Leonard Cohen

Leonard Cohen

Infobox musical artist
Name = Leonard Cohen

Img_capt = Cohen in 2007
Img_size =
Landscape =
Background = solo_singer
Birth_name = Leonard Norman Cohen
Alias =
Born = birth date and age|1934|09|21
Montreal, Quebec, Canada
Died =
Instrument = Vocals, guitar, piano
Genre = Folk, folk rock, rock, world
Occupation = Singer-songwriter, musician, poet, novelist
Years_active = 1956 - Present
Label = Columbia
Associated_acts =

Leonard Norman Cohen CC GOQ (born September 21, 1934 in Westmount, Quebec) is a Canadian singer-songwriter, musician, poet and novelist. Cohen published his first book of poetry in Montreal in 1956 and his first novel in 1963.

Cohen's earliest songs (many of which appeared on the 1967 album "Songs of Leonard Cohen") were rooted in European folk music melodiesFact|date=March 2008 and instrumentation. In the 1970s his music encompassed pop, cabaret and world music. Since the 1980s his high baritone voice has evolved into lower registers (bass baritone and bass), with accompaniment from electronic synthesizers and female back up singers.

His work often deals with the exploration of religion, isolation, sexuality, and complex interpersonal relationships.

Cohen's songs and poetry have influenced many other singer-songwriters, and more than a thousand renditions of his work have been recorded. He has been inducted into the Canadian Music Hall of Fame and the Canadian Songwriters Hall of Fame and is also a Companion of the Order of Canada, the nation's highest civilian honour. Cohen was inducted into the American Rock and Roll Hall of Fame with a speech by Lou Reed on March 10, 2008 for his status among the "highest and most influential echelon of songwriters".Rock and Roll Hall of Fame press release, "The Rock and Roll Hall of Fame Announces its Inductees for 2008," 12/13/07. http://www.rockhall.com/pressroom/2008-inductee-announcement]


Early life

Cohen was born in 1934, in Montreal, Quebec into a middle-class Jewish family. His father was of Polish ancestry. His mother, of Lithuanian Jewish ancestry, had been an immigrant from Lithuania.cite interview |last=Cohen |first=Leonard |interviewer=Ray Martin |title=The Midday Show With Ray Martin |type= |url=http://www.leonardcohencroatia.com/raymartin1985.php |program=ABC |callsign= |city=Sydney |date=24 |year=1985 |month=May |accessdate=2008-10-01 | quote=My – my mother was from Lithuania which was a part of Poland and my great-grandfather came over from Poland to Canada. ] He grew up in Westmount on the Island of Montreal. His father, Nathan Cohen, was the owner of a substantial Montreal clothing store, and died when Leonard was nine years old. Like many other Jewish families with names like Cohen, Katz, and Kagan, Cohen's family claimed descent from the Kohanim: "I had a very Messianic childhood," he told Richard Goldstein in 1967. "I was told I was a descendant of Aaron, the high priest." [Williams, P. (n.d.) [http://www.webheights.net/speakingcohen/craw375.htm Leonard Cohen: The Romantic in a Ragpicker's Trade] ] He attended Herzliah High School, where he studied with poet Irving Layton. As a teenager he learned to play the guitar, subsequently forming a country-folk group called the Buckskin Boys. His father's will provided Leonard with a modest trust income, sufficient to allow him to pursue his literary ambitions.

Development as a poet

In 1951, Cohen enrolled at McGill University, where he became president of the McGill Debating Union. Literary influences during this time included Yeats, Whitman and Henry Miller. [Adria, Marco, "Chapter and Verse: Leonard Cohen," "Music of Our Times: Eight Canadian Singer-Songwriters" (Toronto: Lorimer, 1990), p. 28.] His first published book of poetry, "Let Us Compare Mythologies" (1956), was published under Louis Dudek as the first book in the McGill Poetry Series, while Cohen was still an undergraduate student. "The Spice-Box of Earth" (1961) made him well known in poetry circles, especially in his native Canada.

After completing an undergraduate degree, Cohen spent a term in McGill's law school, and a year (1956-7) at Columbia University.

