Leonard Cohen
Canadian singer-songwriter
Leonard Cohen
Leonard Norman Cohen, CC, GOQ is a Canadian singer-songwriter, musician, poet, and novelist. His work often explores religion, isolation, sexuality, and interpersonal relationships. Cohen has been inducted into the American Rock and Roll Hall of Fame and both the Canadian Music Hall of Fame and the Canadian Songwriters Hall of Fame. He is also a Companion of the Order of Canada, the nation's highest civilian honour.
Biography
Leonard Cohen's personal information overview.
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News
News abour Leonard Cohen from around the web
From Thomas Wolfe to Sid Vicious, Artists and the Chelsea Hotel
NYTimes - 6 days
The creative people associated with the Bohemian retreat managed for 40 years by Stanley Bard also included Dylan Thomas, Arthur C. Clarke and Leonard Cohen.
Article Link:
NYTimes article
Grammys may have missed an opportunity to salute Leonard Cohen and Merle Haggard
LATimes - 7 days
Barley an hour after the conclusion of Sunday’s Grammy Awards, an email arrived from a friend expressing disappointment at the telecast making short shrift of the deaths of two of the greatest musical poets of the last century, Leonard Cohen and Merle Haggard. Both were name- and photo-checked...
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LATimes article
Footsteps: Exploring the Montreal That Leonard Cohen Loved
NYTimes - 11 days
‘I feel at home when I’m in Montreal — in a way that I don’t feel anywhere else,’ the late, great songwriter once said.
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NYTimes article
Leonard Cohen's Favorite Greek Singer: Athena Andreadis
Huffington Post - 16 days
Many years ago while visiting Greece, Leonard Cohen was asked who his favorite Greek singer was. "Athena," he replied without hesitation. While making his final CD, "You Want It Darker," Cohen found out that Athena had moved to Los Angeles and immediately asked her to sing the chorus of his song "Traveling Light." Before moving to Los Angeles, Athena had been on a dynamic trajectory in Europe releasing three albums and performing at the Glastonbury Festival, Royal Festival Hall and throughout France and Greece. The Guardian called her "brave and original" and The Daily Mail wrote that Athena was "Radiating class and oodles of talent... a voice blessed... this rare diamond ought to shine." Here in the U.S., Billboard hailed her as "a talented rising pop star" with "a voice blessed." Produced by Ethan Allen, Athena's debut U.S. CD "Ready for the Sun" features studio greats Adam Levy (Norah Jones), Deron Johnson (Miles Davis), Jimmy Paxson (Stevie Nicks), Michael Ward (Ben Harpe ...
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Huffington Post article
Florida Keys Journal: Bird on a Wire
Huffington Post - 25 days
.You won't regret seeing the egrets in Long Key State Park and here's a fact that you learn when you travel the Golden Orb Nature Trail. In 1886 Egret feathers were so valued for use in women's hats that they sold for twice the price of gold. If you take the over two mile Long Key Bridge to Conch Key you will see all manner of exotic birds competing with the local fishermen who wheel their wagons of bait and tackle to their favorite perches. Looking out on the ocean side, it's a Darwinian Olympics with birds swooping down to nail their prey just as anglers cast their lines, their faces lighting up as they reel in a catch. Leaving the village of Islamorada, the sign reads "catch you later." After you cross Grassy Key, one of the 1700 that you may never have heard of, you will come to the Dolphin Research Center, where you can also watch and learn about sea lions. Here is a typical morning at the DRC, 9:30 Play With Dolphins, 11:30 Manatee session, 12:30 Dolphin Encounter. Remember Flippe ...
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Huffington Post article
Review: ‘Leonard Cohen: Bird on a Wire,’ Portrait of an Artist in Chaos
NYTimes - about 1 month
Tony Palmer’s documentary follows this singer-songwriter in an early phase of his career, during a somewhat disordered 1972 European tour.
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NYTimes article
Listen to Leonard Cohen, More than 40 Years Ago
NYTimes - about 1 month
“Bird on a Wire,” Tony Palmer’s 1974 documentary of Mr. Cohen’s 1972 European concert tour, will be shown at Film Forum.
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NYTimes article
Candid, Never-Before-Seen Photos of Robin Williams, Leonard Cohen, Jay Z and More
NYTimes - about 1 month
Mark Romanek, best known for directing music videos, has snapped his friends for years; now, he’s showing those images for the first time at Colette.
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NYTimes article
Candid, Never-Before-Seen Photos of Robin Williams, Leonard Cohen, Jay Z and More
NYTimes - about 1 month
Mark Romanek, best known for directing music videos, has snapped his friends for years; now, he’s showing those images for the first time at Colette.
Article Link:
NYTimes article
Dear 2016, I'd like a Refund
Huffington Post - about 1 month
What can be said about 2016? It was a year that began with the death of Ziggy Stardust and ended with the keys of the free world being handed over to a bright orange pus-spewing reality TV star. According to Chinese astrology 2016 was the year of the monkey. A cynic would tell you that 2016 was a comic existential farce. An optimist would try and comfort you by saying that at least 2016 wasn't the uneventful mediocrity that 2015 was. And if you asked a layman they would tell you that 2016 was the Year of the Suck It was the year that David Bowie, Prince, Lemmy Kilmister, Leonard Cohen, Merle Haggard and Sharon Jones left us and Justin Bieber came back. It was a year where nobody was safe. Not Carol Brady, Radio Raheem or Willie Wonka. Not Harper Lee or Grizzly Adams. Not Muhammad Ali or Abe Vigoda. In 2016 the grim reaper ran as rampant as Jason Voorhees at a secluded summer camp ripe with oversexed teenagers. The Summer Olympics tried to tow us out of this big muddy o ...
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Huffington Post article
Among Deaths in 2016, a Heavy Toll in Pop Music
NYTimes - about 2 months
The deaths of David Bowie, Prince and Leonard Cohen drew considerable attention in a year that also claimed Muhammad Ali and Fidel Castro.
Article Link:
NYTimes article
Among Deaths in 2016, a Heavy Toll in Pop Music
NYTimes - about 2 months
The deaths of David Bowie, Prince and Leonard Cohen drew considerable attention in a year that also claimed Muhammad Ali and Fidel Castro.
