his recording career. Columbia signed him and released The Songs of Leonard Cohen, the first of 13 studio albums, in 1967. His singles did not chart in the U.S. -- his sonorous, semi-spoken vocals were not the stuff of the pop mainstream -- but the masses began catching on with 2012's "Old Ideas," which peaked at No. 3 on the Billboard 200, and 2014's "Popular Problems," which debuted at No. 15. That didn't keep the material from becoming celebrated and analyzed, however, whether it was "Chelsea Hotel," a dry observation about a brief afternoon fling with Janis Joplin, relationship paeans such as "So Long, Marianne" and "Dance Me to the End of Love" or the starkly political tracts like "First We Take Manhattan" and "Democracy."

"I've never chosen a style that was deliberately obscure," Cohen once told Entertainment Weekly. "I never came up with the idea of writing a song that would mystify anybody or prevent anyone from tapping their foot to it." And mining the dark side of the psyche was a stock in trade he came by naturally. "I always experience myself as falling apart," Cohen explained to Rolling Stone. "The place where the evaluation happens is where I write the songs, when I get in that place where I can't be dishonest about what I've been doing."

Cohen became a practicing Buddhist during the mid-70s and spent time between 1994-99 secluded at a monastery in Mount Baldy, Calif., as a personal assistant to his teacher Kyozan Joshu Sasaki -- an experience that produced his 2006 poetry collection "Book of Longing," which inspired a song cycle by Philip Glass. HIs romantic relationships included Marianne C. Stang (the subject of "So Long, Marianne"), artist Suzanne Elrod -- with whom he had son Adam and daughter Lorca but never married -- French photographer Dominque Issermann and actress Rebecca De Mornay.

After his monastery years Cohen jump-started his musical career with Ten New Songs. After discovering his close friend and longtime manager Kelley Lynch had bilked him out of his life savings and music publishing, leading to a rash of lawsuits, Cohen began touring in earnest again in 2008, delivering generous, acclaimed shows chronicled on a series of concert albums and live videos.

"Maybe he went back on the road for financial reasons, but he really started to love it," said longtime bassist and musical director Roscoe Beck. "He knows there's an audience out there who wants to see it, and he enjoys the lifestyle. He likes hotel rooms. He likes the camaraderie of the band and crew. He just felt comfortable being on stage, and you could see it in his performances. It was an amazing thing to be part of and to witness."

During his career Cohen won four Juno Awards and one Grammy and was also given a Grammy Lifetime Achievement Award in 2010. In addition to the Rock Hall Cohen was also part of the Songwriters Hall of Fame, the Canadian Music Hall of Fame and the Canadian Songwriters Hall of Fame and received a Princess of Asturias Award among other literary prizes and honorary university degrees. He was named a Companion of the Order of Canada, the country's highest civilian award, in 2011.
Last edited by Roy on Sat Nov 12, 2016 5:25 am, edited 1 time in total.
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Re: Billboard News on Leonard Cohen

Postby Roy » Sat Nov 12, 2016 4:59 am

Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau Pays Tribute to Leonard Cohen: 'Canada & The World Will Miss Him'

http://www.billboard.com/articles/news/ ... en-tribute

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Carlos Alvarez/Getty Images
Leonard Cohen attends the "Prince of Asturias Awards 2011" ceremony at the Campoamor Theater on Oct. 21, 2011 in Oviedo, Spain.

Canada’s prime minister Justin Trudeau led tributes to his great countryman Leonard Cohen, who has died aged 82.

The nation’s leader issued a statement on behalf of all Canadians in which he honored the great songwriter and singer as “a most remarkable Montrealer.”

Read Trudeau’s full tribute below.

“It is with deep sorrow that I learned today of the death of the legendary Leonard Cohen.

“A most remarkable Montrealer, Leonard Cohen managed to reach the highest of artistic achievement, both as an acclaimed poet and a world-renowned singer-songwriter. He will be fondly remembered for his gruff vocals, his self-deprecating humor and the haunting lyrics that made his songs the perennial favorite of so many generations.

“Leonard Cohen is as relevant today as he was in the 1960s. His ability to conjure the vast array of human emotion made him one of the most influential and enduring musicians ever. His style transcended the vagaries of fashion.

“Leonard Cohen was made a Companion of the Order of Canada in 2003 and received many artistic honors during his lifetime, including being inducted into the Canadian Music Hall of Fame, the Canadian Songwriters Hall of Fame, and the American Rock and Roll Hall of Fame.

“He received a Lifetime Achievement Grammy in 2010 and was awarded the Glenn Gould Prize for lifetime achievement in the arts in 2011. In 2013, with a career already spanning more than fifty years, he won Junos as Artist of the Year and Songwriter of the Year for his 2012 album Old Ideas. His music had withstood the test of time.

“On behalf of all Canadians, Sophie and I wish to express our deepest sympathies to Leonard Cohen’s family, friends, colleagues and many, many fans.

“Leonard, no other artist's poetry and music felt or sounded quite like yours. We'll miss you.”

Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau Pays Tribute to Leonard Cohen: 'Canada & The World Will Miss Him'

http://www.billboard.com/articles/news/ ... en-tribute

11/10/2016 by Katie Atkinson

The music world has lost a giant, and Canada has lost a national treasure.

After news broke of the death of Leonard Cohen on Thursday night (Nov. 10), Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau took to Twitter to mourn the loss of the 82-year-old singer/songwriter, who was born in Westmount, Quebec, and whose music was warmly embraced by his native country.

"No other artist's music felt or sounded like Leonard Cohen's. Yet his work resonated across generations," Trudeau wrote, in both English and French, on Twitter. "Canada and the world will miss him."

Leonard Cohen Mourned by Justin Timberlake, Jennifer Hudson, Moby & More

http://www.billboard.com/articles/news/ ... d-reaction

11/10/2016 by Billboard Staff

Leonard Cohen -- the revered singer/songwriter whose "Hallelujah" was one of the most covered songs in modern music history -- has died at age 82, it was announced Thursday night (Nov. 10).

Cohen's fellow musicians and celebrity admirers flooded social media to share their favorite songs and mourn the loss of a musical genius.

Below, find reactions from Justin Timberlake, Alanis Morissette, Lin-Manuel Miranda, Carole King, Sean Lennon, Moby and more:
Last edited by Roy on Sat Nov 12, 2016 5:25 am, edited 2 times in total.
LEONARD COHEN | HALLS OF FAME
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Re: Billboard News on Leonard Cohen

Postby Roy » Sat Nov 12, 2016 5:06 am

Leonard Cohen: A Life in Photos

http://www.billboard.com/photos/7573421 ... s-photos/1

Aleluya: Leonard Cohen en Espanol

http://www.billboard.com/articles/colum ... rs-aleluya

Watch Draco Rosa, Bunbury, Il Divo, Morente and more Latin artists cover Cohen

Leonard Cohen was awarded Spain’s national prize for literature, the Premio Príncipe de Asturias de las Letras, in 2011; he has been a signpost for Spanish artists for decades.

With flamenco musicians, most notably the great Enrique Morente, who created a seminal album around his work, Cohen shared a passion for the poetry of Federico Garcia Lorca. Spanish rockers, following his revolutionary call, have translated and performed his songs. Latin American singer-songwriters have also acknowledged Cohen’s influence in tributes. And, of course, the universal “Hallelujah” has also become a standard in its Spanish-language version, “Aleluya.”

Here, as people everywhere remember Cohen after news of his death broke on Nov. 10, listen to these tributes by Latin artists.
Last edited by Roy on Sat Nov 12, 2016 5:26 am, edited 1 time in total.
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Re: Billboard News on Leonard Cohen

Postby Roy » Sat Nov 12, 2016 5:09 am

12 Most Memorable Covers of Leonard Cohen's 'Hallelujah'

http://www.billboard.com/articles/news/ ... ble-covers

From Jeff Buckley, Justin Timberlake, Brandi Carlile, John Cale, k.d. lang and more.

Over his 60 year career, Leonard Cohen -- who's death was announced Thursday (Nov. 10) -- became known most of all for his deeply evocative lyrics surely ranking among the all time great poet musicians.

Beyond all of his songs, Cohen's painfully pure and eternal "Hallelujah" has become a staple of the modern American songbook, conjuring countless covers. As testament to the song's beauty and Cohen's talent, amazingly it never gets old.