Cohen applied a strong work ethic to his early and keen literary ambitions. He wrote poetry and fiction through much of the 1960s, and preferred to live in quasi-reclusive circumstances. After moving to Hydra, a Greek island, Cohen published the poetry collection "Flowers for Hitler" (1964), and the novels "The Favourite Game" (1963) and "Beautiful Losers" (1966). "The Favourite Game" is an autobiographical "bildungsroman" about a young man who discovers his identity through writing.


1960s and 1970s

In 1967, Cohen relocated to the United States to pursue a career as a folk, singer-songwriter. During the 60s, he was a fringe figure in Andy Warhol's Factory crowd. Warhol speculated that Cohen had spent time listening to Nico in clubs, and that this had influenced his musical style. [Warhol, Andy: Popism. Orlando: Harcourt Press, 1980. ] His song "Suzanne" became a hit for Judy Collins and remains his most covered work to date. After performing at a few folk festivals, he came to the attention of Columbia Records representative John H. Hammond (who signed artists such as Bob Dylan, Bruce Springsteen, and Billie Holiday).

Cohen's first album "Songs of Leonard Cohen" (1967) was too dark to be a commercial success, but was widely acclaimed by folk music buffs. He became a cult name in the UK, where the album spent over a year on the album charts. He followed this with "Songs from a Room" (1969) (featuring the often recorded "Bird on the Wire"), "Songs of Love and Hate" (1971), "Live Songs" (1973), and "New Skin for the Old Ceremony" (1974).

In 1971, Cohen's music was used in the soundtrack to Robert Altman's film "McCabe & Mrs. Miller". Though pulled from the existing Cohen catalog, the songs melded so seamlessly with the story that many believed they had been written for the film.

Throughout the late 1960s and early 1970s, Cohen toured the United States, Canada and Europe. Beginning around 1974, his collaboration with pianist/arranger John Lissauer created a live sound praised by the critics, but which was never really captured on record. During this time, Cohen often toured with Jennifer Warnes as a back-up singer. Warnes would become a fixture on Cohen's future albums and she recorded an album of Cohen songs in 1987, "Famous Blue Raincoat". Laura Branigan also sang back-up vocals with his band in the 1970s, but she never recorded with him.

In 1977, Cohen released "Death of a Ladies' Man" (note the plural possessive case; one year later in 1978, Cohen released a volume of poetry with the coyly revised title, "Death of a Lady's Man"). The album was produced by Phil Spector, well known as the inventor of the "wall of sound" technique, in which pop music is backed with thick layers of instrumentation, an approach very different from Cohen's usually minimalist instrumentation. The recording of the album was fraught with difficulty; Spector reportedly mixed the album in secret studio sessions and Cohen said Spector once threatened him with a crossbow. Cohen thinks the end result is "grotesque", [de Lisle, T. (2004) [http://www.leonardcohenfiles.com/timdelisle.html Hallelujah: 70 things about Leonard Cohen at 70] ] but also "semi-virtuous". [ Fitzgerald, j. (2001) [http://www.leonardcohenfiles.com/fitzgerald4.html Beautiful loser, beautiful comeback.] "The National Post," 24 March 2001.]

In 1979, Cohen returned with the more traditional "Recent Songs". Produced by Cohen himself and Henry Lewy (Joni Mitchell's sound engineer) the album included performances by a jazz-fusion band introduced to Cohen by Mitchell and oriental instruments (oud, Gypsy violin and mandolin). In 2001 Cohen released the live version of songs from his 1979 tour, "".


In 1984, Cohen released "Various Positions", including the often recorded "Hallelujah". Columbia declined to release the album in the United States, where Cohen's popularity had declined in previous years. Throughout his career, Cohen's music has sold better in Europe and Canada than in the U.S.; he once satirically expressed how touched he is at the modesty the American company has shown in promoting his records.

