The singer Leonard Cohen died at the age of 82. hoarse voice and intimate, melancholy words, discreet charm of the gentleman: Montreal artist permeated the cultural imagination over a long and rich artistic career.
“It is with great sadness that we report that the legendary poet, songwriter and artist, Leonard Cohen, died. We lost one of the most respected and prolific musicians of the music industry, “reads the Facebook page of the author.
“Leonard Cohen was a unique artist whose work was adopted by generations of fans and artists,” said his record company, Sony Music Canada, on Facebook.
Leonard Cohen was seriously ill for months and knew the end was near.
My father made the soul peacefully at his home in Los Angeles knowing he had achieved what he considered one of his best albums. He wrote to the very end, with his humor of his own.
Adam Cohen, singer-songwriter and son of Leonard Cohen
“Boudoir poet” to Joni Mitchell, “voice of God” to Bono, Leonard Cohen is the embodiment of the spleen, the memory of a distant love. The baritone master the art of moving singing infinite sadness, an intimate tone that seems to come out of darkness.
Born in 1934 into a Jewish family in Westmount, Leonard Cohen tastes in poetry at a young age after losing his father.
His passion for literature continued during his studies at McGill University. The poet with debating skills won there first literary prize in 1954. Two years later, he published his first book Let Us Compare Mythologies . Another ten will be born during his life, as well as two novels.
Creator bohemian guitar strumming, he settled on the island of Hydra in Greece in 1960 for writing. There he met Marianne Ilhen, who became his muse and inspire him So Long Marianne.
Jumping into music
Despite the publication of five books and a novel, Leonard Cohen does not live by his writing and turned to music.
Looking to enter the United States, Leonard Cohen moved to New York in 1966 at the legendary Hotel Chelsea. He rubs Bob Dylan, Jimi Hendrix and Janis Joplin, he later revealed as the woman in his song Chelsea Hotel # 2.
Its classic, Suzanne , published in 1967, is a hymn to the beauty of Suzanne Verdal, wife of the Quebec sculptor Armand Vaillancourt.
If this marriage of poetry and music succeeded him in Europe and Asia, the singer snubbed the United States. Before the flop of New Skin for the Old Ceremony in North America, a journalist asked him in 1974 to explain his success on the Old Continent. “Maybe because they do not understand the lyrics,” he says.
Heart and religion
The destructive love, existential and religious questions are at the heart of his work.
Intellectual, Leonard Cohen is an artist apart in an industry where the sound often takes precedence over content. In the 90s, he retired in the Buddhist temple of Mount Baldy, near Los Angeles, reinforcing his master image of loneliness.
Both Jew and a Buddhist monk, the singer sees no contradiction, as he explained to the New York Times :
“Allen Ginsberg asked me the same question several years ago. In the tradition of Zen that I practice, there is no deity worship or affirmation. So, theologically, it does defy any Jewish belief. ”
Leonard Cohen visited the night of Ben’s Deli, now disappeared from downtown Montreal.
Leonard Cohen visited the night of Ben’s Deli, now disappeared from downtown Montreal. PHOTO: ARCHIVE CBC
Moreover, its origins are inseparable from its texts, since it feels its Jewish past among Christians of English among francophones in Montreal.
This is my city, I consider Montreal at home.
When success alongside the mishap
Despite the void after The Future in 1992, his work influenced many artists, even more young people like Kurt Cobain and Jeff Buckley.
He became over the years a mythical figure, a master recognized by his peers who resumed his songs, like Rufus Wainwright, Lana del Rey and Bono. Hallelujah is echoed by many, stripping almost the author of his paternity.
“My sense of ownership with these things is very low,” he says in the New York Times in 2009. “This is not the result of spiritual discipline, it’s always been. This effect was so small that I did not pay attention and I lost the rights to several songs. ”
In the mid 2000s, his manager fled with his fortune. Ruined, the septuagenarian is back on stage at the pleasure of the public. He continues his former collaborator and obtains a judgment of 9 million US dollars, but it will never see the color of money.
Great among greats, he is the first Quebec singer inducted into the Hall of Fame rock n ‘roll in 2008. Three years later, he received the prestigious Glenn Gould Prize, considered by many as the Nobel of the arts community.