In tribute to the late artist, here are 12 of the most memorable "Hallelujah" covers:

Leonard Cohen's Billboard Chart History, 'Hallelujah' & Beyond

http://www.billboard.com/articles/colum ... hallelujah

1/10/2016 by Gary Trust

The singer-songwriter enjoyed his greatest successes on the Billboard 200 albums chart in recent years, while his trademark song "Hallelujah" became a hit for others.

Rock and Roll Hall of Fame singer-songwriter Leonard Cohen forged a history on the Billboard charts that never quite matched his critical acclaim and legendary status, although in recent years he enjoyed his greatest successes at last, logging his first two top 10 albums on the Billboard 200 -- in 2012 and just last week.

Meanwhile, perhaps his most beloved composition, "Hallelujah," became a hit multiple times, but for other artists, from Jeff Buckley to Pentatonix, which, most recently, brought the legend's inspirational ballad to the Billboard Hot 100's top 40 with its newly released cover.

As previously reported, Cohen's death was announced Thursday (Nov. 10) via a message on Facebook, stating, "We have lost one of music's most revered and prolific visionaries." Cohen was 82.

Cohen made his Billboard chart debut at age 33 on March 2, 1968, when his first album, Songs of Leonard Cohen, debuted at No. 162 on the Billboard 200. The set would peak at No. 83 that April. (By then, he had drawn praise mostly as a poet and novelist.)

Cohen added three more modestly charting albums on the Billboard 200 through 1973: Songs From a Room (No. 63, 1969), Songs of Love and Hate (No. 145, 1971) and Leonard Cohen: Live Songs (No. 156, 1973).

He recorded six more studio albums through 1992, but wouldn't again appear on the Billboard 200 until 2001, when Ten New Songs dented the chart with a No. 143 peak. Three more entries on the chart would rise no higher than No. 76 (Live in London, 2009) until Feb. 18, 2012, when Old Ideas blasted in at No. 3, marking Cohen's first top 10 (and highest rank since Room reached No. 63 in 1969). On Old Ideas, Cohen collaborated with Patrick Leonard, who had co-written and co-produced hits with Madonna since the '80s.

Cohen added the No. 15-peaking Popular Problems in 2014 and, just last week, on the Billboard 200 dated Nov. 12, he earned his second top 10, as You Want It Darker debuted at No. 10.

Helping Cohen achieve new chart heights in the 2010s was the life that "Hallelujah" took on for numerous other acts. He originally released the song on his 1984 album Various Positions, which -- hard to believe, given the song's enduring appeal -- has never (so far) appeared on a Billboard album chart. To date, Cohen's version of "Hallelujah" has spent a mere week on a Billboard survey: It charted at No. 7 on the mostly physical sales-based Hot Singles Sales chart dated Dec. 8, 2012.

Jeff Buckley's 1994 cover of "Hallelujah" has since become beloved, although it, too, wasn't a chart hit at the time. It topped the Digital Songs chart in 2008, however (after Buckley's 1997 death), sparked by Jason Castro's performance of it on American Idol. The song would go on to become a favorite for contestants on various TV talent competitions.

"Hallelujah" would hit the Hot 100 at last in 2010, when Justin Timberlake and Matt Morris' take, featuring Charlie Sexton, reached No. 13 that February. They had performed the song on MTV's Hope for Haiti Now telethon following the country's devastating earthquake. "Obviously, I was going to help answer phones and help make donations," Timberlake told MTV News at the time. "But as soon as I got that call, all of a sudden ... it was kind of like a big, highlighted neon-green [light], everywhere I looked: 'Hallelujah, hallelujah.'"

Idol's Lee DeWyze and The Voice's Matthew Schuler took "Hallelujah" to Nos. 44 and 40 on the Hot 100 in 2010 and 2013, respectively. In December 2015, Jordan Smith of The Voice sent his version to No. 61, while Lindsey Stirling's mostly instrumental cover reached No. 81 this past January.

Just last week, Pentatonix's a cappella cover brought "Hallelujah" to the Hot 100's top 40 for a third time, following the Timberlake/Morris/Sexton and Schuler versions, debuting at No. 32. At the time of Cohen's death, the song was a Hot 100 hit, ranking at No. 77 on the current, Nov. 19-dated chart.

Looking ahead, Cohen's album catalog and his and other versions of "Hallelujah" are likely to reach new chart levels (likely on lists dated Dec. 3, as those tallies will reflect the Nielsen Music sales and streaming tracking period of Nov. 11-17).

Already, as of this posting, Pentatonix's version has risen to No. 2 on the real-time Billboard + Twitter Trending 140 chart.
Last edited by Roy on Sat Nov 12, 2016 5:26 am, edited 1 time in total.
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Re: Billboard News on Leonard Cohen

Postby Roy » Sat Nov 12, 2016 5:13 am

Leonard Cohen's 'First We Take Manhattan' & 'Everybody Knows' Make for Damn Good Post-Election Listening

11/11/2016 by Andrew Unterberger

http://www.billboard.com/articles/colum ... s-election

Image

Andrew Stawicki/Toronto Star via Getty Images
Leonard Cohen photographed in the 1980s.

Two of the late singer-songwriter's 1988 classics feel particularly chilling this week.

Most of best songs by Leonard Cohen -- the legendary singer/songwriter who died at the age of 82 this week -- felt like wry reflections of humanity's darkness, mixing the political with the personal, lyrical but practical. It shouldn't be particularly surprising, then, that much of his music should feel an appropriate soundtrack to the ugliness of our current post-election national identity crisis -- his stark morbidity and wicked sense of humor, without needless sensationalism (because, so often, the truth doesn't need it) feel just about right for November 2016. Right up to his most recent effort, October's You Want It Darker, Cohen's songs gently stabbed with grinning, self-aware horror: "I struggled with some demons/ They were middle-class and tame/ I didn't know I had permission to murder and to maim."

Two of his best-remembered songs -- both from his career-reinventing (and career-reviving) classic 1988 LP I'm Your Man -- feel particularly resonant this week. The storming synth-pop of "First We Take Manhattan" was the album's opener, and an absolute juggernaut of political resolve. Today, many of its deadpanned pronouncements could easily be spun to come from the perspective of either Hillary Clinton ("They sentenced me to twenty years of boredom/ For trying to change the system from within") or Donald Trump ("Ah, you loved me as a loser, but now you're worried that I just might win/ You know the way to stop me, but you don't have the discipline") with alarming specificity.

The imperial march of the song's refrain ("First we take Manhattan/ Then we take Berlin") is the song's definitive takeaway, delivered with monotone, even-metered determination. As chilling as the sentiments are, whether in the midst of cold-war paranoia or at the height of American nationalistic arrogance, what's particularly uncanny about the chorus is the way it's hammered home at the end of every verse, a subtle (though blunt) take on the brain-deadening effects of party sloganeering. Like all great political catchphrases, the "Manhattan" chorus is repeated so many times it becomes dull and oppressive, until you start wondering if it actually means something entirely different than what you originally believed. And like all great political catchphrases, the "Manhattan" chorus ultimately loses meaning altogether.

But what remains most potent about Cohen's "Manhattan" is the gleaming unstoppability of its production. Cohen has explained it as a "terrorist song," controversially opining: "There's something about terrorism that I've always admired. The fact that there are no alibis or no compromises." That threatening self-belief comes through in the lyrics, but it echoes much louder through the music, which is probably why longtime collaborator Jennifer Warnes' bluesier version of the song (which was actually released before Cohen's own) feels limp by comparison. A towering, slithering composition of synthetic bombast -- bass, horns, strings, drums, all artificial -- the instrumental sounds alluring, soulless, and forcefully irresistible. With every measure, the song feels like it's advancing, with Cohen the fleet's cackling commander. With much of the country currently fearing for the safety of their way of life, it's an appropriately terrifying listen.

"Everybody Knows," found two tracks later on I'm Your Man, is less frightening, but possibly even more pertinent. No longer the general on the warpath, Cohen is now more the defeated soldier: "Everybody knows the war is over/ Everybody knows the good guys lost." But more than lamenting the end result of the battle, Cohen bemoans the fact that the fight was never a particularly fair or honest one anyway: "Everybody knows the fight was fixed/ The poor stay poor, the rich get rich," "Everybody knows that the boat is leaking/ Everybody knows that the captain lied." He even touches on the racial inequity of the underlying causes ("Everybody knows the deal is rotten/ Old Black Joe's still picking' cotton/ For your ribbons and bows") and forebodes that the worst is still to come ("And everybody knows that the Plague is coming/ Everybody knows that it's moving fast").

