November 10, 2016

"They are leaning out for love/And they will lean that way forever..."

Goodbye to Leonard Cohen. The beautiful songwriter was 82.

ADDED: "The big change is the proximity to death. I am a tidy kind of guy. I like to tie up the strings if I can. If I can’t, also, that’s O.K. But my natural thrust is to finish things that I’ve begun."


Patrick said...

Closing time. Tough to lose this genius.

Patrick said...

I've been a reader of this blood for quite awhile. The number of deaths and other big events I've learned about through the blog is pretty high by now. Easier that easy, someone. Thanks

Patrick said...


David Begley said...

Fraud in the inducement for signing over his IP rights. Interesting how Cohen equated that with theft. Lucky he avoided the PTAB.

madAsHell said...

In 1995, Cohen put the breaks on his career,

Rolling Stone, what a pack of fuck-ups!!

traditionalguy said...

I am speechless. Cohen always leaves me that way.

Bob said...

The 2016 edition of the Heavenly Band is the best ever.

SukieTawdry said...

Oh dear, this is sad. Big fan. What a loss.

wareagle69 said...

I have been a Leonard fan since the '60's. He was a titan as a songwriter and his voice as he aged evolved to something very unique.

You knew this was coming given his age, but it is always sad to lose the really great ones.

His last album You Want It Darker was recently released. Rest In Peace Leonard.

Chuck said...

Every Leonard Cohen fan knows "Tower of Song." As a public service to those who have never encountered it, here it is on YouTube:

Bill Crawford said...

Came across this about "Seem So Long Ago, Nancy" -

hawkeyedjb said...

The last verse of "So Long Marianne" still brings tears to my eyes...

Yancey Ward said...

Cohen was one of the very greatest songwriters, and that voice was damned near unique. A great loss. I am a huge fan of his.

gadfly said...

Leonard Cohen, So Long, Marianne, gotta be the one I'll remember.

harrogate said...

Thanks for writing about this, Professor. This one hits hard

SukieTawdry said...

I've been over at YouTube listening to Leonard. This is probably my favorite version of Hallelujah.

madAsHell said...

Sorry, Leonard Cohen never hit my radar.

Snark said...

Don't favourite cover of Hallelujah was....Jon Bon Jovi. He got the tone more right than most. It is in fact a very bitter song, and most artists interpret it too sweetly and melodically I feel. Cohen thought there were too many covers, and he was probably right.

BJM said...

Ten New Songs released in 2001 was Cohen's first album in nearly 10 years. It was worth the wait.

Sayonara Cohen San

eddie willers said...

"Well my friends are gone and my hair is grey.
I ache in the places where I used to play."

Man...that 'ache in the places where I used to play' is so painfully truthful it hurts.

And you can't help but laugh along with it.

exiledonmainstreet said...

I loved Cohen. "So Long Marianne" "Famous Blue Raincoat" "Joan of Arc" "Everybody Knows" "I'm Your Man" - just wonderful songs. It's heresy in these parts, but I preferred him to Dylan.

RIP, Leonard.

Patrick said...

I agree that Bon Jovi did a cube version of Hallelujah. K.D. Lang did my favorite version. said...

I really love "Hey, That's No Way to Say Goodbye". Spent many a college night up late listening to it and contemplating a breakup.

Darrell said...

I hope it wasn't suicide. He's been talking about death for a couple of months now and it sounded more like depression.

Diamondhead said...

Closing Time was probably my favorite Cohen song and favorite song. Maybe something in his voice made me feel like I knew him. This was tough news tonight.

Kirk Parker said...

Definitely a blaze of light in every word...

William said...

I read the New Yorker article. His backstory was everything a poet could hope for. All those experiences, and he got to die in old age. He was far more blessed than doomed. He had more nerve endings than most people, but he knew how to find the harmony in their frazzle....The only surprising fact in his bio is that he got fleeced by his manager/ex lover. That's kind of a Doris Day, Debbie Reynolds type move. You'd think that he'd be more sagacious or, at any rate, be the kind of person to put money managers and lovers in different compartments......I'm sorry to read of his death. His voice in old age was an objective correlative to the doom in his lyrics. He really was getting better with age.

Virgil Hilts said...

Obsessed with LC as a teenager (even read his poetry books). Lost track of him for a few years in my late 20s but then saw Natural Born Killers and heard "waiting for the Miracle" and "the Future" as the bookends and was hooked again.

Gideon7 said...

Hallelujah is one of those songs that almost everybody gets wrong (Shrek). It is not a song about some wistful fond memories of having great sex with your girlfriend. Leonard Cohen originally wrote it as a bitter dirge about a fickle lover who eventually left him, alluding to how he struggled with his Jewish faith.