In 1986 he made a guest appearance in the episode "French Twist" of the TV series "Miami Vice". In 1987, Jennifer Warnes' tribute album "Famous Blue Raincoat" helped restore Cohen's career in the U.S., and the following year he released "I'm Your Man", which marked a drastic change in his music. Synthesizers ruled the album and Cohen's lyrics included more social commentary and dark humour. It was Cohen's most acclaimed and popular since "Songs of Leonard Cohen", and "First We Take Manhattan" and the title song became two of his most popular songs.


The use of the album track "Everybody Knows" (co-written by Sharon Robinson) in the 1990 film "Pump Up the Volume" helped to expose Cohen's music to a younger audience. In 1992, Cohen released "The Future", which urges, (often in terms of biblical prophecy) perseverance, reformation, and hope in the face of grim prospects. Three tracks from the album - "Waiting for the Miracle", "The Future" and "Anthem" - were featured in the controversial and violent movie "Natural Born Killers".

In the title track, Cohen prophesies impending political and social collapse, reportedly as his response to the L.A. unrest of 1992: "I've seen the future, brother: It is murder." In "Democracy," Cohen, criticizes America but says he loves it: "I love the country but I can't stand the scene." Further, he criticizes the American public's lack of interest in politics and addiction to television: "I'm neither left or right/I'm just staying home tonight/getting lost in that hopeless little screen."

Nanni Moretti's film "Caro Diario" (1993) features "I'm Your Man", as Moretti himself rides his Vespa along the streets of Rome.

In 1994, following a tour to promote "The Future", Cohen retreated to the [http://www.mbzc.org/aboutus.php4 Mount Baldy] Zen Centre near Los Angeles, beginning what would become five years of seclusion at the center. In 1996, Cohen was ordained as a Rinzai Zen Buddhist monk and took the Dharma name "Jikhan", meaning 'silence'. He left Mount Baldy in 1999.


In 2001, following the five years' seclusion as a Zen Buddhist monk at the [http://www.mbzc.org/aboutus.php4 Mt. Baldy] Zen Center (where he served as personal assistant to Kyozan Joshu Sasaki Roshi), Cohen returned to music with "Ten New Songs", featuring a heavy influence from producer and co-composer Sharon Robinson. With this album, Cohen shed the relatively extroverted, engaged, and even optimistic outlook of "The Future" (the sole political track, “The Land of Plenty,” abandoning stern commandment for yearning but helpless prayer) to lament and seek acceptance of varieties of personal loss: the approach of death and the departure of love, romantic and even divine. "Ten New Songs"' cohesive musical style (perhaps absent from Cohen's albums since "Recent Songs") owes much to Robinson’s involvement. The album includes the song "Alexandra Leaving," which is a striking transformation of the poem "The God Abandons Antony" by the Greek poet Constantine P. Cavafy. Although not Cohen’s bitterest album, it may rank as his most melancholic.

In October 2004, he released "Dear Heather", largely a musical collaboration with jazz chanteuse (and current romantic partner) Anjani Thomas, although Sharon Robinson returns to collaborate on three tracks (including a duet). As light as the previous album was dark, "Dear Heather" reflects Cohen's own change of mood - he has said in a number of interviews that his depression has lifted in recent years, which he attributes to the aid of zen buddhism. "Dear Heather" is perhaps his least cohesive, and most experimental and playful album to date, and the stylings of some of the songs (especially the title track) frustrated many fans. In an interview following his induction into the Canadian Songwriters' Hall of Fame, Cohen explained that the album was intended to be a kind of notebook or scrapbook of themes, and that a more formal record had been planned for release shortly afterwards, but that this was put on ice by his legal battles with his ex-manager.