Even with all these eerily timely portents, Cohen again saves his song's richest commentary for its refrain. The phrase "everybody knows" is repeated dozens and dozens of times throughout the song, prefacing nearly every notable point and following many others, echoing its titular sentiment until, as with "Manhattan," it becomes thoroughly unconvincing. And that's about right, too: If there was one true lesson to be learned from this election season, it's that what Everybody Knows is rarely ever "known" by more than half the populace, and that both sides are too often blinded by their assuredness of an obviously shared perspective when, in reality, everyone sees their own side of the truth. Cohen seems to understand this, exaggerating every syllable of his chorus until it sounds like he's laughing at his own ridiculousness. He should be.

In a world where reality often feels like it's being narrated by the "IN A WORLD..." guy, "First We Take Manhattan" and "Everybody Knows" just about the best we could ask for to try to make sense of it all: Languishing without despairing, reflecting without judging, allowing the invariable conclusions to demonstrate their own bleakness and somehow keeping a sense of humor about it all. And even though Leonard Cohen has now passed, the continuing timeliness of these songs ensure that his presence will endure whenever we need them to turn to. Everybody knows that's what the best songwriting is for, anyway.
Last edited by Roy on Sat Nov 12, 2016 5:27 am, edited 1 time in total.
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Re: Billboard News on Leonard Cohen

Postby Roy » Sat Nov 12, 2016 5:18 am

Leonard Cohen Died on Monday, Sony Confirms

11/11/2016 by Andrew Unterberger

http://www.billboard.com/articles/colum ... -confirmed

Image

Gijsbert Hanekroot/Redferns
Leonard Cohen posed in Amsterdam, Holland in April 1972.

This week, the music world lost a towering figure when legendary singer/songwriter Leonard Cohen passed away at age 82. Billboard has learned that although news of his death was not widely circulated until Thursday night (Nov. 10), Cohen in fact died on Monday (Nov. 7). A spokesperson for Sony Music has confirmed the date of passing. No reason was given for the delay in announcement of the news.

Cohen’s son and producer Adam Cohen wrote on Facebook that his 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 [You Want It Darker]. He was writing up until his last moments with his unique brand of humor.” Read our full obituary for the Rock and Roll Hall of Famer here.

Cohen's congregation, Shaar Hashomayim, released the following statement: "'Magnified, sanctified be Thy holy name.' These are the words of Kaddish, the Jewish prayer of memory, that were recited at Eliezer/Leonard Cohen’s graveside on Thursday, November 10. Leonard's wish was to be laid to rest in a traditional Jewish rite beside his parents, grandparents, and great-grandparents. Leonard was a beloved and revered member of Shaar Hashomayim and he maintained a lifelong spiritual, musical, and familial connection to the synagogue of his youth. Our thoughts and prayers are with his family. May his memory be a blessing to all."

Earlier this year, his muse Marianne Ihlen -- who inspired "So Long, Marianne" -- died of leukemia. Prior to her passing, Cohen wrote her a letter that anticipated his own death: "Well Marianne it's come to this time when we are really so old and our bodies are falling apart and I think I will follow you very soon. Know that I am so close behind you that if you stretch out your hand, I think you can reach mine."

Cohen's multi-generational mark is even echoed via name-checks in songs by Nirvana ("Pennyroyal Tea"), Better Than Ezra ("Under You") and Mercury Rev ("A Drop In Time").

Inducting him into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame in 2008, Lou Reed said Cohen was among the "highest and most influential echelon of songwriters." The The's Matt Johnson said that, "When I listen to his songs, it's a simple, stripped-down naked soul." Collins, meanwhile, added that Cohen's songs "are just so deep and full of the human experience, and yet so open to interpretation, which is what a singer craves." And frequent Cohen backup singer Sharon Robinson, who recorded many of his songs and co-wrote her 2001 album Ten New Songs with him, explained that, "The beauty in Leonard's songs is that he expresses really universal feelings. A hundred singers could sing the same (Cohen) song and they'd all be different."

A native of Quebec, Cohen was born to a middle class family with deep Judaic roots. His maternal grandfather was a Talmudic scholar, while his paternal grandfather founded the Canadian Jewish Congress. His father Nathan Cohen, a clothing retailer, died when Cohen was nine years old. Cohen began studying music can poetry as a youngster, taking up clarinet but turning his attention primarily to writing as he grew older and attended McGill University. He published his first book of poetry, Let Us Compare Mythologies, and his first novel, Beautiful Losers, in 1966.

It was Collins' success with "Suzanne" that led to his recording career. Columbia signed him and released The Songs of Leonard Cohen, the first of 13 studio albums, in 1967. His singles did not chart in the U.S. -- his sonorous, semi-spoken vocals were not the stuff of the pop mainstream -- but the masses began catching on with 2012's "Old Ideas," which peaked at No. 3 on the Billboard 200, and 2014's "Popular Problems," which debuted at No. 15. That didn't keep the material from becoming celebrated and analyzed, however, whether it was "Chelsea Hotel," a dry observation about a brief afternoon fling with Janis Joplin, relationship paeans such as "So Long, Marianne" and "Dance Me to the End of Love" or the starkly political tracts like "First We Take Manhattan" and "Democracy."

"I've never chosen a style that was deliberately obscure," Cohen once told Entertainment Weekly. "I never came up with the idea of writing a song that would mystify anybody or prevent anyone from tapping their foot to it." And mining the dark side of the psyche was a stock in trade he came by naturally. "I always experience myself as falling apart," Cohen explained to Rolling Stone. "The place where the evaluation happens is where I write the songs, when I get in that place where I can't be dishonest about what I've been doing."

Cohen became a practicing Buddhist during the mid-70s and spent time between 1994-99 secluded at a monastery in Mount Baldy, Calif., as a personal assistant to his teacher Kyozan Joshu Sasaki -- an experience that produced his 2006 poetry collection "Book of Longing," which inspired a song cycle by Philip Glass. HIs romantic relationships included Marianne C. Stang (the subject of "So Long, Marianne"), artist Suzanne Elrod -- with whom he had son Adam and daughter Lorca but never married -- French photographer Dominque Issermann and actress Rebecca De Mornay.

After his monastery years Cohen jump-started his musical career with Ten New Songs. After discovering his close friend and longtime manager Kelley Lynch had bilked him out of his life savings and music publishing, leading to a rash of lawsuits, Cohen began touring in earnest again in 2008, delivering generous, acclaimed shows chronicled on a series of concert albums and live videos.

"Maybe he went back on the road for financial reasons, but he really started to love it," said longtime bassist and musical director Roscoe Beck. "He knows there's an audience out there who wants to see it, and he enjoys the lifestyle. He likes hotel rooms. He likes the camaraderie of the band and crew. He just felt comfortable being on stage, and you could see it in his performances. It was an amazing thing to be part of and to witness."

During his career Cohen won four Juno Awards and one Grammy and was also given a Grammy Lifetime Achievement Award in 2010. In addition to the Rock Hall Cohen was also part of the Songwriters Hall of Fame, the Canadian Music Hall of Fame and the Canadian Songwriters Hall of Fame and received a Princess of Asturias Award among other literary prizes and honorary university degrees. He was named a Companion of the Order of Canada, the country's highest civilian award, in 2011.

Clive Davis Remembers Leonard Cohen

11/11/2016 by Billboard Staff

http://www.billboard.com/articles/news/ ... nard-cohen

Image

Gijsbert Hanekroot/Redferns
Leonard Cohen photographed in April 1972 in Amsterdam, Netherlands.

Clive Davis has paid homage to the late, great Leonard Cohen as a “one-of-a-kind” artist who had wizardy with words.

Davis and Cohen’s shared history dates back to the mid-‘60s. John Hammond, who signed the likes of Bob Dylan, Bruce Springsteen and a teenage Aretha Franklin, enticed Cohen to sign with Columbia, which was presided-over at the time by Davis.