Compare Cohen's live performance on YouTube ('Leonard Cohen - Hallelujah') to the Buckley/Cale covers, and you can see how Cohen's vocal intonations and word emphasis are totally different.

Hey Skipper said...

I only learned of Leonard Cohen via RadioParadise a couple years ago.

It was my lucky day.

Amexpat said...

He always struck me as a mensch. Produced some great songs that resonated with me: "Tower of Song", "I'm your Man" & "You want it Darker".

TheGiantPeach said...

It's already the worst week of my life (and I'm 62). I didn't need for this to happen now.

Goodbye, Leonard Cohen. Your music enriched my life (and many other lives). zichrono l'vracha (May his memory be a blessing).

Amexpat said...

"I said to Hank Williams, how lonely does it get?
Hank Williams hasn't answered yet
But I hear him coughing all night long
Oh, a hundred floors above me in the Tower of Song"

Bob R said...

I remember seeing McCabe and Mrs. Miller in 1972. The soundtrack hit me hard. My first exposure to Leonard Cohen. I'll miss him.

EDH said...

How Apt...

I'm sentimental, if you know what I mean
I love the country but I can't stand the scene
And I'm neither left or right
I'm just staying home tonight
Getting lost in that hopeless little screen
But I'm stubborn as those garbage bags
As time cannot decay
I'm junk but I'm still holding up this little wild bouquet

Democracy is coming to the USA

It's coming through a hole in the air
From those nights in Tiananmen Square
It's coming from the feel
That this ain't exactly real
Or it's real, but it ain't exactly there
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 USA

It's coming through a crack in the wall
On a visionary flood of alcohol
From the staggering account
Of the Sermon on the Mount
Which I don't pretend to understand at all
It's coming from the silence
On the dock of the bay,
From the brave, the bold, the battered
Heart of Chevrolet
Democracy is coming to the USA

It's coming from the sorrow in the street
The holy places where the races meet
From the homicidal bitchin'
That goes down in every kitchen
To determine who will serve and who will eat
From the wells of disappointment
Where the women kneel to pray
For the grace of God in the desert here
And the desert far away:
Democracy is coming to the USA

Sail on, sail on
Oh mighty ship of State
To the shores of need
Past the reefs of greed
Through the Squalls of hate
Sail on, sail on, sail on, sail on
It's coming to America first
The cradle of the best and of the worst
It's here they got the range
And the machinery for change
And it's here they got the spiritual thirst
It's here the family's broken
And it's here the lonely say
That the heart has got to open
In a fundamental way
Democracy is coming to the USA

It's coming from the women and the men
Oh baby, we'll be making love again
We'll be going down so deep
The river's going to weep,
And the mountain's going to shout Amen
It's coming like the tidal flood
Beneath the lunar sway
Imperial, mysterious
In amorous array
Democracy is coming to the USA

Sail on, sail on
O mighty ship of State
To the shores of need
Past the reefs of greed
Through the squalls of hate
Sail on, sail on, sail on, sail on

virgil xenophon said...

My favorite album was "Songs of Loves and Hate" and my fave single off the album was "Dress Rehearsal Blues"--a great song to allow moody types (such as myself) to wallow in one's suicidal tendencies..

RIP Leonard..

Eric the Fruit Bat said...

It's like walking through a really big shopping mall, walking past nationally franchised shop after shop after shop, continually walking past, never wanting enough to cross the threshold between where you are and where you would then be.

Amexpat said...

I remember seeing McCabe and Mrs. Miller in 1972. The soundtrack hit me hard.

Me as well. It was a revelation. I'm too old to be really moved by films or music like that now. My loss.

sunsong said...

What a huge loss. He is one of the greats. RIP Leonard...

Mark said...

I'm familiar with the name. But looking at some of the news stories and what the songs he wrote and almost none of them are songs I've ever heard of.

William said...

In old age, he found the Handel on Hallelujah. We're all poor forked creatures. We wave the thin reed of our sexuality to frighten off the consuming shadows. He embraced the shadows but wore a cool pork pie hat low over his eyes to attract the ladies. Good for him. It's hard to be sexy and cool after you turn eighty, but he pulled it off. The doom in his lyrics is more portentous when sung with an old man's voice. He really did get better with age. I was happy to read that he was able to use his oncoming mortality as an aid to getting laid.

Yancey Ward said...

Virgil Hilts and I had a similar trajectory in our fandom. I discovered Cohen in the early 80s as a teenager (I was 15 when I bought the first record), and bought a lot of his work from the mail-order record companies, but basically lost touch with anything he was doing after I got into college. I hadn't even thought about him at all until I saw the movie Natural Born Killers on cable which prominently featured some of his newer stuff. Immediately hooked again, and never stopped.