Article Link:
NYTimes article
Watch Keith Urban's Incredible Tribute To The Artists We Lost In 2016
Huffington Post - about 2 months
Watch @KeithUrban’s New Year’s Eve tribute to the many great musicians we lost in 2016 https://t.co/rEfVsRYaY2 https://t.co/gaSwYME8bZ — CNN (@CNN) January 1, 2017 The world of music lost some of its greatest voices in 2016.  In the final moments of the year, country music star Keith Urban paid tribute to some of those legendary entertainers with a medley of songs from Leonard Cohen, Glenn Frey, David Bowie, Merle Haggard and Prince.  He was joined onstage by his wife, actress Nicole Kidman, during the event, which was broadcast on CNN. Check out his emotional tribute above.  -- This feed and its contents are the property of The Huffington Post, and use is subject to our terms. It may be used for personal consumption, but may not be distributed on a website.
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Huffington Post article
Among Deaths in 2016, a Heavy Toll in Pop Music
NYTimes - about 2 months
The deaths of David Bowie, Prince and Leonard Cohen drew considerable attention in a year that also claimed Muhammad Ali and Fidel Castro.
Article Link:
NYTimes article
Among Deaths in 2016, a Heavy Toll in Pop Music
NYTimes - about 2 months
The deaths of David Bowie, Prince and Leonard Cohen drew considerable attention in a year that also claimed Muhammad Ali and Fidel Castro.
Article Link:
NYTimes article
On the Culture Front: Falsettos, Stephin Merritt, Andrew Bird, and more
Huffington Post - about 2 months
I saw "Falsettos" the day after the election in a haze of despair. The woman sitting next to me quietly sobbed throughout the show, and I felt tears welling up when Stephanie J. Block sang, "I'm tired...of all the happy men who rule the world," in her rousing rendition of "Trina's Song." Trina's world is falling apart. Her marriage has been shattered by the news her husband is gay, and her mind is spinning to find a scenario that keeps her family intact. The thought jumps one step further in the chorus' refrain that laments the patriarchy. William Finn's frantic score matches the intensity of the neurotic characters. Multiple thought lines often run parallel through the dynamic and frenzied songs until they clash in a moment of color clarity. A tragedy wrapped in farce, "Falsettos" makes a vivid case for the value of families outside the traditional nuclear ones extolled by social conservatives. While William Finn and James Lapine wrote "Falsettos" at the beginning of the Reagan adminis ...
Article Link:
Huffington Post article
Timeline
Learn about memorable moments in the evolution of Leonard Cohen
    FORTIES
  • 2016
    Cohen's fourteenth album, You Want It Darker, is slated to be released on 21 October 2016.
    More Details Hide Details Cohen had a brief phase of being interested in Scientology, possibly seen in a line in "Famous Blue Raincoat" ("Did you ever go clear?"). Themes of political and social justice also recur in Cohen's work, especially in later albums. In "Democracy", he both acknowledges political problems and celebrates the hopes of reformers: "from the wars against disorder/ from the sirens night and day/ from the fires of the homeless/ from the ashes of the gay/ Democracy is coming to the USA." He has made the observation in "Tower of Song" that "the rich have got their channels in the bedrooms of the poor/ And there's a mighty judgment coming." In the title track of The Future he recasts this prophecy on a pacifist note: "I've seen the nations rise and fall/ / But love's the only engine of survival." In "Anthem", he promises that "the killers in high places who say their prayers out loud/ are gonna hear from me."
    Marianne died on July 28, 2016.
    More Details Hide Details Cohen's farewell letter to Marianne was read at her funeral, stating that "... 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."
    On May 18, 2016 United States District Judge Stephen Victor Wilson ordered the dismissal of Kelley Lynch's "RICO" suit against Leonard Cohen and his lawyers Robert Kory and Michelle Rice of Kory & Rice, LLP as "legally and/or factually patently frivolous."
    More Details Hide Details
  • 2014
    Cohen released his thirteenth album Popular Problems on 24 September 2014.
    More Details Hide Details The album includes "A Street", which he had previously recited in 2006, during promotion of his book of poetry Book of Longing, and later printed twice, as "A Street" in March 2, 2009 issue of The New Yorker magazine, and appeared as "Party's Over" in Everyman's Library edition of Poems and Songs in 2011.
    On 22 September 2014, one day after his 80th birthday, Cohen released his 13th studio album, Popular Problems, again to positive reviews.
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  • 2013
    Cohen then toured Australia and New Zealand in November and December 2013.
    More Details Hide Details
    Cohen returned to North America in the spring of 2013 with concerts in the United States and Canada.
    More Details Hide Details A summer tour of Europe happened shortly afterwards.
  • 2012
    On 12 August 2012, Cohen embarked on a new European tour in support of Old Ideas, adding a violinist to his 2008–2010 tour band, now nicknamed Unified Heart Touring Band, and following the same three-hours setlist structure as in 2008–2012 tour, with addition of number of songs from Old Ideas.
    More Details Hide Details The European leg ended on 7 October, after concerts in Belgium, Ireland (Royal Hospital), France (Olympia in Paris), England (Wembley Arena in London), Spain, Portugal, Germany, Italy (Arena in Verona), Croatia (Arena in Pula), Denmark, Sweden, Norway, Finland, Romania and Turkey. The second leg of the Old Ideas World Tour took place in the US and Canada in November and December, with 56 shows altogether on both legs.
    The album received uniformly positive reviews from publications like Rolling Stone, the Chicago Tribune, and The Guardian. At a record release party for the album in January 2012, Cohen spoke with The New York Times reporter Jon Pareles who states that "mortality was very much on his mind and in his songs this album."
    More Details Hide Details Pareles goes to characterize the album as "an autumnal album, musing on memories and final reckonings, but it also has a gleam in its eye. It grapples once again with topics Mr. Cohen has pondered throughout his career: love, desire, faith, betrayal, redemption. Some of the diction is biblical; some is drily sardonic."
