Nov 11, 2016
By Dave Woodard
Singer, songwriter, poet and Zoomer legend Leonard Cohen has died.
The announcement was made on social media, and confirmed by Sony Music Canada late last night. An immediate cause of death is not yet known.
Cohen had been an active Zoomer, touring as recently as last year, and had just released his 14th studio album, “You Want it Darker.” in October.
Leonard was born in Westmount, Quebec on September 21st, 1934 to a middle-class but influential Jewish family. His paternal grandfather Lyon Cohen was the founding president of the Canadian Jewish Congress.
After schooling at McGill University in Montreal, and Columbia in New York City, he wrote and published works of poetry and fiction in the 1950’s and 60’s but was disappointed with the lack of financial success so he moved onto writing music.
He first gained success by writing “Suzanne” for Judy Collins who recorded it in 1966, before he was approached by Columbia records to record his own album.
In 1967 “Songs of Leonard Cohen” was released and while he initially clashed with the producer on the sound of the album – it was critically acclaimed and many folk singers including James Taylor and Judy Collins went on to cover many songs from the album.
Probably his best known hit – Hallelujah – was recorded for 1984’s Various Positions album and while not a hit at the time (it became a hit for John Cale in 1991) it’s become one of the most recorded covers of all time being imitated by at least 200 artists in several different languages.
Recently, Cohen was interviewed for the release of his latest album by The New Yorker. He spoke about what he had left undone and that he’d hoped to finish poems and songs that were half-written.
“I don’t think I’ll be able to finish those songs, but who knows.”
“I’m ready to die. I hope it’s not too uncomfortable. That’s about it for me.”
Leonard Cohen has died at the age of 82.