Davis shared his thoughts on Cohen's passing with Billboard. "Leonard Cohen was truly a master songwriter. No one sounded like him either vocally or lyrically. He penetrated your soul with his haunting voice and his piercing words. Leonard was absolutely one-of-a-kind, a poet and an artist who put you under his spell time and time again. "Suzanne", "So Long, Marianne", "That's No Way to Say Goodbye"," Hallelujah", "Bird on a Wire". Each is unforgettable and each will live on forever as will Leonard Cohen, the Canadian poet laureate."

Cohen, who was inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame, has died at the age of 82. His passing was announced to his fans in a message posted Thursday (Nov. 10) on Facebook.
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Re: Billboard News on Leonard Cohen

Postby Roy » Sun Nov 13, 2016 4:09 am

Leonard Cohen: An Appreciation of the Poet Laureate, Tragicomedian & Your Man

http://www.billboard.com/articles/news/ ... preciation

11/11/2016 by Chris Willman

Leonard Cohen was always lauded for his severe emphases on death, doomed romance, and spirituality... but less so for the acerbic wit that added a subtle levity to everything we weren't always certain we wanted darker.

The last time I saw Leonard Cohen, at a small gathering for press and dignitaries at the Canadian Consulate in Los Angeles just a little less than a month before his death, I kept sneaking my camera out, because I wanted to capture his grin. He was appearing in public one last time, to answer a few pre-selected questions from a handful of members of the foreign press, and his mood was light, or light-ish, at least, given the fact that he had just made headlines for telling the editor of The New Yorker, possibly seriously or possibly offhandedly, that he was “ready to die.” And here he was, looking feeble as he entered and exited the room with a cane, but hearty in his warm laugh, which came easily in the presence of his collaborator son, Adam. At times, he seemed -- to use a word one hesitates to broach when the subject is Leonard Cohen -- tickled.

He told jokes. Addressing the elephant in the room right off the bat, he said he was “exaggerating” about being ready to die and was a victim of his own “self-dramatization.” After his son waxed eloquent about the intimacy of producing Cohen’s new album and how “just being in my father’s company was one of the things I cherished the most,” Cohen responded by quipping, “We’re actually not that friendly,” before reverting to earnest form. When the question was raised of why Cohen is seen with a cigarette on the album cover when he had supposedly quit smoking, the singer’s reply was simply: “Some guys you just can’t trust.” Even when he more frequently addressed queries in dead earnest, there could be a dry wit underlying the response. Talking about his slow, “dribbles-and-drops” working method, he made sure to make mention of “the fact that my songs take a long time to write is no guarantee of their excellence."

Hoping the same as everyone else for a reprieve from whatever afflicted him (he alluded that October night only to “this recent bad patch”), I took heart in Cohen’s seeming good spirits and better humor, not just as reassurance about his plans to “stick around until [he was] 120,” as he promised in his parting remark, but as a small vindication of my belief that Leonard Cohen was one of the funniest men in show business.

That’s probably never been a big trope, when it comes to Cohen. His perceived grimness especially preceded him in the '70s and '80s, when some critics were inclined to describe his music as wrist-slashing soundtrack material. As a callow youth, I followed that line of thinking whole-heartedly, and I would sometimes shudder to remember interviewing him in the mid-1980s and asking how he felt about his popular reputation as a grim reaper. (A question he received graciously, of course, from a kid half his age.) I wouldn’t have imagined then that a decade later I’d be trying to convince skeptical friends that, with the acerbic wit that crept into his songs again and again, he was in a tie with Bob Dylan as rock’s greatest and most underrated comedian.

But that’s just one of the roles he fulfilled for us, or some of us. Cohen was certainly popular music’s premiere Gentleman Caller over the last few years, his ever-present suit and nearly as omnipresent hat combining with his courtly and careful manner to offer a formal dignity you were hard-pressed to find anywhere else in the rock era. He was modern pop’s Poet Laureate -- that one doesn’t require a whole lot of explanation. (Cohen was a minimalist laureate too; compare one of his lyric sheets with one of Dylan’s to see just how such polar opposites in terms of verbal quantity can arrive at the same finish line for quality.) In his less cynical moments, or his most cynical, for that matter, he could reveal himself as a true romantic… or, as he famously put it, Your Man. It rarely escaped fans that, with or without his steady stream of Old and New Testament allusions, he was the most spiritually minded lyricist ever to claim no religion whatsoever. (“Occasionally I’ve felt the grace of another presence in my life,” he said at that final consulate gathering. And, “I try to make those references. I try to make sure they’re not too obscure. But outside of that, I can’t -- I dare not -- claim anything in the spiritual realm for my own.”)

And, on top of all these roles, yes, Cohen was an expert Heralder of Death too. Which ultimately goes hand-in-hand with his court jester function, albeit a jester who spends a lot of his time providing commentary at executions. A kind of gallows humor runs rampant through his catalog and, for my money, really came to the fore with his best album, I’m Your Man, in 1988, followed four years later by the nearly as good The Future. The assault mentality of “First We Take Manhattan” was a hilarious conceit -- the chilling references to Jewish identity around the Holocaust notwithstanding. He never wrote a funnier or more bitter song than “Everybody Knows,” which moves effortlessly between a universal feeling that “the fight is fixed” and the narrator’s own relational futility (“Everybody knows that you've been faithful/ Give or take a night or two/ Everybody knows you've been discreet/ But there were so many people you just had to meet/ Without your clothes/ And everybody knows”). But there’s no single most amusing line in his canon than this election-time refrain from 1992: “Democracy is coming to the USA.” Admit it, you were humming it this fall.

Even “Hallelujah” is undervalued for its wit, among other qualities missed by nearly everyone singing it. The central rhyme scheme itself is a thing of great levity: Is there any greater insult a singer/songwriter could lob than “You don’t really care for music, do ya?”

That’s why, when news radio suddenly brings up “Suzanne” to announce Cohen’s death, I’m reminded of how unlistenable I find his earliest material, heretical a statement as that might be for a fan to make. As great a poet as he already was, his command of the acerbic humor that came to leaven the gravity of his best songs was still years away. And, sounding very nearly like a conventional folk vocalist, he hadn’t yet grown into his true voice, which would turn out to be about a dozen octaves deeper and more individual. His late-life voice veered into speak-sing, in a most effective way, making the gravity even graver, but also allowing for a deadpan quality that ultimately seemed both wry and warm.

With all that said, even someone who tends to be on the constant lookout for the coded humor in Cohen’s work will not find a huge amount of laughs in his final album, You Want It Dark. Well, other than in the title itself, maybe, which might be a reference to that old suicide-enabler image of decades past, and how willing he might be to one-up it at the end. The line on the album is that it was not written to be a parting statement… which is the kind of thing that gets said when someone has written a parting statement. (See, possibly, David Bowie and Blackstar.) It may feel like a mistake to assign the album an unusual degree of morbidity when any of his latter-day albums could be said to take an interest in the end of all things. But here, you know, just enough more so, whether intended as self-benediction or possible penultimate chapter.

“If you are the dealer, I’m out of the game,” he announces, possibly to God, in the opening lines. A few songs later, he makes the unusual move of very nearly repeating himself: “I’m leaving the table/ I’m out of the game.” “If I Didn’t Have Your Love” sticks out as a straight-up love song, but Cohen seems more interested in the theoretical apocalypse he keeps describing than the love he swears will stave it off. He describes loosing the shackles of attachments not just to material things but also to his fellow mortals in “Traveling Light.” “On the Level” and “Leaving the Table” describe the true “Death of a Ladies’ Man,” as sexuality is one of the last things to go: “The wretched beast is tame… Little by little, we’re cutting the cord.”

It’s by no means a deeply depressing album, because Cohen’s Zen acceptance of the inevitable confers a certain peace about going with the cord-cutting flow. But You Want It Dark makes it sound so much like he’d prepared for the end by severing bonds that it was reassuring to see him reaffirming a love of family in that final public appearance at the consulate. Why he agreed to come out in public and chat for a bit less than a month before the end is a mystery. Maybe someone on his business side decided it was a bad idea to release a record while making the world think you’re on your deathbed, even if you kind of are. Maybe he had a fleeting recovering where he really did feel like he had another album or two in him, as he said he did in that conversation -- always with the addendum “God willing” (or “but one never knows”). Maybe he thought he’d gotten a little too Zen about it all and decided raging just a little against the dying of the light is OK. But it was heartening to be in that room, see his broad smile, and hear him say things like, “If you’re lucky, things deepen between members of a family. If you’re not lucky, they don’t. If you’re unlucky, they deteriorate. I’ve been lucky. I have close relationships with my few friends and my family members and my grandkids. So, so far, so good. I hope it continues to deepen. I have every faith that it will.”

