Leonard Cohen R.I.P. | Under the Radar | Music Blog for the Indie Music Magazine
Monday, July 22nd, 2024  

Leonard Cohen R.I.P.

Legendary Singer/Songwriter Has Passed Away at Age 82

Nov 10, 2016 Leonard Cohen Photography by Wendy Lynch Redfern (for Under the Radar) Bookmark and Share

After the deaths of David Bowie and Prince and such a divisive and crazy election, could 2016 get any sadder? Well, yes, because legendary singer/songwriter/poet Leonard Cohen has died. He was 82. The news was broken on Cohen’s official Facebook page, which stated: “We have lost one of music’s most revered and prolific visionaries.” Only a few weeks back, on October 21st, Cohen released his latest album, his 14th, You Want It Darker, which was produced by his son Adam Cohen.

Cohen was born in Westmount, Quebec, Canada on September 21, 1934. He started as a poet and was a fringe figure in Andy Warhol’s Factory scene. In 1967 he released his debut album, The Songs of Leonard Cohen. His best-known song might be the often-covered “Hallelujah,” its most famous cover being Jeff Buckley’s 1994 version. In 2008 he was inducted into the Rock & Roll Hall of Fame.

My first introduction to Cohen was via the 1990 film Pump Up the Volume in which Christian Slater plays a high school student and pirate radio DJ named Mark Hunter (aka “Happy Harry Hard-on” or “Hard Harry”). One of the most prominent songs in the film was Cohen’s “Everybody Knows,” from his 1988 album I’m Your Man. Mark plays the song on his show and later in the film a cover of the song by Concrete Blonde plays in the climax. Alas it was the Concrete Blonde version that appeared on the soundtrack album and not Cohen’s. With lyrics like “Everybody knows that the dice are loaded” and “Everybody knows that the good guys lost,” it’s a fitting song for this week and the aftermath of Donald Trump’s election victory.

In an interview Cohen gave to The New Yorker last month he gave hints that he wasn’t well, saying he was “ready to die.” When discussing his unfinished songs and poems, he said: “I don’t think I’ll be able to finish those songs. Maybe, who knows? And maybe I’ll get a second wind, I don’t know. But I don’t dare attach myself to a spiritual strategy. I don’t dare do that. I’ve got some work to do. Take care of business. I am ready to die. I hope it’s not too uncomfortable. That’s about it for me.”

Marianne Ihlen, the inspiration behind some of Cohen’s songs (such as “Bird on the Wire” and “So Long, Marianne”) also passed away earlier this year. Cohen sent her a letter just two days before her death that included the following: “Well 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.”

Below is the official Facebook post and some of his songs. Also, Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau has posted to Twitter about Cohen’s passing and that’s just below too.


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