On October 8, 2005 Cohen alleged that his longtime former manager, Kelley Lynch, misappropriated over US$5 million from Cohen's retirement fund along with the publishing rights to his songs, [Glaister, D. (2005) [http://arts.guardian.co.uk/news/story/0,11711,1587691,00.html?gusrc=rss "Cohen stays calm as $5m pension disappears"] , "The Guardian." , 2005.] leaving Cohen with only $150,000. Cohen was sued in turn by other former business associates. These events placed him in the public spotlight, including a cover feature on him with the headline "Devastated!" in Canada's "Maclean's" magazine. In March 2006, Cohen won the civil suit and was awarded US$9 million by a Los Angeles County superior court. Lynch, however, ignored the suit and did not respond to a subpoena issued for her financial records. [(2006) " [http://www.ctv.ca/servlet/ArticleNews/story/CTVNews/20060302/leonard_cohen_060302/20060302?hub=Canada Leonard Cohen awarded $9 million in civil suit] ," CTV.ca. Mar. 2 2006] As a result it has been widely reported that Cohen may never be able to collect the cash. [(2006) [http://www.nme.com/news/leonard-cohen/22406 "Leonard Cohen 'unlikely' to recover stolen millions: Funds taken by ex-manager going to be hard to recover"] NME. March 3, 2006.] Cohen has been under new management since April 2005.

"Blue Alert", an album of songs co-written by Anjani and Cohen, was released on May 23, 2006 to positive reviews. The album is sung by Anjani, who according to one reviewer "sounds like Cohen reincarnated as woman. . . . though Cohen doesn't sing a note on the album, his voice permeates it like smoke." [(n.d.) [http://www.anjani-music.com/music.html "blue alert 2006" - Reviews] .] The album includes a recent musical setting of Cohen's "As the mist leaves no scar," a poem originally published in "The Spice-Box of Earth" in 1961 and adapted by Spector into "True Love Leaves No Traces" on "Death of a Ladies' Man".

Cohen's new book of poetry and drawings, "Book of Longing", was published in May 2006; in March a Toronto-based retailer offered signed copies to the first 1500 orders placed online, which saw the entire amount sold within hours. The book quickly topped bestseller lists in Canada. On May 13, 2006, Cohen made his first public appearance for thirteen years, at an in store event at a bookstore in Toronto. Approximately 3000 people turned up for the event, causing the streets surrounding the bookstore to be closed. He sang two of his earliest and best-known songs: "So Long, Marianne" and "Hey, That's No Way To Say Goodbye", accompanied by the Barenaked Ladies and Ron Sexsmith. Also appearing with him was Anjani, the two promoting her new CD, along with his book. [(2006) [http://www.cbc.ca/arts/story/2006/05/14/cohen-toronto.html "Cohen returns to limelight with bestselling book"] CBC Online. Sunday, May 14, 2006.]

The year 2008 promised to be an important year in his career. January 13, 2008, Cohen quietly announced to fans a long-anticipated concert tour [ [http://leonardcohenforum.com/viewtopic.php?f=3&t=10031&sid=522ff761187a6889ff88870fd90c5dcd leonardcohenforum.com • View topic - Leonard Cohen: TOUR 2008 ] ] . The tour, Cohen's first in 15 years, began May 11th in Fredericton, NB to wide critical acclaim. [ [http://www.leonardcohenforum.com/viewtopic.php?f=26&t=10365 2008 Tour schedule] ] The schedule encompassed Canada and Europe, including performances at The Big Chill (music festival), [ [http://www.nme.com/news/leonard-cohen/35054 Leonard Cohen reveals details of world tour | News | NME.COM ] ] the Montreal Jazz Festival, and on the Pyramid Stage at the 2008 Glastonbury Festival on 29 June 2008. [ [http://news.bbc.co.uk/newsbeat/hi/music/newsid_7234000/7234884.stm Glastonbury headliners revealed] ] His performance at Glastonbury was hailed by many as the highlight of the festival [ [http://www.bbc.co.uk/glastonbury/2008/artists/leonardcohen/?comment=response BBC - Glastonbury 2008 - Leonard Cohen ] ] , and his performance of 'Hallelujah' as the sun went down received a rapturous reception and a lengthy ovation from a packed Pyramid Stage field. [ [http://www.nme.com/news/leonard-cohen/37738 Glastonbury says 'Hallelujah' to Leonard Cohen] ]