Now, we, his extended wannabe family, are traveling lighter… too light. At last, Cohen has been released from his mythical Tower of Song, despite our best intentions to keep him chained there forever.

Rufus Wainwright Remembers Leonard Cohen: 'We Need You Now Up There as Much as We Did Down Here'

11/11/2016 by Nerisha Penrose

http://www.billboard.com/articles/colum ... nard-cohen

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Ian West/PA Wire
Rufus Wainwright performs in London.

Wainwright covered "Hallelujah" & has a child with Cohen's daughter.

The news that prolific singer/songwriter Leonard Cohen died at age 82 on Monday shattered the music world, but his fellow artists are taking solace in the extraordinary catalog the Canadian legend leaves behind. His most famous song, "Hallelujah," will especially live on, given its many cover versions over the years, including one from Rufus Wainwright.

"Like for most of us, for me he dwelled in a higher strata inhabited by some living but mostly passed icons who seemed to have this direct line to the galaxy, whilst at the same time knowing exactly when to take out the trash," Wainwright lamented in a statement about Cohen's death. "Formidable in both the sacred and the mundane."

Wainwright's rendition of "Hallelujah" was featured on the soundtrack of 2001's Shrek. The singer also has familial ties to the Cohen family: Leonard's daughter Lorca and Rufus are co-parents to their daughter Viva Katherine Wainwright Cohen, who is raised by Lorca along with Rufus and his spouse Jorn Weisbrodt.

"I would have liked to have had more time to ask him more questions, and certainly now in this pathetic dinghy, adrift in a violent sea, we all need help in maneuvering a truly busted rudder through a series of magnificent typhoons. But it's ok, it's all in the music," Wainwright continued. "Farewell Leonard, we need you now up there as much as we did down here. Love always, Rufus."
LEONARD COHEN | HALLS OF FAME
The Official Halls of Fame Biographies of Leonard Cohen
http://www.leonardcohenhallsoffame.blogspot.com
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Re: Billboard News on Leonard Cohen

Postby Roy » Mon Nov 14, 2016 3:03 am

Watch Kate McKinnon's Hillary Clinton Perform Leonard Cohen's 'Hallelujah' on 'SNL'

1/13/2016 by Jennifer Konerman

http://www.billboard.com/articles/news/ ... night-live

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Kate McKinnon sings "Hallelujah" on Saturday Night Live on Nov. 12, 2016.

Saturday Night Live addressed Donald Trump's new role as president-elect in its own way in the show's first episode since election night.

In honor of Leonard Cohen, who passed away earlier this week, Kate McKinnon kicked off the episode in character as Hillary Clinton at the piano, singing one of Cohen's most famous tunes, "Hallelujah."

As a poet, songwriter and singer, Cohen had great influence over the music world, with evocative material that was frequently recorded by others. In some cases they even became hits, like "Hallelujah" for the late Jeff Buckley.

She concluded her somber performance of the emotional hit with the message: "I'm not giving up and neither should you."

Dave Chappelle made his hosting debut on the Nov. 12 episode with A Tribe Called Quest as the musical guest.

This article originally appeared in THR.com.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=-I7aNlUcoiM

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=gCTeL1OtRKA
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The Official Halls of Fame Biographies of Leonard Cohen
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Re: Billboard News on Leonard Cohen

Postby Roy » Tue Nov 15, 2016 11:54 am

Leonard Cohen Buried in Montreal 'Exactly as He'd Asked,' Son Writes in Heartfelt Note

http://www.billboard.com/articles/news/ ... son-writes

11/13/2016 by Mitchell Peters

Legendary musician Leonard Cohen was buried in “an unadorned pine box” next to his parents in a Montreal cemetery on Thursday (Nov. 10), his son Adam wrote in a recent Facebook post.

“My sister and I just buried my father in Montreal. With only immediate family and a few lifelong friends present, he was lowered into the ground in an unadorned pine box, next to his mother and father. Exactly as he’d asked,” producer Adam Cohen wrote Saturday evening.

Cohen, who died Monday in Los Angeles, was laid to rest in the Shaar Hashomayim Cemetery, which resides in the Montreal’s Westmount neighbourhood, according to the Toronto Star. His gravestone is reportedly unmarked.

“Leonard’s wish was to be laid to rest in a traditional Jewish rite beside his parents, grandparents and great-grandparents,” read a statement from Rabbi Adam Scheier and Cantor Gideon Zelermyer, according to the Star.

Read Adam Cohen’s full Facebook post below.

My sister and I just buried my father in Montreal. With only immediate family and a few lifelong friends present, he was lowered into the ground in an unadorned pine box, next to his mother and father. Exactly as he’d asked. As I write this I’m thinking of my father’s unique blend of self-deprecation and dignity, his approachable elegance, his charisma without audacity, his old-world gentlemanliness and the hand-forged tower of his work. There’s so much I wish I could thank him for, just one last time. I’d thank him for the comfort he always provided, for the wisdom he dispensed, for the marathon conversations, for his dazzling wit and humor. I’d thank him for giving me, and teaching me to love Montreal and Greece. And I’d thank him for music; first for his music which seduced me as a boy, then for his encouragement of my own music, and finally for the privilege of being able to make music with him. Thank you for your kind messages, for the outpouring of sympathy and for your love of my father.

Leonard Cohen's Bohemian College Years, Lit Major and First Concert Above a Montreal Deli in 1953

http://www.billboard.com/articles/news/ ... emembrance

11/14/2016 by The Hollywood Reporter

Arlene Abramovitch, mother of THR senior writer Seth Abramovitch, was a freshman at McGill University when she met a charismatic young poet on campus: "Before beatniks, hippies and hipsters, we fancied ourselves bohemians."

I shared a lot with Leonard Cohen.

We were born a few days apart in 1934. Our fathers were part of the thriving men's clothing manufacturing scene in Montreal. (His signature look harkens back to our fathers’ usual garb, a well-tailored suit).

My close friend was his girlfriend — although that distinction went to many women thereafter. We were both raised in a community of English-speaking Jews, confident in our place long before the rise of nationalism amongst the French majority.

We crossed paths at McGill University, starting as freshmen at the same time, and both majoring in literature. Leonard streamed into poetry, making a name for himself on campus. His hero was the Spanish poet Frederico Garcia Lorca.

Before beatniks, hippies and hipsters, we fancied ourselves bohemians and hung out in coffee houses on Stanley Street like PamPams — which was actually a Hungarian restaurant. I went there a lot and so did he.

One night, around 1953, our mutual friend invited me to hear Leonard perform upstairs from Dunn’s Delicatessen (a smoked meat joint). I expected him to recite his poems, but, seated on a stool, he soulfully sang them while strumming a guitar. It was magical.

Leonard came to perform at Place des Arts, Montreal’s symphonic hall, a few years ago. I was lucky to get one of the last tickets. He gave of himself completely for three hours, and the diverse audience was rapturous.

His first well-known song was "Suzanne," written about a friend of his who lived on the St. Lawrence River waterfront with her daughter. He'd visit her at home, this little place with crooked floors and a poetic view of the river, and bring her tea and mandarin oranges.

I have so many favorite songs. "Dance Me to the End of Love." "Closing Time." "Famous Blue Raincoat."

Montreal is waiting for his final return home where he will be buried alongside his family.

Arlene Abramovitch is an 82-year-old mother of three and grandmother of four. She worked as a psychiatric social worker for 45 years. She lives in Montreal.

This article was originally published by The Hollywood Reporter.
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Re: Billboard News on Leonard Cohen

Postby Roy » Thu Nov 17, 2016 4:08 am

Damien Rice Covers Leonard Cohen's 'Hallelujah' at 2008 Rock and Roll Hall of Fame Ceremony: Exclusive Video

http://www.billboard.com/articles/colum ... 2008-video

Rice's version will appear on "The Rock and Roll Hall of Fame Live: Vol. 3" vinyl, out Friday.