    Leonard Cohen's twelfth studio album, Old Ideas, was released worldwide on 31 January 2012, and it soon became the highest charting album of Cohen's entire career, reaching #1 positions in Canada, Norway, Finland, Netherlands, Spain, Belgium, Poland, Hungary, Czech Republic, Croatia, New Zealand, and top ten positions in United States, Australia, France, Portugal, UK, Scotland, Austria, Denmark, Sweden, Ireland, Germany, and Switzerland, competing for number one position with Lana Del Rey's debut album Born to Die, released the same day.
    More Details Hide Details The album was produced by Cohen, Ed Sanders, and Patrick Leonard (better known for long time Madonna collaborations), who was credited for production, co-writing, engineering and programming of four songs off the album. Anjani Thomas and 2008–10 tour band member Dino Soldo produced one song retrospectively, with members of Cohen's 2008–10 tour band playing prominently on number of songs. Still, only one song was performed fully with the tour band, the leading single for the album, "Darkness", already played on 2009 and 2010 shows. Sharon Robinson, Dana Glover and Jennifer Warnes contributed most of the backing female vocals. The album was announced with free online single and lyric video for "Show Me the Place". The lyrics for the song "Going Home" were published as a poem in The New Yorker magazine in January 2012, prior to the record's release. The entire album has been streamed online by NPR on 22 January and on 23 January by The Guardian.
    A new biography, I'm Your Man: The Life of Leonard Cohen, written by Sylvie Simmons, was published in October 2012.
    More Details Hide Details The book is the second major biography of Cohen (Ira Nadel's 1997 biography Various Positions was the first).
    Cohen has announced that those songs will be included on the follow-up to Old Ideas, unofficially announcing very close release date, what was not confirmed as he embarked to the new world tour in August 2012.
    More Details Hide Details
    Sylvie Simmons explains in her 2012 biography on Cohen that Kelley Lynch, Cohen's longtime manager, "took care of Leonard's business affairs … was not simply his manager but a close friend, almost part of the family."
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  • 2011
    In 2011 Lorca gave birth to a daughter, with biological father Rufus Wainwright.
    More Details Hide Details
    In 2011, Cohen's poetical output was represented in Everyman's Library Pocket Poets, in a selection Poems and Songs edited by Robert Faggen.
    More Details Hide Details
  • 2010
    On 14 September 2010, Sony Music released a live CD/DVD album, Songs from the Road, showcasing Cohen's 2008 and 2009 live performances.
    More Details Hide Details
    The tour continued through August, with stops in Austria, Belgium, Germany, Scandinavia, and Ireland, where on 31 July 2010 Cohen performed at Lissadell House in County Sligo.
    More Details Hide Details It was Cohen's eighth Irish concert in just two years after a hiatus of more than 20 years. On 12 August, Cohen played the 200th show of the tour in Scandinavium, Gothenburg, Sweden, where he had already played in October 2008; the show was four hours long. The Fall leg of the European tour started in early September with an open-air show in Florence, Italy, and continued through Germany, Portugal, Spain, Switzerland, and Austria, where Cohen performed at the famous open-air opera stage of Römersteinbruch bei St. Margarethen im Burgenland, and then continued with dates in France, Poland, Russia (Moscow's State Kremlin Palace), Slovenia and Slovakia. In Slovenia's brand new Arena Stožice, Cohen accepted Croatia's Porin music award for best foreign live video programme, which he won for his Live in London DVD. Cohen's last European show was held in Sibamac Arena, in Bratislava, Slovakia. The shows in late September and October were performed without Sharon Robinson, who left this tour leg due to severe illness; the setlist omitted songs co-written by her, but old Cohen standards were added instead.
    In December 2010, the national daily newspaper Vjesnik ranked Cohen's show among the five most important cultural event in Croatia in 2010, in the poll among dozen of intellectuals and writers; it was the only event ranked which was not actually Croatian.
    More Details Hide Details
    Officially billed as the "World Tour 2010", the tour started on 25 July 2010 in Arena Zagreb, Croatia, where in the week of the show 16 of Cohen's albums simultaneously entered the Croatian Top 40, while Cohen's work was presented by the translation of Book of Mercy, two of Cohen's biographies, and with selection of poems in major literary magazine Quorum, while there was also the translation of Linda Hutcheon's work on Cohen's literary output.
    More Details Hide Details
  • THIRTIES
  • 2009
    The 2009 world tour earned a reported $9.5 million, putting Cohen at number 39 on Billboard magazine's list of the year's top musical "money makers".
    More Details Hide Details
    On 24 September 2009, at the Ramat Gan concert, Cohen was highly emotional about the Israeli-Palestinian NGO Bereaved Families for Peace.
    More Details Hide Details He mentioned the organization twice, saying: "I bow my head in respect to the nobility of this enterprise." At the end of the show he blessed the crowd by the Priestly Blessing, a Jewish blessing offered by Kohanim. Cohen's surname derives from this Hebrew word for priest, thus identifying him as a Kohen. The sixth leg of the 2008–2009 world tour went again to US, with fifteen shows in October and November, with the "final" show in San Jose. The final leg included two new songs, "Feels So Good" and "The Darkness". But at that point, Cohen's "World Tour 2010" was already announced with the European dates in March.
    On 18 September 2009, on the stage at a concert in Valencia, Spain, Cohen suddenly fainted halfway through performing his song "Bird on the Wire", the fourth in the two-act set list; Cohen was brought down backstage by his band members and then admitted to local hospital, while the concert was suspended.
    More Details Hide Details It was reported that Cohen had stomach problems, and possibly food poisoning. Three days later, on 21 September, on his 75th birthday, he performed in Barcelona. The show, last in Europe in 2009 and rumoured to be the last European concert ever, attracted many international fans, who lighted the green candles honouring Cohen's birthday, leading Cohen to give a special speech of thanks for the fans and the Leonard Cohen Forum. The last concert of this leg was held in Tel Aviv, Israel, on 24 September, three days after Cohen's 75th birthday, at Ramat Gan Stadium. The event was surrounded by public discussion due to a cultural boycott of Israel proposed by a number of musicians. Nevertheless, tickets for the Tel Aviv concert, Cohen's first performance in Israel since 1980, sold out in less than 24 hours. It was announced that the proceeds from the sale of the 47,000 tickets would go into a charitable fund in partnership with Amnesty International and would be used by Israeli and Palestinian peace groups for projects providing health services to children and bringing together Israeli veterans and former Palestinian fighters and the families of those killed in the conflict. However, on 17 August 2009, Amnesty International released a statement saying they were withdrawing from any involvement with the concert and its proceeds. Amnesty International later stated that its withdrawal was not due to the boycott but "the lack of support from Israeli and Palestinian NGOs."