On March 7, 2008, Jeff Buckley’s version of Cohen's “Hallelujah”, went to number 1 on the iTunes chart after being performed by Jason Castro on the seventh season of the television series "American Idol". [ [http://www.rollingstone.com/rockdaily/index.php/2008/03/05/the-idol-countdown-five-essential-moments-from-last-nights-american-idol-13/ The Idol Countdown: Five Essential Moments From Last Night's "American Idol"] . "Rolling Stone". March 5, 2008. Retrieved on March 7, 2008.] Another major boost for Cohen's song exposure came when singer-songwriter Kate Voegele released her version of "Hallelujah" from her 2007 "Don't Look Away" album and appeared as a regular character, named Mia, on season five of the teenage television show "One Tree Hill". [http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/One_Tree_Hill_(TV_series)]

A few days later, Cohen was inducted into the American Rock and Roll Hall of Fame in recognition of his status among the "highest and most influential echelon of songwriters".

A new album is expected before the end of 2008.Fact|date=October 2008

Family life

In the 1960s, during his stay at Hydra, Cohen befriended the Scandinavian novelists Axel Jensen and Göran Tunström. He lived there with Axel's wife Marianne Jensen (now: Ihlen Stang) and their son Axel after they broke up. The song "So Long, Marianne" is about her. An alternative theory, however, which may be but a local Montréal urban myth, is that Marianne refers to rue Marie-Anne in the inner core of Montréal, a street on which Cohen lived many years and in whose little park at the corner of Boulevard St. Laurent he was known to sit on occasion. For a long time it was believed that the character Lorenzo in Jensen's novel "Joacim" (1961) was based on Cohen, but Axel told him it was influenced by Tunström.

According to biographer and filmmaker Harry Rasky, Cohen has been married once, to Los Angeles artist Suzanne Elrod, and although the two did have an important relationship in the 1970s, Cohen himself has said that 'cowardice' and 'fear' have prevented him from ever actually marrying [http://www.webheights.net/speakingcohen/sl2001.htm] [http://arts.guardian.co.uk/fridayreview/story/0,12102,1305765,00.html] . He has two children with Elrod: a son, Adam, was born in 1972 and a daughter, Lorca, named after poet Federico García Lorca, was born in 1974. Adam Cohen began his own career as a singer-songwriter in the mid-1990s and currently fronts a band called Low Millions. Elrod took the cover photograph on Cohen's "Live Songs" album and is pictured on the cover of the "Death of a Ladies' Man" album.

Cohen and Elrod had split by 1979. Contrary to popular belief, "Suzanne", one of his best-known songs, refers to Suzanne Verdal, the former wife of his friend, the Québécois sculptor Armand Vaillancourt, rather than Elrod. [(2006) [http://www.cbc.ca/national/news/suzanne/ "And she feeds you tea and oranges..." The Story of Suzanne] CBC, the National. February 3, 2006.] In 1990, Cohen was romantically linked to actress Rebecca De Mornay. He is now romantically involved with (and working with) Anjani Thomas.


Recurring themes in Cohen's work include love and sex, religion, psychological depression, and music itself. He has also engaged with certain political themes, though sometimes ambiguously so. Love and sexuality are common themes in popular music, yet Cohen's background as a novelist and poet enabled him to bring a darker, deeper edge to these themes. "Suzanne" mixes a wistful type of love song with a religious meditation, themes that are also mixed in "Joan of Arc." "Famous Blue Raincoat" is from the point of view of a man whose marriage has been broken (in exactly what degree is ambiguous in the song) by his wife's infidelity with his close friend, and is written in the form of a letter to that friend, to whom he writes, "I guess that I miss you/ I guess I forgive you … Know your enemy is sleeping/ And his woman is free", while "Everybody Knows" deals in part with the harsh reality of AIDS: "… the naked man and woman/ Are just a shining artifact of the past."

"Sisters of Mercy", according to the sleeve notes of his "Greatest Hits" evokes his encounter with two women named Barbara and Lorraine a hotel room in Edmonton, Canada. SomeWho|date=May 2008 have claimed that "Chelsea Hotel #2" treats his affair with Janis Joplin rather unsentimentally and others that it reveals a much more complicated and mixed set of feelings than straightforward love. Cohen discusses the song in an interview filmed for the tribute-concert movie [http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Leonard_Cohen:_I'm_Your_Man] . He confirms that the subject is indeed Janis with some evident embarrassment. "She wouldn't mind," he declares, "but my mother would be appalled." The title of "Don't Go Home with Your Hard-On" speaks for itself.