The Rock and Roll Hall of Fame induction ceremony celebrates music's most iconic figures and their contributions to the music industry. In celebration of the ceremony's most memorable performances, TimeLife is releasing a special-edition vinyl The Rock and Roll Hall of Fame Live: Vol. 3 featuring Damien Rice's 2008 cover of "Hallelujah" -- an especially well-timed tribute given the tragic death of Leonard Cohen last week at age 82.

In the exclusive video below, Rice performed his rendition of Cohen's biggest hit during the 2008 Rock and Roll Hall of Fame induction ceremony. Other artists on the vinyl include Stevie Wonder, Eric Clapton, Ray Charles, Keith Richards and many more.

The Rock and Roll Hall of Fame Live: Vol. 3 is available for pre-sale here and available for purchase everywhere on Friday.

Watch Damien Rice's 2008 live performance of "Hallelujah" below:
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Re: Billboard News on Leonard Cohen

Postby Roy » Fri Nov 18, 2016 5:35 am

Remembering Leonard Cohen: Close Friends, Collaborators & Critics on How He Changed Music Forever
by Sasha Frere-Jones November 17, 2016, 8:57am EST


http://www.billboard.com/articles/news/ ... ber-legend

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A critical appreciation of Leonard Cohen's secular Zen, by Sasha Frere-Jones:

Leonard Cohen spent his entire ­professional life impressing everyone but himself. He was a Canadian poet who ended up writing a ­standard of the American songbook that his own record company refused at first, only to see it go on to become a staple of singing competitions. That skeptical but ecstatic song, “Hallelujah,” was ­performed by Kate McKinnon on Saturday Night Live on Nov. 12, as tribute to both Cohen, who died in his sleep after a fall on Nov. 7 at age 82, and Hillary Clinton’s campaign, which died the day after.

Cohen was 33 when his first album, Songs of Leonard Cohen, came out. Though he never ­mentions Montreal by name in his songs, he was raised there. His father found success in the ­clothing trade but died when Cohen was only 9. (In an early attempt at a secular ritual, Cohen buried a piece of his father’s bow tie in the backyard after the funeral.) By 1967, Cohen had drifted to Greece, back to Canada and down to New York. He had published four books of poetry and two novels, and had been the subject of a documentary produced by the National Film Board of Canada. Cohen was encouraged to professionally pursue songwriting by Judy Collins, although he doubted his talents. Columbia Records took a chance on him.

He approached his second career, and much of what he did, as if he were operating illegally, one mark short of a degree. When his first album was released, he was interviewed in The Village Voice. “References to breakdowns past and future dot his conversation,” the interviewer wrote. Almost 30 years later, having convinced most of his peers that he was fairly good at what he did, he spoke about his relationship with Roshi, the Buddhist monk who had taught Cohen for decades: “I think he has given up on my education. I’m 60, and I haven’t made any progress."

If his self-deprecation was shtick, something Cohen mastered early, his humility was not. In October 2011, accepting the Prince of Asturias award in Spain, Cohen revealed a different ­version of himself. “It was only when -- when I read, even in translation, the works of [20th century poet Federico García] Lorca that I understood that there was a voice. It is not that I copied his voice; I would not dare. But he gave me permission to find a voice, to locate a voice; that is, to locate a self, a self that is not fixed, a self that struggles for its own existence.” (Cohen’s daughter is named Lorca.)

There are very few songwriters in the North American pop continuum who are so important and simultaneously committed to this struggle, to pin down why exactly we are afforded an existence at all. This tendency to defer and diminish the self allowed all sorts of odd stereotypes about Cohen to flourish -- that his songs were too sad; that he was more of a poet than a songwriter; that he was just in it for the chicks. (In typical Cohen fashion, he confirmed this perception by killing it in 1977 with an album titled Death of a Ladies’ Man.)

A songwriter whom Cohen first followed and then pulled alongside, Bob Dylan, recently weighed in on Cohen’s legacy. “He is a much more savvy ­musician than you’d think,” he told The New Yorker this summer.

Cohen’s work as a songwriter followed the same ­painstaking methods of his poetry; he constantly rewrote and generated multiple drafts. The result put him at a distance from Dylan, his twin tower. Where the American generated tension with spirals of words that had no end and no single meaning, the Canadian worked toward brevity and easily ­understood couplets.

“There Is a War,” from 1974, begins with a ­quatrain that lays out the terms of the situation:

There is a war between the rich and poor,
a war between the man and the woman.
There is a war between the ones who say there is a war
and the ones who say there isn’t.

And then, for the chorus, Cohen boils down the message to an imperative:

Why don’t you come on back to the war?
That’s right -- get in it.
Why don’t you come on back to the war?
It’s just beginning.

Cohen’s humility did not dampen the songs, which were happy to engage anger, lust, despair and resistance. And Cohen had to become his own resistance in 2005, when he discovered his ­manager had emptied his bank accounts while he had been shoveling snow with Roshi in a monastery. So he staged what might be the most unexpected ­comeback in pop history, touring the world, releasing two live and three studio albums, his latest and last, You Want It Darker, marking Cohen’s 82nd year on earth. On the live albums, both excellent, songs that had been sealed behind goofy production ideas dropped into place, along with Cohen’s voice. In the 1980s, his baritone was dragging the streets. By 2008, it was the asphalt, and yet the songs bloomed. No matter how deft his melodies, they were not as spectacular as Joni Mitchell’s or Stevie Wonder’s. Cohen’s words are his high Cs. He wrote in his high school yearbook that he wanted to be a “world-famous orator,” and this is exactly what he became. At their best, Cohen’s songs were as close as secular music can get to the beyond. As many times as they are quoted (too many), what writer doesn’t wish he had written four lines this good:

Ring the bells that still can ring
Forget your perfect offering
There is a crack in everything
That’s how the light gets in.

In his last major interview this summer, with The New Yorker’s David Remnick, Cohen talked about a gig he played in 1972, in Israel. Disabled by stage fright, Cohen abandoned a show in the middle of a song and went backstage. For unknown reasons, he decided to drop acid. When he heard the crowd singing to him, he returned to play “So Long, Marianne,” which led to him, and the whole band, crying. Unlike the band, Cohen was beginning to hallucinate, and he saw an apparition: “The entire audience turned into one Jew. And this Jew was ­saying, ‘What else can you show me, kid? I’ve seen a lot of things, and this don’t move the dial.’"

Those may be as close to last words as we’ll get. And it’s OK if Cohen never shook the judgment of his apparitions. For many of us, he was the dial.



Leonard Cohen died on Nov. 7 at age 82. Below, close friends and collaborators share memories of his rare genius.

Singer JUDY COLLINS remembers the shy young poet who came to her door and delivered a hit. As told to Rebecca Milzoff.

A friend of mine who went to school with Leonard knew him as this very obscure poet, little known outside of Montreal, but she adored him and she’d bring him up from time to time. One day she called me and said, “Leonard has written some songs and he wants to come to New York and sing them to you.” By that point, I had made a successful career singing songs that made the people who wrote them more famous. When he came, I was living on 79th Street, and we socialized for a bit and went out to Tony’s Italian restaurant for dinner, spending the rest of the evening just eating and drinking and talking -- no songs yet. When he was leaving, I said, “You know, Leonard, you didn’t play me your songs!” A singer-songwriter will usually walk in, push you aside, sing their song and then leave! He said, “Why don’t I come back tomorrow?” He came back the next day and he said, “I can’t sing, and I can’t play the guitar, and I don’t know if this is a song.” And then he sang “Suzanne,” and I flipped out. I said, “Leonard, that is definitely a song.”

He was terrified of going onstage and singing, and I pushed him on the stage for the first time at this big concert at Town Hall [in New York]. I grew up singing everywhere all the time, but he didn’t have that experience, and frankly, reading poetry doesn’t hold a candle to singing; it’s another world. Everyone was excited to hear him: They knew “Suzanne” and wanted to hear the writer. But about halfway through, he went offstage and put his arm around me. I told him, “It’s OK, I’ll go out there with you. But you must finish this song.” He needed to know it was safe out there. And after that he was hooked.