    On 1 July 2009, Cohen started his marathon European tour, his third in two years.
    More Details Hide Details The itinerary mostly included sport arenas and open air Summer festivals in Germany, UK, France, Spain, Ireland (the show at O2 in Dublin won him the second Meteor Music Award in a row), but also performances in Serbia in the Belgrade Arena, in the Czech Republic, Hungary, Turkey, and again in Romania. On 3 August, Cohen gave an open-air show at the Piazza San Marco in Venice.
  • 2008
    His performance of Hallelujah was widely regarded as one of the highlights of the festival, thus repeating the major success of the 2008 Glastonbury appearance.
    More Details Hide Details The performance has been included on 2010 Songs from the Road live release. During this leg, Cohen regularly performed the new song, "Lullaby".
    The third leg of Cohen's World Tour 2008–2009 encompassed New Zealand and Australia from 20 January to 10 February 2009.
    More Details Hide Details In January 2009, The Pacific Tour first came to New Zealand. Simon Sweetman in The Dominion Post (Wellington) of 21 January wrote "It is hard work having to put this concert in to words so I'll just say something I have never said in a review before and will never say again: this was the best show I have ever seen." The Sydney Entertainment Centre show on 28 January sold out rapidly, which motivated promoters to announce a second show at the venue. The first performance was well-received, and the audience of 12,000 responded with five standing ovations. In response to hearing about the devastation to the Yarra Valley region of Victoria in Australia, Cohen donated $200,000 to the Victorian Bushfire Appeal in support of those affected by the extensive Black Saturday bushfires that razed the area just weeks after his performance at the Rochford Winery in the A Day on the Green concert. Melbourne's Herald Sun newspaper reported: "Tour promoter Frontier Touring said $200,000 would be donated on behalf of Cohen, fellow performer Paul Kelly and Frontier to aid victims of the bushfires."
    In September, October and November 2008, Cohen gave a marathon tour of Europe, including stops in Austria, Ireland, Poland, Romania, Italy, Germany, and Scandinavia.
    More Details Hide Details In London, he played two more shows at the O2 Arena and two additional shows at the Royal Albert Hall. On 21 March 2009, Cohen released Live in London, recorded on 17 July 2008 at London's O2 Arena and released on DVD and as a two-CD set. The album contains 25 songs and is over two-and-a-half hours long. It was the first official DVD in Cohen's recording career. The quotation on the album referred to one hundred five-star reviews the tour gained in the international press in 2008.
    He also played two shows in London's O2 Arena, while in Dublin he was the first performer to play an open-air concert at IMMA (Royal Hospital Kilmainham) ground, performing there on 13, 14 and 15 June 2008.
    More Details Hide Details In 2009, the performances were awarded Ireland's Meteor Music Award as the best international performance of the year.
    13 January 2008, Cohen quietly announced a long-anticipated concert tour.
    More Details Hide Details The tour, Cohen's first in 15 years, began 11 May in Fredericton, New Brunswick to wide critical acclaim, and was extended until Winter of 2010. The schedule of the first leg in Summer of 2008 encompassed Canada and Europe, including performances at The Big Chill, the Montreal Jazz Festival, and on the Pyramid Stage at the 2008 Glastonbury Festival on 29 June 2008. His performance at Glastonbury was hailed by many as the highlight of the festival, and his performance of "Hallelujah" as the sun went down received a rapturous reception and a lengthy ovation from a packed Pyramid Stage field.
  • 2006
    In 2006, Philip Glass composed music to Cohen's 2006 book of poetry Book of Longing.
    More Details Hide Details Following the series of live performances which included Glass on keyboards, Cohen's recorded spoken text, four voices (soprano, mezzo-soprano, tenor, and bass-baritone), and other instruments, and as well the screenings of Cohen's artworks and drawings, Glass' label Orange Mountain Music released a double CD with the recording of the work, entitled Book of Longing. A Song Cycle based on the Poetry and Artwork of Leonard Cohen.
    On 13 May 2006, Cohen made his first public appearance in thirteen years, at an in-store event at a bookstore in Toronto.
    More Details Hide Details Approximately 3000 people turned up for the event, causing the streets surrounding the bookstore to be closed. He sang two of his earliest and best-known songs: "So Long, Marianne" and "Hey, That's No Way To Say Goodbye", accompanied by the Barenaked Ladies and Ron Sexsmith. Also appearing with him was Anjani, the two promoting her new CD along with his book.
    Cohen's book of poetry and drawings, Book of Longing, was published in May 2006; in March a Toronto-based retailer offered signed copies to the first 1500 orders placed online.
    More Details Hide Details All 1500 sold within hours. The book quickly topped bestseller lists in Canada.
  • 2005
    On 8 October 2005, Cohen sued Kelley Lynch, alleging that she had misappropriated over US $5 million from Cohen's retirement fund leaving only $150,000.
    More Details Hide Details Cohen was sued in turn by other former business associates. These events placed him in the public spotlight, including a cover feature on him with the headline "Devastated!" in Canada's Maclean's magazine. In March 2006, Cohen won a civil suit and was awarded US$9 million by a Los Angeles County superior court. Lynch, however, ignored the suit and did not respond to a subpoena issued for her financial records. As a result, it has been widely reported that Cohen may never be able to collect the awarded amount. In 2007, US. District Judge Lewis T. Babcock dismissed a claim by Cohen for more than US$4.5 million against Colorado investment firm Agile Group, and in 2008 he dismissed a defamation suit that Agile Group filed against Cohen. Cohen has been under new management since April 2005. On 1 March 2012, Sylvie Simmons notes that Kelley Lynch was arrested in Los Angeles for "violating a permanent protective order that forbade her from contacting Leonard, which she had ignored repeatedly. On April 13, the jury found her guilty on all charges. On April 18 she was sentenced to eighteen months in prison and five years probation." Cohen told that court, "It gives me no pleasure to see my onetime friend shackled to a chair in a court of law, her considerable gifts bent to the services of darkness, deceit, and revenge. It is my prayer that Ms. Lynch will take refuge in the wisdom of her religion, that a spirit of understanding will convert her heart from hatred to remorse, from anger to kindness, from the deadly intoxication of revenge to the lowly practices of self-reform."
