Canadian singer-songwriter Leonard Cohen, the master of the baritone, has passed away at the age of 82. The news of his death came from his own Facebook page on Thursday. No further details of his death were released except the mention of a memorial service for the musical legend which would be taking place in Los Angeles.
“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,” the post on the Cohen’s Facebook wall read.
Cohen’s career lasted a remarkable 6 decades, ending only after his passing. Apart from his singing career, Cohen was also a poet and a novelist. He was also an aspiring Zen monk. What set him apart from other musicians was his ability to effortlessly blend sexuality with spiritual folk music. Many regard him as one of greatest folk musicians alongside Bob Dylan and R.E.M.
Cohen remained an active musician even towards the end. Just this year, on October 21, Cohen released his fourteenth album, You Want It Darker. Starting in 1956, Cohen’s career roared in the 80’s especially after the release of his timeless song Hallelujah from the album Various Positions in 1984. The song was praised by many but it wasn’t until 1994, when Jeff Buckley did a cover of the soulful song and Hallelujah became popular across the world.
Cohen originally meant to be a poet but ended up with a musical career since his poetry didn’t make him enough money. His career picked up during the folk music revival where he toured alongside Bob Dylan, Joni Mitchell, Joan Baez among others.
American singer Kris Kristofferson said that he wants his tombstone to read, “Like a bird on a wire, like a drunk in a midnight choir, I have tried in my way to be free,” which are the opening lines to his hit song Bird on a Wire.
Apart from Hallelujah and Bird on a Wire, his songs, Suzanne, The Future and Sisters of Mercy remain to be his most memorable works.
Bird on a Wire
Sisters of Mercy