I trusted him with my life. Leonard’s authenticity and his loyalty -- there was a feeling we were part of the same karmic fabric. He was an absolute gentleman from head to toe, and of course very handsome and charming -- though I never had an affair with him. Much too dangerous! I remember once I was at a hotel in Newport [R.I.] with another guy, having some sort of... physical arrangement. And Leonard was just there in the same room. He was this completely transparent person: It didn’t matter if you were having sex with someone; if he was sitting there, it was OK. In fact, it felt even safer! I fell in love with him as a confidante, but it was the songs to which I really gave my heart. As Leonard said, the laughter, the joys, the tragedies, we have to live with them all. We have work to do, and he was always at work.



Visual artist-actor STEPHEN LACK remembers Montreal nights with his brilliant older cousin. As told to Rebecca Milzoff.

When I started to manifest artistic leanings in that upper-middle-class Montreal environment, the family kept saying, “If you’re going to be such an artist, you have to go downtown and meet your cousin Leonard.” We’re 12 years apart, and I didn’t meet him until I was about 20. We were actually both members of the same fraternity, but I quit it and he was the president back in the day. Right at the beginning of my downtown existence, there were Leonard sightings in the distance. At first I just didn’t feel comfortable imposing myself on him. Then one day, I was at this place Le Fuzz on Crescent Street -- the first upscale hipster restaurant I had ever been in. I remember the hamburger: It was thick, and $3.50! This was a huge commitment for a meal. All the downtown folks who were somewhere in between intelligentsia and outlaws went there -- Leonard, writer Mordecai Richler, the film producer Derek Lamb. The day I met Leonard, I was sitting there right next to him as he was being interviewed. I leaned over and gave him a handshake and said, “I’m your cousin Stephen.” And he looked over and said, “Oh, yes,” meaning he had heard of me. That was it.

We used to have a lot of parties, and Leonard would appear like a shadow, trolling. And then we’d all hang out at the Main deli. Leonard didn’t like [the famed Montreal deli] Schwartz’s -- he said, “Oh, no, I eat at the Main,” across the street. You’d go to the Main if you were hungry and at a certain stage of your intoxicants having kicked in. It had my favorite class of people: low-life criminals. People who were hired by political parties to intimidate voters, taxi drivers who had a baseball bat in an attache case. Leonard loved mutants; he loved extremes. I think that’s what makes his work so great; if he saw a dwarf, he became the dwarf -- he knew there was a dwarf living inside him. If he saw a dictator, he knew he could be in a bad mood and with the stroke of a pen kill a million people. He was aware of the frailties of all of us at our worst. It was the celebration of that, rather than the denial or repression, that makes his work so long-lasting. And Montreal gives you those people. It’s a very unique place; there’s a church on every street corner, and right next door a tavern. Hence, you’ve got Leonard making a lot of Catholic references in his work. It was that bit of outlawness; you’ve got an authority above you, but it doesn’t interface with you completely, so stray strands start to exist independent of that authority. Leonard’s tone was Montreal.

Producer PATRICK LEONARD, who worked on Cohen’s final albums, recalls the singer’s tireless work ethic in the face of illness, and the tuna fish sandwiches that changed their lives. As told to Camille Dodero.

I wasn’t with Leonard when he died, but I’m certain that until he couldn’t hold a pen in his hand, he was working. That’s the way Leonard was. He had been weak and ill for a while, but he was working all the time. The hours in a day that he could work were narrowing, but the determination was still there. I think it was clear that the end was in sight, but I don’t think his October release You Want It Darker is him leaning toward mortality: Go back and listen to his first album [1967’s Songs of Leonard Cohen] — there are mortality issues there. The songs we were working on before he died were really light R&B, beautiful Leonard Cohen love songs. Another project we were working on was an extension of You Want It Darker’s reprise of “Treaty.” We had 10 arrangements written and half of them recorded already -- beautiful melodic arrangements -- without his voice on them. Maybe they will see the light of day. I don’t know.

I first got to know Leonard at the end of 2008, beginning of 2009. I produced a very simple, humble, beautiful little record for his son Adam called Like a Man. Leonard liked it and wanted to meet me. We met at a cafe, over tuna fish sandwiches, and then he asked if I’d write a string arrangement. I think he just wanted to see what I did.

The first song we wrote together was called “Show Me the Place” from 2012’s Old Ideas. It was a Stephen Foster-type melody -- that’s how the lyrics struck me. We recorded it, he put a vocal on it, and the next day, he said to me, “I wonder if anybody ever asked the guy who wrote ‘Amazing Grace’ if he had anything else?” Obviously, I hadn’t written “Amazing Grace,” but it was him saying, “This is good. I like this.” When I sent him “Slow” [from 2014’s Popular Problems], he responded with one word: “Done!” And when it wasn’t right -- and many, many times it wasn’t -- I wouldn’t hear anything. No response. At first I’d say, “Hey, did you get what I sent you?” And then I’d realize the message was loud and clear.

Working with Leonard was a collaboration that wasn’t based on a single project. It was ongoing: “We’ve got to crack this one”; “I’m almost there with this”; “What do you think of this?” He’d say, “Nothing’s wasted because we recycle.” He left behind so much stuff. Sometimes working with people, you try to accomplish something that you think is going to please them, and you don’t please them, and it creates this shadow of doubt. With Leonard there was never any shadow. He was always like, “Try again.” That’s generous in a way that I’ve never experienced.


Singer-songwriter SHARON ROBINSON reminisces about corny jokes, backstage chants and moments of quiet profundity with her frequent writing partner. As told to Rebecca Milzoff.

We wrote our first song together on the road in 1980. I showed him a melody I had written, and he immediately started working on lyrics, right there in the hotel lobby. That was “Summertime,” which he didn’t record -- it’s very much from a woman’s point of view -- but Diana Ross and Roberta Flack did. After that, he started to learn more about my songwriting, and I guess he thought I was good enough at it to be someone he’d want to work with. He loved the old soul and blues masters, and I think he loved me bringing soul music into his style.

After that, we wrote “Everybody Knows.” His lyrics pretty much start out as poetry, and you really have to study the meaning to figure out how it should be put into the form of a song. I’d never take apart his stanzas, but maybe I’d move something from one place to another. I remember coming up with a couple of different ideas, and he picked one and just said, “This is perfect.” We came up with the chorus, musically, together, after I brought in a basic vibe. You know, it’s a protest song, a tough song. It’s not pretty or feminine in any way, and I had to come up with music that was in that spirit. The boldness in those lyrics -- all his songs have a certain kind of boldness to them, but especially this one. And it has held up through the years; it maintains a relevance in our lives.

Our writing process in general [Robinson co-wrote 2001’s Ten New Songs] applied to almost everything we worked on. He’d present lyrics to me, I’d work on some music, then I’d go meet him at his house in Los Angeles. He’d make me something to eat first; tuna salad, or he’d scramble up some eggs, or egg salad. He made a great egg salad. Oh, and a roasted chicken! He loved roasted chicken and cauliflower. He’d done a lot of cooking at the Zen monastery. He had a certain very refined sense of hospitality, and he enjoyed when people would come by. Then there would be some discussion of his latest ideas that he was investigating about life and religion and philosophy. Or we’d talk about family and friends. There were these long periods of sort of setting the tone for the work. And then he’d listen to the music, several times, before deciding whether it was something we wanted to move forward with.

We studied Zen together, and there were often just quiet moments, with incense and no words. He called me his “dharma sister.” We toured for so long together, and sometimes it felt like we were soldiers preparing for battle. But traveling with Leonard, there’s a quiet, monastic tone to the whole thing. You’re just respectful of his space and his sense of contemplation. He would carry his own guitar; sit in the front of the bus, or the middle of the plane; sometimes he would write, but there wasn’t a lot of hoopla going on. We benefited from his aura. Still, he would always tell jokes -- some were pretty corny, pretty dry and always with a twist. Even though his image is that of the very dark, solemn poet, Leonard loved to laugh.

Before the concerts, we had these rituals that Leonard sort of designed. A half hour before the show, the band would gather in the green room and he would put essential oil on our wrists. Sometimes there were beverages, smoothies passed around. And we would do a chant as we walked to the stage, singing this Latin folk song as a round. We walked slowly, as if we were monks. But it was all designed to bring us together for the performance. Leonard always encouraged me not to look to other people for guidance, but to do what I felt in my heart. He told me, “You know what to do.”

A longtime collaborator and friend, singer JENNIFER WARNES remembers the “teacher” she met at just 22. As told to Frank DiGiacomo.