Cohen comes from a Jewish background, most obviously reflected in his song "Story of Isaac", and also in "Who by Fire," whose words and melody echo the Unetaneh Tokef, an 11th century liturgical poem recited on Rosh Hashana and Yom Kippur. Broader Judeo-Christian themes are sounded throughout the album "Various Positions": "Hallelujah", which has music as a secondary theme, begins by evoking the biblical king David composing a song that "pleased the Lord," and continues with references to Bathsheba and Samson.

In his early career as a novelist, "Beautiful Losers" grappled with the mysticism of the Catholic/Iroquois Catherine Tekakwitha. Cohen has also been involved with Buddhism at least since the 1970s and in 1996 he was ordained a Buddhist monk. However, he still considers himself also a Jew: "I'm not looking for a new religion. I'm quite happy with the old one, with Judaism." [ [http://arts.guardian.co.uk/fridayreview/story/0,12102,1305765,00.html "Who held a gun to Leonard Cohen's head?"] "The Guardian". September 17, 2004.]

Having suffered from psychological depression during much of his life (although less so with the onset of old age), Cohen has written much (especially in his early work) about depression and suicide. The wife of the protagonist of "Beautiful Losers" commits a gory suicide; "Seems So Long Ago, Nancy" is about a suicide; suicide is mentioned in the darkly comic "One of Us Cannot Be Wrong"; "Dress Rehearsal Rag" is about a last-minute decision not to kill oneself; a general atmosphere of depression pervades such songs as "Please Don't Pass Me By" and "Tonight Will Be Fine." As in the aforementioned "Hallelujah", music itself is the subject of many songs, including "Tower of Song", "A Singer Must Die", and "Jazz Police".

Social justice often shows up as a theme in his work, where he seems, especially in later albums, to expound a leftist politics, albeit with culturally conservative elements. In "Democracy" lamenting "the wars against disorder/ … the sirens night and day/ … the fires of the homeless/ … the ashes of the gay," he concludes that the United States is actually not a democracy. His has made the observation (in "Tower of Song") that "the rich have got their channels in the bedrooms of the poor/ And there's a mighty judgment coming." In the title track of "The Future" he recasts this prophecy on a pacifist note: "I've seen the nations rise and fall/ …/ But love's the only engine of survival." In "Anthem," he promises that "the killers in high places [who] say their prayers out loud/ … [are] gonna hear from me."

In "The Land of Plenty," he characterizes the United States (if not the opulent West in general) of benightedness: "May the lights in The Land of Plenty/ Shine on the truth some day."

War is an enduring theme of Cohen's work which in his earlier songs, as indeed in his early life, he approached ambivalently. In "Field Commander Cohen" he (perhaps metaphorically) imagines himself as a soldier/spy socializing with Fidel Castro in Cuba—where he had actually lived at the height of US-Cuba tensions in 1961, allegedly sporting a Che Guevara-style beard and military fatigues. This song was actually written immediately following Cohen's front-line stint with the Israeli air force, the "fighting in Egypt" documented in an (again perhaps metaphorical) passage of "Night Comes On:"

In 1973, Cohen, who had traveled to Jerusalem to sign up on the Israeli side in the Yom Kippur War, had instead been assigned to a USO-style entertainer tour of front-line tank emplacements in the Sinai Desert, at one of which he both came under fire and reportedly shared cognac with an unlikely self-professed fan, then-General Ariel Sharon. Disillusioned by encounters with dead and wounded Israeli soldiers, and having expressed explicit support for the Israeli side [(1974) [http://www.webheights.net/speakingcohen/spain1.htm "Cohen: "...it's blood, it's the identification one feels with their roots and their origins."] "1974 in Barcelona, Spain. Published in 'Leonard Cohen' by Alberto Manzano, published in 1978."] [(2001) [http://www.leonardcohensite.com/10newsongs/express.htm "Cohen: "J'espère que ceux dont je suis partisan vont gagner."] "L'Express, France, 04 octobre 2001"] , he wrote his song "Lover Lover Lover", where the ending line is: "May it be a shield for you, a shield against the enemy."