  • 2004
    However, Simmons notes that in late 2004, Cohen's daughter Lorca began to suspect Lynch of financial impropriety, and when Cohen checked his bank accounts, he noticed that he had unknowingly paid a credit card bill of Lynch's for $75,000 and also found that most of the money in his accounts was gone (including money from his retirement accounts and charitable trust funds).
    More Details Hide Details Cohen would discover that this had actually begun as early as 1996 when Lynch started selling Cohen's music publishing rights despite the fact that Cohen had no financial incentive to do so at the time.
    In October 2004, Cohen released Dear Heather, largely a musical collaboration with jazz chanteuse (and current romantic partner) Anjani Thomas, although Sharon Robinson returned to collaborate on three tracks (including a duet).
    More Details Hide Details As light as the previous album was dark, Dear Heather reflects Cohen's own change of mood – he has said in a number of interviews that his depression has lifted in recent years, which he attributed to Zen Buddhism. In an interview following his induction into the Canadian Songwriters' Hall of Fame, Cohen explained that the album was intended to be a kind of notebook or scrapbook of themes, and that a more formal record had been planned for release shortly afterwards, but that this was put on ice by his legal battles with his ex-manager. He decided not to promote the album at all, but in 2005 he released a home video accompanying the song "Because Of", shot by his daughter Lorca Cohen, while there were no official album singles. Blue Alert, an album of songs co-written by Anjani and Cohen, was released on 23 May 2006 to positive reviews. Sung by Anjani, who according to one reviewer " sounds like Cohen reincarnated as woman... though Cohen doesn't sing a note on the album, his voice permeates it like smoke." The album includes a recent musical setting of Cohen's "As the mist leaves no scar", a poem originally published in The Spice-Box of Earth in 1961 and adapted by Phil Spector as "True Love Leaves No Traces" on Death of a Ladies' Man album. Blue Alert also included Anjani's own version of "Nightingale", performed by her and Cohen on his Dear Heather, as well the country song "Never Got to Love You", apparently made after an early demo version of Cohen's own 1992 song "Closing Time".
  • 2001
    After two years of production, Cohen returned to music in 2001 with the release of Ten New Songs, featuring a heavy influence from producer and co-composer Sharon Robinson.
    More Details Hide Details The album, recorded at Cohen's and Robinson's home studios – Still Life Studios, includes the song "Alexandra Leaving", a transformation of the poem "The God Abandons Antony", by the Greek poet Constantine P. Cavafy. The album was a major hit for Cohen in Canada and Europe, and he supported it with the hit single "In My Secret Life" and accompanying video shot by Floria Sigismondi.
  • TWENTIES
  • 1998
    He began to contribute regularly to The Leonard Cohen Files fan website, emailing new poems and drawings from Book of Longing and early versions of new songs, like "A Thousand Kisses Deep" in September 1998 and Anjani Thomas's story sent on 6 May 1999, the day they were recording "Villanelle for our Time" (released on 2004 Dear Heather album).
    More Details Hide Details The section of The Leonard Cohen Files with Cohen's online writings has been titled "The Blackening Pages".
  • 1997
    In 1997, Cohen oversaw the selection and release of More Best of Leonard Cohen album, which included a previously unreleased track, "Never Any Good", and an experimental piece "The Great Event".
    More Details Hide Details The first was left over from Cohen's unfinished mid-1990s album, which was announced to include songs like "In My Secret Life" (already recited as song-in-progress in 1988) and "A Thousand Kisses Deep", both later re-worked with Sharon Robinson for the 2001 album Ten New Songs. Although around 2000 there was a public impression that Cohen would not resume recording or publishing, he returned to Los Angeles in May 1999.
  • 1996
    Cohen has been involved with Buddhism since the 1970s and was ordained a Buddhist monk in 1996; however, he still considers himself Jewish: "I'm not looking for a new religion.
    More Details Hide Details I'm quite happy with the old one, with Judaism." In his concert in Ramat Gan, Israel, on 24 September 2009, Cohen spoke Jewish prayers and blessings to the audience in Hebrew. He opened the show with the first sentence of Ma Tovu. At the middle he used Baruch Hashem, and he ended the concert reciting the blessing of Birkat Cohanim. Since the late 1970s Cohen has been associated with Buddhist monk and teacher Kyozan Joshu Sasaki roshi (venerable teacher), regularly visiting him at Mount Baldy Zen Center and serving him as personal assistant during Cohen's own reclusion into Mt. Baldy monastery in the 1990s. Sasaki roshi appears as a regular motif or addressee in Cohen's poetry, especially in the Book of Longing, and also took part in a 1997 documentary about Cohen's monastery years, Leonard Cohen: Spring 1996. Cohen's 2001 album Ten New Songs is dedicated to Joshu Sasaki.
    In 1996, Cohen was ordained as a Rinzai Zen Buddhist monk and took the Dharma name Jikan, meaning "silence".
    More Details Hide Details He served as personal assistant to Kyozan Joshu Sasaki Roshi.
  • 1994
    In 1994, Cohen retreated to the Mt.
    More Details Hide Details Baldy Zen Center near Los Angeles, beginning what became five years of seclusion at the center.
  • 1993
    The collection included a selection from all Cohen's books, based on his 1993 books of selected works, Stranger Music, and as well from Book of Longing, with addition of six new song lyrics.
