Truth be told, I was never a big fan of Canadian poet and musician Leonard Cohen. Nor did I dislike him—I was pretty much indifferent. His music simply didn’t turn me on, I didn’t care for his voice, and the only song I really enjoyed (and that to a limited extent) was “Suzanne”—but only the Judy Collins version.
That said, I recognize that many readers here (and many of my friends) were huge fans of Cohen, and that he was enormously influential as a musician. So it’s with sadness I report, as noted on his Facebook page only an hour before I’m writing this, Cohen has died at age 82:
His last album was released only three weeks ago, and he was touring (largely to recoup money taken by an embezzling manager) into his late seventies. There will be more obituaries as the new day dawns in Canada and America, but for now there’s just the BBC and Rolling Stone. Rolling Stone has this poignant ending to his hastily-written obituary:
When the Grand Tour ended in December 2013, Cohen largely vanished from the public eye. In October 2016, he released You Want It Darker, produced by his son Adam. Severe back issues made it difficult for Cohen to leave his home, so Adam placed a microphone on his dining room table and recorded him on a laptop. The album was met with rave reviews, though a New Yorker article timed to its release revealed that he was in very poor health. “I am ready to die,” he said. “I hope it’s not too uncomfortable. That’s about it for me.”
And so it was, to the sadness of his many fans. Here’s perhaps his most famous song, “Hallelujah,” and a photo of an aging Cohen with my favorite mammal:
Do read David Remnick’s New Yorker profile of Cohen published only a month ago.