His recent politics continue a lifelong predilection for the underdog, the "beautiful loser." Whether recording "The Partisan", a French Resistance song by Anna Marly and Emmanuel d'Astier, or singing his own "The Old Revolution", written from the point of view of a defeated royalist, he has throughout his career through his music expressed his sympathy and support for the oppressed. Although Cohen's fascination with war is often as metaphor for more explicitly cultural and personal issues, as in "New Skin for the Old Ceremony", by this measure his most "militant" album.

Cohen blends a good deal of pessimism about political/cultural issues with a great deal of humour and (especially in his later work) gentle acceptance. His wit contends with his stark analyses, as his songs are often verbally playful and even cheerful: In "Tower of Song," the famously raw-voiced Cohen sings ironically that he was "… born with the gift/ Of a golden voice"; the generally dark "Is This What You Wanted?" nonetheless contains playful lines "You were the whore at the Feast of Babylon/ I was Rin Tin Tin"; in concert, he often plays around with his lyrics (for example, "If you want a doctor/ I'll examine every inch of you" from "I'm Your Man" will become "If you want a Jewish doctor …"); and he will introduce one song by using a phrase from another song or poem (for example, introducing "Leaving Green Sleeves" by paraphrasing his own "Queen Victoria": "This is a song for those who are not nourished by modern love").

Cohen has also recorded such love songs as Irving Berlin's "Always" or the more obscure soul number "Be for Real" (originally sung by Marlena Shaw), chosen in part for their unlikely juxtaposition to his own work.

Titles and honours

*In 1968, Cohen refused a Governor General's Award (in category for English language poetry or drama) for "Selected Poems 1956–1968".
*In 1991, Cohen was inducted into the Canadian Music Hall of Fame.
*In 1993, Cohen won the Juno Award for Male Vocalist of the Year.
*In 1994, Cohen won another Juno Award this time for Songwriter of the Year.
*In 1996, he was ordained a Rinzai Buddhist monk.
*In 2001, Cohen was awarded a SNEP Award for more than 100,000 copies sold of Ten New Songs in France. [http://upload.wikimedia.org/wikipedia/en/e/e5/Cohen_SNEP_1.jpgPhoto of the award.]
*In 2003, he was made a Companion of the Order of Canada, Canada's highest civilian honour.
*In 2004, "Beautiful Losers" was chosen for inclusion in Canada Reads 2005. It was selected and originally to be championed by singer-songwriter Rufus Wainwright; however, tour commitments meant that Wainwright had to be replaced by singer Molly Johnson.
*In 2006, Cohen was inducted into the Canadian Songwriters Hall of Fame.
*In 2007, Cohen received a Grammy for Album of the Year as a featured artist on Herbie Hancock's "". [ [http://www.grammy.com/GRAMMY_Awards/50th_Show/list.aspx GRAMMY.com ] ]
*In 2008, Cohen was inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame. [cite web | title = Indictees for 2008 | url = http://www.rockhall.com/pressroom/2008-inductee-announcement/ | work = Rock and Roll Hall of Fame official website | date = 2007-12-13 | accessdate = 2008-03-11]
*In June 2008 he was made a Grand Officer of the National Order of Quebec [http://www.premier-ministre.gouv.qc.ca/salle-de-presse/communiques/2008/juin/2008-06-03.shtml]


Studio albums


*"Let Us Compare Mythologies" (poetry) 1956
*"The Spice-Box of Earth" (poetry) 1961
*"The Favourite Game" (novel) 1963
*"Flowers for Hitler" (poetry) 1964
*"Beautiful Losers" (novel) 1966
*"Parasites of Heaven" (poetry) 1966
*"Selected Poems 1956–1968" (poetry) 1968
*"The Energy of Slaves" (poetry) 1972
*"Death of a Lady's Man" (poetry and prose) 1978
*"Book of Mercy" (prose, poetry, psalms) 1984
*"Stranger Music" (selected poems and songs) 1993
*"Book of Longing" (poetry, prose, drawings) 2006