My first tour with Leonard was in 1972. Looking into his audience, I saw a sea of beautiful faces not unlike the ecstatic ones you see in old religious paintings, where the men and women were openly weeping -- and even though I was only 22 years old, I knew I was not in Kansas anymore. This was the tour when famously the audience sang to him in Jerusalem [after Cohen walked offstage mid-performance, overwhelmed by the crowd’s applause]. I was onstage when it happened; we were crying, and it was this moment when I understood the depth of his commitment and their commitment to him. I think somebody had given him some windowpane acid, and it was coming on as they were singing to him. He thought a miracle was happening, and you could see it on his face. He just sat down on the stage and listened to them sing. It was a Jewish chant, and it was heart-rendingly beautiful.

I’m just this sunshine girl from Orange County! And when I encountered such depth and richness and spiritual power -- when I finally understood that kind of intimacy within music was possible -- I came home changed. I refused to go out on tour with an opening act for Neil Diamond, not because I disliked Neil Diamond, but because I was still reverberating from that impact. Leonard shattered my relationship with pop music, and now I’ve had this career that kind of vacillated between pop and music with meaning.

You would see the line of women standing at the hotel door, and I didn’t want to join that line. I wanted a piece of Leonard’s heart, which he didn’t give away casually. So I dug in my heels and I tended to the music whenever he wanted me there. That sustained our friendship for nearly 50 years.

Leonard told me once that the most important person in your life might not be your significant other, or your parent, but a special teacher. There is no doubt in my mind that Leonard came to teach. He heard his inner voices clearly. One thing he always said was that he writes and writes and then discards the slogans. Isn’t that nice? That’s probably the way to get to your truth: Look for the difficult answers. Peel all the artifice away from yourself and your writing, and what remains is the news you need to bring forward. No matter how long it takes to heal ourselves and our country, Leonard Norman Cohen, that beautiful Canadian teacher, lover and revolutionary, has left us with tools we can really use.

If only we could hear the song within him, now.


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Eric Mulet/Agence VU/Redux
Leonard Cohen photographed at Mount Baldy Monastery at Mount Baldy, Calif. in 1995.

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Courtesy of Stephen Lack
Stephen Lack's Self-Portrait from the 1970s.

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Courtesy of Stephen Lack
Photograph of Leonard Cohen from the 1970s.

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Kezban Ozcan
Patrick Leonard and Leonard Cohen at the producer's studio in Los Angeles in 2004.

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Michael Putland/Getty Images
Leonard Cohen photographed in London on June 1974.

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Richard McCaffrey/Michael Ochs Archive/Getty Images
Leonard Cohen, Jennifer Warnes with friends perform live at The Greek Theatre in 1983 in Berkeley, Calif.

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Roscoe Beck
Leonard Cohen and Jennifer Warnes on the tour bus in 1979, writing "Song of Bernadette."

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Last edited by Roy on Mon Nov 28, 2016 3:29 am, edited 3 times in total.
LEONARD COHEN | HALLS OF FAME
The Official Halls of Fame Biographies of Leonard Cohen
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Re: Billboard News on Leonard Cohen

Postby Roy » Fri Nov 18, 2016 5:54 am

Leonard Cohen Died in His Sleep After a Fall, Manager Says

http://www.billboard.com/articles/news/ ... ll-manager

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11/16/2016 by Associated Press

Singer-songwriter Leonard Cohen died in his sleep after falling down in the middle of the night at his Los Angeles home, his manager said Wednesday (Nov. 16).

"The death was sudden, unexpected and peaceful," manager Robert B. Kory said in a statement.

The details from Kory provided the first glimpse of how Cohen died. No cause was given last week in the initial announcement of his death.

The statement also said that Cohen died on Nov. 7 -- three days before his passing was made public.

The singer, songwriter and poet behind "Hallelujah," ''Bird on a Wire" and "Suzanne" was 82 when he died. Cohen had been in declining health for much of the year, though he revealed few details.

He is survived by his children, Adam and Lorca, and his three grandchildren, Cassius, Viva and Lyon, the statement said.

Cohen was buried in Montreal in a small ceremony on Nov. 10, the same day his death was announced.

"With only immediate family and a few lifelong friends present, he was lowered into the ground in an unadorned pine box, next to his mother and father," Adam Cohen wrote in a statement last week.

Cohen's representatives say a memorial in Los Angeles is being planned.
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Re: Billboard News on Leonard Cohen

Postby Roy » Fri Nov 18, 2016 5:58 am

Leonard Cohen's 'Hallelujah' Tops LyricFind Charts Following His Death

11/17/2016 by Xander Zellner

http://www.billboard.com/articles/colum ... ind-charts

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Gijsbert Hanekroot/Redferns
Leonard Cohen posed in Amsterdam, Holland in April 1972.

The song hits No. 1 on the LyricFind U.S. & LyricFind Global charts.

After renowned Canadian singer-songwriter Leonard Cohen died at age 82 last week, his signature song "Hallelujah" leads the LyricFind U.S. and Global charts (dated Nov. 26), as it debuts at No. 1 on each survey.

The LyricFind Global and LyricFind U.S. charts rank the fastest momentum-gaining tracks in lyric-search queries globally and in the U.S., respectively, provided by LyricFind. The Global chart includes queries from all countries except the U.S. The company is the world's leader in licensed lyrics, with data provided by more than 4,000 publishers and utilized by more than 100 services, including Amazon, Pandora, Deezer, Shazam, Microsoft, Yahoo, SoundHound and iHeartRadio.

As "Hallelujah" debuts atop both LyricFind charts, "Suzanne," a classic from Cohen's 1967 debut album Songs of Leonard Cohen, debuts at No. 2 on the Global chart and No. 5 on the U.S. ranking.

On Nov. 11, the day after the announcement of Cohen's death, lyric searches for "Suzanne" increased by 1,411 percent, while searches for "Hallelujah" increased by 120 percent, according to data provided by LyricFind. Searches for "Suzanne" increased more exponentially than "Hallelujah" because queries for the latter were already high before Cohen's death, given the higher profile of "Hallelujah" historically. "Hallelujah," from Cohen's 1984 album Various Positions, has become a modern standard thanks to countless covers, most notably by Jeff Buckley in 1994.

Although Cohen died Nov. 7 in Los Angeles, his death wasn't announced publicly until three days later on his Facebook page with the message: "We have lost one of music's most revered and prolific visionaries."
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Re: Billboard News on Leonard Cohen

Postby Roy » Sat Nov 19, 2016 7:02 am

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Re: Billboard News on Leonard Cohen

Postby Roy » Sat Nov 19, 2016 7:35 am

Leonard Cohen's 'Hallelujah' Debuts on Hot Rock Songs Chart

11/18/2016 by Kevin Rutherford

http://www.billboard.com/articles/colum ... ongs-chart

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Andrew Stawicki/Toronto Star via Getty Images
Leonard Cohen photographed in the 1980s.

The singer-songwriter's signature tune enters at No. 20 on Hot Rock Songs following his Nov. 7 death.

Following Leonard Cohen's death on Nov. 7, the singer-songwriter's signature composition, "Hallelujah," debuts at No. 20 on Billboard‘s Hot Rock Songs chart (dated Nov. 26), marking just the second appearance for the revered ballad on a Billboard chart.

The track, originally released on Cohen's 1984 album Various Positions, debuts on the strength of 1 million U.S. streams and 3,000 downloads sold, according to Nielsen Music, much of those metrics likely logged in the final hours of those metrics' tracking week, which ended Nov. 10; Cohen's death was announced that evening.

"Hallelujah" previously made just one chart, in December 2012, when it bowed at No. 7 on Hot Singles Sales (with 1,000 sold). The track did not chart upon its original release, although numerous covers, most famously by Jeff Buckley, helped make it beloved. Buckley's version, meanwhile, also graces a Billboard chart after Cohen's death, returning to Rock Digital Song Sales at No. 50 with 2,000 sold. Cohen's charts at No. 47.

The track also leads both the LyricFind U.S. and LyricFind Global charts, which track the volume of domestic and global lyric searches, at No. 1.

"Hallelujah" and Cohen's album catalog, as well as notable covers of "Hallelujah," should soar on charts dated Dec. 3, the first full tracking week since his death.
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The Official Halls of Fame Biographies of Leonard Cohen
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