    More Details Hide Details Nevertheless, three of those songs, "A Street", recited in 2006, "Feels So Good", performed live in 2009 and 2010, and "Born in Chains", performed live in 2010, were not released on Cohen's 2012 album Old Ideas, with him being unhappy with the versions of the songs in the last moment; the song "Lullaby", as presented in the book and performed live in 2009, was completely re-recorded for the album, presenting new lyrics on the same melody.
    In 1993, Cohen also published his book of selected poems and songs, Stranger Music: Selected Poems and Songs, on which he had worked since 1989.
    More Details Hide Details It includes a number of new poems from the late 1980s and early 1990s and major revision of his 1978 book Death of a Lady's Man.
    In 1993 Cohen published Stranger Music: Selected Poems and Songs, and in 2006, after 10 years of delays, additions, and rewritings, Book of Longing.
    More Details Hide Details The Book of Longing is dedicated to the poet Irving Layton. Also, during the late 1990s and 2000s, many of Cohen's new poems and lyrics were first published on the fan website The Leonard Cohen Files, including the original version of the poem "A Thousand Kisses Deep" (which Cohen later adapted for a song). Cohen's writing process, as he told an interviewer in 1998, is "like a bear stumbling into a beehive or a honey cache: I'm stumbling right into it and getting stuck, and it's delicious and it's horrible and I'm in it and it's not very graceful and it's very awkward and it's very painful and yet there's something inevitable about it." In 2011 Cohen was awarded the Princess of Asturias Awards for literature.
  • 1992
    In 1992, Cohen released The Future, which urges (often in terms of biblical prophecy) perseverance, reformation, and hope in the face of grim prospects.
    More Details Hide Details Three tracks from the album – "Waiting for the Miracle", "The Future" and "Anthem" – were featured in the movie Natural Born Killers, which also promoted Cohen's work to a new generation of US listeners. As with I'm Your Man, the lyrics on the The Future were dark, and made references to political and social unrest. The title track is reportedly a response to the L.A. unrest of 1992. Cohen promoted the album with two music videos, for "Closing Time" and "The Future", and supported the release with the major tour through Europe, United States and Canada, with the same band as in his 1988 tour, including a second appearance on PBS's Austin City Limits. Some of the Scandinavian shows were broadcast live on the radio. The selection of performances, mostly recorded on the Canadian leg of the tour, was released on 1994 Cohen Live album, but none of the new songs from the album itself were included in the live album.
  • 1990
    The use of the album track "Everybody Knows" from I'm Your Man and "If It Be Your Will" in the 1990 film Pump Up the Volume helped expose Cohen's music to a younger audience.
    More Details Hide Details The song "Everybody Knows" also featured prominently in fellow Canadian Atom Egoyan's 1994 film, Exotica.
  • TEENAGE
  • 1987
    In 1987 Jennifer Warnes's tribute album Famous Blue Raincoat helped restore Cohen's career in the U.S. The following year he released I'm Your Man, which marked a drastic change in his music.
    More Details Hide Details Synthesizers ruled the album, and Cohen's lyrics included more social commentary and dark humor. The album, self-produced by Cohen, remains one of Cohen's most acclaimed albums and was promoted by iconic black-and-white video shot by Dominique Issermann at the beach of Normandy. Cohen supported the record with series of television interviews and an extensive tour of Europe, Canada, and the U.S. Many shows were broadcast on European and U.S. television and radio stations, while Cohen performed for the first time in his career on PBS's Austin City Limits show; he also performed at the Roskilde Festival again, among other dates. The tour gave the basic structure to typical Cohen's three-hours two-acts concert, which he used in his tours in 1993, 2008–10, and 2012. The selection of performances from the late 1980s was released in 1994 on Cohen Live. None of the concerts was released in its entirety, although some were bootlegged. Parts of one of three Royal Albert Hall concerts were used in BBC documentary The Songs from the Life of Leonard Cohen, which was released on laser disc and video tape.
  • 1986
    In 1986 Cohen appeared in the episode "French Twist" of the TV series Miami Vice.
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  • 1985
    In the early 1980s, Cohen co-wrote the rock musical film Night Magic with Lewis Furey, starring Carole Laure and Nick Mancuso (voice-over by Furey); the LP was released in 1985.
    More Details Hide Details Lissauer produced Cohen's next record Various Positions, which was released in December 1984 (and in January and February 1985 in various European countries). The LP included "Dance Me to the End of Love," which was promoted by Cohen's first video clip, directed by French photographer Dominique Issermann, and the frequently covered "Hallelujah." Cohen supported the release of the album with his biggest tour to date, in Europe and Australia, and with his first tour in Canada and the United States since 1975, although Columbia declined to release the album in the United States, where it was pressed in small number of copies by the independent Passport Records. Anjani Thomas, who would become Cohen's partner, and a regular member of Cohen's recording team, joined his touring band. The band performed at the Montreux Jazz Festival, and the Roskilde Festival. They also gave a series of highly emotional and politically controversial concerts in Poland, which was under martial law and performed the song "The Partisan," regarded as the hymn of the Polish Solidarity movement. During the 1980s, almost all of Cohen's songs were performed in the Polish language by Maciej Zembaty.
    Warnes would become a fixture on Cohen's future albums, receiving full co-vocals credit on Cohen's 1985 album Various Positions (although the record was released under Cohen's name, the inside credits say "Vocals by Leonard Cohen and Jennifer Warnes").
    More Details Hide Details In 1987 she recorded an album of Cohen songs, Famous Blue Raincoat.
  • CHILDHOOD
  • 1980
    The tour was filmed by Harry Rasky as The Song of Leonard Cohen, and the film was broadcast on television in 1980.
    More Details Hide Details In 2000, Columbia released an album of live recordings of songs from the 1979 tour, entitled Field Commander Cohen: Tour of 1979; the album (with a different track list) was originally rejected by the label in 1980. During the 1970s, Cohen toured twice with Jennifer Warnes as a backup singer (1972 and 1979).
  • 1979
    Cohen and Elrod split up in 1979.
