Jump to Main ContentJump to Primary Navigation

Leonard Cohen, singer and poet, dies aged 82

The announcement was made via Mr Cohen’s official Facebook page early this morning.

    The Canadian singer and poet Leonard Cohen has died, aged 82.

    Mr Cohen died, at his home in Los Angeles, on 7 November but the announcement was only made via his official Facebook page early this morning.

    It read: ‘It is with profound sorrow we report that legendary poet, songwriter and artist, Leonard Cohen has passed away.

    ‘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.’

    His songs, such as Suzanne and Hallelujah, reached far beyond the 1960s singer-songwriter milieu from which he emerged and became much-performed standards by artists as varied as Judy Collins and Alexandra Burke.

    Hallelujah, in particular, became near-ubiquitous for a time. Mr Cohen himself said “"I was just reading a review of a movie called Watchmen that uses it and the reviewer said – 'Can we please have a moratorium on "Hallelujah" in movies and television shows?' And I kind of feel the same way...I think it's a good song, but I think too many people sing it."

    Leonard Cohen published his first poems in the Canadian magazine CIV/n. while he was still at McGill University in the 1950s.

    He became disillusioned with the poor earnings of a poet, and decided to try his luck as a singer in the mid-1960s. After a brief flirtation with Andy Warhol’s New York ‘Factory’ scene – which produced The Velvet Underground – he moved on to performing at folk festivals around the US and eventually came to the notice of Columbia Records.

    Leonard Cohen: the mensch who always remembered his past

    His reputation as a songwriter’s songwriter grew almost immediately. While critics sometimes poked fun at his somewhat lugubrious vocal style the quality of his material was undeniable.

    In his later career he formed a vocal partnership with Jennifer Warnes, who appeared on a number of his albums.

    While Mr Cohen became fascinated with Buddhism and was even ordained a Buddhist monk in 1996, he continued to consider himself Jewish: "I'm not looking for a new religion.” He said “I'm quite happy with the old one, with Judaism."

    In a 2009 New York Times article Larry Rohter wrote: "Mr. Cohen keeps the Sabbath even while on tour and performed for Israeli troops during the 1973 Arab-Israeli war. So how does he square that faith with his continued practice of Zen? 'Allen Ginsberg asked me the same question many years ago,' he said.

    'Well, for one thing, in the tradition of Zen that I've practised, there is no prayerful worship and there is no affirmation of a deity. So theologically there is no challenge to any Jewish belief.' "

    At one of his 2009 concerts Leonard Cohen spoke eloquently about the Israeli-Palestinian NGO, Bereaved Families for Peace, and echoed the meaning of his name by blessing the crowd with the birkat kohanim.

    Many leading figures from the worlds of politics and entertainment paid tribute to the singer-songwriter this morning, including Bette Midler, Mia Farrow and Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau.

World

Rabbi among Mexico quake victims

Daniel Sugarman

Monday, September 25, 2017

Rabbi among Mexico quake victims
World

'Jews should pay for their own security' say Swiss

Daniel Sugarman

Sunday, December 4, 2016

'Jews should pay for their own security' say Swiss
World

Australian abuse report

Henry Benjamin

Australian abuse report
World

Trump to crackdown on Iran and its "terrorist minions", says Pence

JC Reporter

Sunday, February 26, 2017

Trump to crackdown on Iran and its "terrorist minions", says Pence
World

It's Chanucah Song time!

Michael Moran

Thursday, December 1, 2016

It's Chanucah Song time!
World

Trump picks ex-Goldman Sachs banker as Treasury...

JC Reporter

Thursday, December 1, 2016

Trump picks ex-Goldman Sachs banker as Treasury...
World

Netanyahu invited to meet Abbas in Paris

Rosa Doherty

Wednesday, December 7, 2016

Netanyahu invited to meet Abbas in Paris
World

Will the Austrian election make Norbert Hofer E...

Sonia Zhuravlyova

Will the Austrian election make Norbert Hofer E...
World

'Neo-Nazi codes' appear in German supermarket a...

Toby Axelrod

Thursday, December 1, 2016

'Neo-Nazi codes' appear in German supermarket a...