Dark, Brooding, Somber, Artsy Leonard Cohen Dies at 82…

Leonard Cohen, 1988.
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Leonard Cohen, 1988.
  • Save
Leonard Cohen, 1988.

Leonard Cohen, the dark and artsy singer-songwriter whose career spanned multiple decades, passed away this week.  He was 82.

He’s been compared to Dylan at times, though Leonard Cohen commanded his own lane.  Dark and brooding, measured and deliberate, perhaps Cohen’s music was best enjoyed amongst artsy aficionados.  His deep baritone was his signature, with slower, theatrical, and carnivalesque songs appealing to a die-hard audience.

Maybe Johnny Cash was another apt comparison.  But that’s for the music critics to debate.

Cohen not only enjoyed a multi-decade career, he lived a long, full life.  On November 7th, Cohen passed away at 82.  Word of the death emerged on Thursday, with biographer Sylvie Simmons revealing the news.

Cohen, a Canadian born in Montreal in the 30s, initially gained traction as a poet and writer.  That eventually transitioned into a singer-songwriter existence, which is where his strongest legacy lies.  These days, Cohen’s resonance among younger generations is probably modest, though certainly younger musicians have been influenced by the singer’s work.

But despite being praised throughout his career and heaped with accolades, some critics have question Cohen’s actual musical talent.  His rhythm and timing was often a bit off, with his croaky voice sometimes a tad off tune.  Perhaps his critical groupthink benefited this artist a bit, though Cohen is being lauded as one of the greats upon his death.  And during his lifetime, the awards were aplenty: Rock and Roll Hall of Fame, Canadian Music Hall of Fame, Canadian Songwriters Hall of Fame… the list goes on.

Cohen’s ‘greatest hit’ was ‘Hallelujah,’ ultimately covered by hundreds of artists.  That included Jeff Buckley, part of a stunning trajectory for the track.  Ultimately, it sold millions of copies, from one artist version or another.  The song has also been featured in dozens of films, shows, and is even the focus of a BBC documentary.

Leonard Cohen: 1934-2016. 


4 Responses

  1. Blah blah blah

    Good lord. What a poorly written article. Definitely not fit for a blog about the music business read by people who actually know about music.

  2. Suzanne

    I know with deaths you don’t have much time to prepare, but this article is really disappointing and poorly written. And what’s with the namedropping? Talk about his life, his achievements, his incredible songwriting, and then let that be. I don’t know if this should be the time to debate whether he had appropriate lyrical scan or whether he’s more like Dylan or Cash.

    • Vail, CO

      Marginally talented singer, good voice, but no sense of rhythm. B+ at best. And yeah Cash, Dylan, those guys are not even comparable, totally different level.

    • Paul Resnikoff

      Guess I was never a huge fan, as you can probably tell. Personally, I need more of a beat, and I’m not one for the slow-tempo troubadour soundtrack with brooding vocals. But hey, that’s just my anterior orifice on that matter. Just being honest.

      Now back to that article you were reading on Donald Trump.