Leonard Cohen one of the greatest songwriters of all time has passed away at the age of 82 according to his label Sony Music Canada—who released this statement via his official Facebook page yesterday:
“It is with profound sorrow we report that legendary poet, songwriter and artist, Leonard Cohen has passed away,” the statement read.
“We have lost one of music’s most revered and prolific visionaries. A memorial will take place in Los Angeles at a later date. The family requests privacy during their time of grief.”
Before saying so long—Cohen had recently left us with a new album that was released on October 21st entitled You Want it Darker. Even more heartbreaking than Leonard Cohen’s passing, is the fact that he recently penned one final love letter to his dying muse Marianne Ihlen (the inspiration for So Long Marianne), which was read to her by friend Jan Christian Mollestad:
“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.
And you know that I’ve always loved you for your beauty and your wisdom, but I don’t need to say anything more about that because you know all about that. But now, I just want to wish you a very good journey. Goodbye old friend. Endless love, see you down the road.”
I could write a whole essay on the biographical influences of Leonard Cohen on my life—beyond the fact that I literally moved from Manhattan to Berlin. Instead, however, I will focus on some of the profound influences Leonard Cohen had on Post-Punk artists that we cover on this site:
Andrew Eldritch, for example named his band “The Sisters Of Mercy” after the 1967 Leonard Cohen Song. On spending time with his hero Cohen, Eldritch had this to say:
“He was effortlessly brilliant. A king among men. The most remarkable thing about him was that he was open and engaging.
He listened as much as he spoke. We learned from each other. As a fan of the musician and of the man, that was humbling and inspiring.”
Nick Cave has covered Leonard Cohen, perhaps more so than any other artist in his repertoire of covers, performing atleast 9 songs of the Canadian singer/songwriter:
- Diamonds In The Mine
- Don’t Go Home With Your Hard-On
- Dress Rehearsal Rag
- I’m Your Man
- Just Like a King
- Tower Of Song
Besides Avalanche, a noteworthy cover of Cohen by Cave is that of Suzanne
On his love for Leonard Cohen, Cave had this to say on the matter in a French interview from 1994:
“I discovered Leonard Cohen with Songs of Love and Hate. I listened to this record for hours in a friend’s house. I was very young and I believe this was the first record that really had an effect on me.
In the past, I only listened to my brother’s records. I liked what he liked, followed him like a sheep. Leonard Cohen was the first one I discovered by myself. He is the symbol of my musical independence. I remember these other guys that came to my friend’s house that thought Songs of Love and Hate was too depressing. I’ve realized that this ‘depression’ theory was ridiculous.
The sadness of Cohen was inspirer, it gave me a lot of energy. I always remember all this when someone says that my records are morbid or depressing.”
Echo and The Bunnymen singer Ian McCulloch also idolized Leonard Cohen, and recounts his meeting of meeting of the legend in a Dublin hotel bar at the age of 29:
“It was at hotel bar. I tapped him on the shoulder. He looked lost. I said, ‘I just want to say I think you’re the best. I’m going to your show.’ And just in case he doesn’t know who the hell I am, I’ll give him a copy of Ocean Rain. It was on a pre-recorded cassette with cellophane on it. I gave it to him and he looked at it and said, ‘People tell me you’re an amazing poet.’ I said, ‘I don’t know about that.’ I was very shy at 29. I wasn’t used to being that coy or going red when I met people.
Cohen said, ‘I thought you’d say hello in London.’ He’d already been there and I had a pass to the dressing room but I just didn’t. In the bar in Dublin it was just me and him so I wasn’t self-conscious. I bought him a bottle of red wine. He brought me onto the tour bus and introduced me to the band. He opened it and shared it out with everyone. It was a thrill.” -Read more
“He said all men will be sailors then until the sea shall free them”
Rest in peace