    More Details Hide Details "Suzanne," one of his best-known songs, refers to Suzanne Verdal, the former wife of a friend, the Québécois sculptor Armand Vaillancourt, rather than Elrod. In the 1980s Cohen was in a relationship with the French photographer Dominique Issermann, who shot his first two music videos for the songs "Dance Me to the End of Love" and "First We Take Manhattan." Today Issermann is most famous for her photo sessions with Carla Bruni and for her fashion photography for magazines such as Elle; in 2010 she was the official photographer of Cohen's world tour. Her photographs were used for the covers of his 1993 book Stranger Music and his album More Best of Leonard Cohen and for the inside booklet of Cohen's 1988 record I'm Your Man (which is dedicated to Issermann with the words "All these songs are for you, D.I.").
    The album was supported by Cohen's major tour with the new band, and Jennifer Warnes and Sharon Robinson on the backing vocals, in Europe in late 1979, and again in Australia, Israel, and Europe in 1980.
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    In 1979 Cohen returned with the more traditional Recent Songs, which blended his acoustic style with jazz and Oriental and Mediterranean influences.
    More Details Hide Details Beginning with this record, Cohen began to co-produce his albums. Produced by Cohen and Henry Lewy (Joni Mitchell's sound engineer), Recent Songs included performances by Passenger, an Austin-based jazz–fusion band that met Cohen through Mitchell. The band helped Cohen create a new sound by featuring instruments like the oud, the Gypsy violin, and the mandolin.
    Cohen did not take part in the album's promotion, but in his tours of 1979, 1980, and 1985, he performed two songs from the album, "Memories" and "Iodine."
    More Details Hide Details However, Cohen chose not to include any of the album's songs on his later compilations More Best of Leonard Cohen and The Essential Leonard Cohen.
  • 1976
    After the European tour of 1976, Cohen again attempted a new change in his style and arrangements; his new 1977 record, Death of a Ladies' Man (one year later, in 1978, Cohen also released a volume of poetry with the coyly revised title, Death of a Lady's Man), was co-written and produced by Phil Spector, known as the inventor of the "Wall of Sound" technique, which backs up pop music with many layers of instrumentation, an approach very different from Cohen's usually minimalist instrumentation.
    More Details Hide Details The recording of the album was fraught with difficulty—Spector reportedly mixed the album in secret studio sessions, and Cohen said Spector once threatened him with a crossbow. Cohen thought the end result "grotesque," but also "semi-virtuous." The record was released by Spector's label, Warner, and was returned to Columbia's Cohen catalogue in the late 1980s.
    In 1976 Cohen, without Lissauer, embarked on a new major European tour with a new band and changes in his sound and arrangements, again, in support of his The Best of Leonard Cohen release (in Europe retitled as Greatest Hits).
    More Details Hide Details Laura Branigan was one of his backup singers during the tour, and the set-list included the unreleased songs "Everybody's Child" (a.k.a. "Blessed Is the Memory") and "Storeroom" (both released as bonus tracks to 2007 reissue of Songs of Leonard Cohen), and the new song "Do I Have to Dance All Night?" (which was released as a single with the song "The Butcher" in a single available in Europe only). From April to July, Cohen gave 55 shows, including his first appearance at the famous Montreux Jazz Festival.
  • 1975
    In late 1975 Cohen and Lissauer performed a short series of shows in the U.S. and Canada with a new band, in support of Cohen's Best Of release.
    More Details Hide Details The tour included new songs from an album in progress, co-written by Cohen and Lissauer and entitled Songs for Rebecca. However, none of the recordings from these live tours with Lissauer were ever officially released, and the album was abandoned in 1976 (however, some of the songs that were meant for Songs for Rebecca were later rewritten by Cohen with Phil Spector for Cohen's 1977 album Death of a Ladies' Man).
  • 1974
    They toured together in 1974 in Europe and in U.S. and Canada in late 1974 and early 1975, in support of Cohen's record New Skin for the Old Ceremony, which was produced and arranged by Lissauer.
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    Beginning around 1974, Cohen's collaboration with pianist and arranger John Lissauer created a live sound praised by the critics.
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  • 1973
    In 1973 Columbia Records released "Leonard Cohen: Live Songs," produced by Bob Johnson, which gathered performances on side one, of "Passing Through," "You Know Who I Am," "Bird on a Wire," "Nancy," and on side two, of "Story of Isaac," "Please Don't Pass Me By," and "Queen Victoria."
    More Details Hide Details These tracks had been recorded in Europe between 1970 and 1972.
  • 1972
    Cohen had a relationship beginning in the 1970s with the Los Angeles artist Suzanne Elrod, with whom he has two children: a son, Adam, born in 1972, and a daughter, Lorca, born in 1974 and named after poet Federico García Lorca.
    More Details Hide Details Adam Cohen began a career as a singer–songwriter in the mid-1990s and fronts a band called Low Millions, while Lorca took part in her father's tour team during the 2008–10 world tour as photographer and videographer. She also shot Cohen's video for the song "Because Of" in 2004, while her "Backstage Sketch" was included on Cohen's 2010 DVD Songs from the Road. She has directed and shot video clips for The Webb Sisters and Kamila Thompson.
  • 1971
    In 1971 the film director Robert Altman featured the songs "The Stranger Song," "Winter Lady," and "Sisters of Mercy" (all from Cohen"s debut album Songs of Leonard Cohen) on the soundtrack for his Western film McCabe & Mrs. Miller.
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  • 1970
    Leonard Cohen Live at the Isle of Wight 1970 was released in 2009.
    More Details Hide Details The 1972 tour was also filmed by Tony Palmer under the title Bird on a Wire, which was shown re-cut under Cohen's guidance in 1974 but released to the public only in 2010, reconstructed according to Palmer's original version.
    In 1970 Cohen toured for the first time, with dates in the United States, Canada, and Europe, and appeared at the Isle of Wight Festival.
    More Details Hide Details He toured again in Europe and Israel in 1972 with some of the same band-mates, including Charlie Daniels and his producer, Bob Johnston; the band was nicknamed The Army. Both tours were represented on the Live Songs LP.
  • OTHER
  • 1967
    In 1967, disappointed with his lack of financial success as a writer, Cohen moved to the United States to pursue a career as a folk music singer–songwriter.