*Cohen was the subject of the 1965 documentary "Ladies and Gentlemen... Mr. Leonard Cohen", directed by Donald Brittain and Don Owen and produced by the National Film Board of Canada. [(n.d.) [http://www.nfb.ca/trouverunfilm/fichefilm.php?id=11122&v=h&lg=en&exp=${leonard}%20AND%20${cohen} "Description of film, 'Ladies and Gentlemen... Mr. Leonard Cohen'] National Film Board (Canada)]

*"" was released in the United States on June 21, 2006. It prominently features a 2005 tribute concert to Cohen, "Came So Far For Beauty," held at the Sydney Opera House; the concert was produced by Hal Willner. The film, directed by Lian Lunson, has appearances by Nick Cave, Beth Orton, Antony of Antony and the Johnsons, Rufus and Martha Wainwright, and a performance of "Tower of Song" by Cohen and U2. The film also features Cohen recalling significant parts of his life and career.

*"The Favourite Game / Le Jeu de l'ange" was released in Canada in 2003 based on his novel of the same name.

*In 1985, Cohen co-wrote and co-composed "Night Magic" (starring Carole Laure) with fellow Quebecer, Lewis Furey.

*Cohen narrated a documentary called "The Tibetan Book of the Dead: A Way of Life".

*Cohen makes a cameo appearance performing "The Stranger Song" in the Canadian fim "The Ernie Game" (1968) which is based on the stories of Bernard Cole Spencer.

*Cohen is referenced in the Canadian film "Looking for Leonard".

*Cohen is the subject of a documentary, “Leonard Cohen: Under Review 1934-1977,” released April 24, 2007, by MVD Entertainment Group.

*Cohen is the subject of a documentary, “Leonard Cohen: Under Review 1978-2006,” released July 8, 2008, by MVD Entertainment Group.

*Cohen appeared as an actor in the role of villain “Francois Zolan” in the “French Twist” episode of the American television series “Miami Vice” (season 2, episode 17), originally broadcast on February 21, 1986.

See also

*Music of Canada
*List of Quebec musicians
*Music of Quebec
*Culture of Quebec


External links

* [http://www.leonardcohen.com Official SonyBMG Website]
* [http://aurora.icaap.org/index.php/aurora/article/view/36/47 Leonard Cohen: The Aurora Interview with Marco Adria]
* [http://leonardcohenfiles.com The Leonard Cohen Files]
* [http://speakingcohen.com The Leonard Cohen Archive]
* [http://www.leonardcohensite.com French Leonard Cohen Website]
* [http://www.theglobeandmail.com/leonardCohen Special Report: Leonard Cohen]
* [http://www.shambhalasun.com/index.php?option=com_content&task=view&id=3144&Itemid=247 Shambhala Sun Magazine Interview]
* [http://www.thecanadianencyclopedia.com/index.cfm?PgNm=TCE&Params=A1ARTA0001738 Leonard Cohen's] entry in The Canadian Encyclopedia
* [http://www.cbc.ca/ideas/features/cohen/index.html "A Nobel Prize for Leonard Cohen"] on CBC Radio One's "Ideas"
* [http://www.judithfitzgerald.ca/famousblueraincoat.html "The Dancer & His Cain," Leonard Cohen's "Famous Blue Raincoat"]
* [http://www.judithfitzgerald.ca/leonardcoheniana.html Two New Works on the Work of Leonard Cohen by Harry Rasky and David Sheppard]
* [http://www.leonardcohenfiles.com/zollo.html Leonard Cohen, Los Angeles 1992, From Songwriters on Songwriting, by Paul Zollo]
*worldcat id|id=lccn-n79-33018

NAME = Cohen, Leonard Norman
SHORT DESCRIPTION = Canadian singer-songwriter
DATE OF BIRTH = September 21, 1934
PLACE OF BIRTH = Montreal, Quebec, Canada

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