    More Details Hide Details During the 1960s, he was a fringe figure in Andy Warhol's "Factory" crowd. Warhol speculated that Cohen had spent time listening to Nico in clubs and that this had influenced his musical style. His song "Suzanne" became a hit for Judy Collins (who subsequently covered a number of Cohen's other songs, as well), and was for many years his most covered song. After performing at a few folk festivals, he came to the attention of Columbia Records representative John H. Hammond, who signed Cohen to a record deal. Cohen's first album was Songs of Leonard Cohen (1967). Although Hammond was originally supposed to produce the record, he was ill and was replaced by the producer John Simon. Simon and Cohen clashed over instrumentation and mixing; Cohen wanted the album to have a sparse sound, while Simon felt the songs could benefit from arrangements that included strings and horns. According to biographer Ira Nadel, although Cohen was able to make changes to the mix, some of Simon's additions "couldn't be removed from the four-track master tape." Nevertheless, the album became a cult favorite in the U.S., as well as in the UK, where it spent over a year on the album charts. Several of the songs on that first album were covered by other popular folk artists, including James Taylor and Judy Collins.
  • 1966
    In 1966 Cohen also published Parasites of Heaven, a book of poems.
    More Details Hide Details Both Beautiful Losers and Parasites of Heaven received mixed reviews and sold few copies. Subsequently, Cohen published less, with major gaps, concentrating more on recording songs. In 1978 he published his first book of poetry in many years, Death of a Lady's Man (not to be confused with the album he released the previous year with the similar title, Death of a Ladies' Man). It was not until 1984 that Cohen published his next book of poems, Book of Mercy, which won him the Canadian Authors Association Literary Award for Poetry. The book contains 50 prose-poems, influenced by the Hebrew Bible and Zen writings. Cohen himself referred to the pieces as "prayers".
  • 1957
    Consequently, Cohen left New York and returned to Montreal in 1957, working various odd jobs and focusing on the writing of fiction and poetry, including the poems for his next book, The Spice-Box of Earth (1961), which was the first book that Cohen published through the Canadian publishing company McClelland & Stewart.
    More Details Hide Details His father's will provided him with a modest trust income, sufficient to allow him to pursue his literary ambitions for the time, and The Spice-Box of Earth was successful in helping to expand the audience for Cohen's poetry, helping him reach out to the poetry scene in Canada, outside the confines of McGill University. The book also helped Cohen gain critical recognition as an important new voice in Canadian poetry. One of Cohen's biographers, Ira Nadel, stated that "reaction to the finished book was enthusiastic and admiring. The critic Robert Weaver found it powerful and declared that Cohen was 'probably the best young poet in English Canada right now.'" Cohen continued to write poetry and fiction throughout much of the 1960s and preferred to live in quasi-reclusive circumstances after he bought a house on Hydra, a Greek island in the Saronic Gulf. While living and writing on Hydra, Cohen published the poetry collection Flowers for Hitler (1964), and the novels The Favourite Game (1963) and Beautiful Losers (1966). His novel The Favourite Game was an autobiographical bildungsroman about a young man who discovers his identity through writing. Beautiful Losers received a good deal of attention from the Canadian press and stirred up controversy because of a number of sexually graphic passages.
  • 1954
    Cohen published his first poems in March 1954 in the magazine CIV/n.
    More Details Hide Details The issue also included poems by Cohen's poet–professors (who were also on the editorial board), Irving Layton and Louis Dudek. Cohen graduated from McGill the following year with a B.A. degree. His literary influences during this time included William Butler Yeats, Irving Layton (who taught political science at McGill and became both Cohen's mentor and friend), Walt Whitman, Federico García Lorca, and Henry Miller. His first published book of poetry, Let Us Compare Mythologies (1956), was published by Dudek as the first book in the McGill Poetry Series the year after Cohen's graduation. The book contained poems written largely when Cohen was between the ages of 15 and 20, and Cohen dedicated the book to his late father. The well-known Canadian literary critic Northrop Frye wrote a review of the book in which he gave Cohen "restrained praise".
  • 1951
    In 1951 Cohen enrolled at McGill University, where he became president of the McGill Debating Union and won the Chester MacNaghten Literary Competition for the poems "Sparrows" and "Thoughts of a Landsman."
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  • 1948
    Cohen attended Roslyn Elementary School and, from 1948, Westmount High School, where he was involved with the student council and studied music and poetry.
    More Details Hide Details He became especially interested in the poetry of Federico García Lorca. As a teenager, he learned to play the guitar and formed a country–folk group called The Buckskin Boys. Although he initially played a regular acoustic guitar, he soon switched to playing a classical guitar after meeting a young Spanish flamenco guitar player who taught him "a few chords and some flamenco." Cohen frequented Saint Laurent Boulevard, where he went for fun, and ate at places such as the Main Deli Steak House. According to journalist David Sax, the Main Deli was where Cohen and one of his cousins would go to "watch the gangsters, pimps, and wrestlers dance around the night." Cohen also enjoyed visiting the previously raucous bars of Old Montreal as well as Saint Joseph's Oratory, which had the closest restaurant near Westmount where he and his friend Mort Rosengarten could go for coffee and a smoke. After moving out of Westmount, Cohen purchased a place in the previous working-class neighborhood of Montreal's Little Portugal on Saint-Laurent Boulevard where he read his poetry at various surrounding clubs. It is also during his time there in the small neighborhood that he wrote the lyrics to what would become some of his most famous songs.
  • 1934
    Cohen was born on 21 September 1934 in Westmount, Quebec, an English-speaking area of Montreal, into a middle-class Jewish family.
    More Details Hide Details His mother, Marsha (Masha) Klonitsky, was the daughter of a Talmudic writer, Rabbi Solomon Klonitsky-Kline, of Lithuanian Jewish ancestry. His paternal grandfather, whose family had emigrated from Poland, was Lyon Cohen, founding president of the Canadian Jewish Congress. His father, Nathan Cohen, who owned a substantial clothing store, died when Cohen was 9 years old. On the topic of being a Kohen, Cohen has said that "I had a very Messianic childhood." He told Richard Goldstein in 1967, "I was told I was a descendant of Aaron, the high priest."
Original Authors of this text are noted here.
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