New York, NY (Top40 Charts) Leonard Cohen, the influential singer/songwriter who gained popularity 1960s and 1970s, has died at the age of 82. Cohen's label, Sony Music Canada, confirmed his death on the singer's Facebook page.
Cohen's Facebook page has this announcement: "It is with profound sorrow we report that legendary poet, songwriter and artist, Leonard Cohen has passed away," the statement read. "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." A cause of death and exact date of death was not given.
A poet, novelist, and celebrated singer and songwriter, it would be difficult, if not pointless, to try to summarize Cohen's life and career by cherry-picking a few of his most notable songs. He released his 14th studio album, You Want It Darker, last month to warm reviews, and recently made a statement to the New Yorker that he was "ready to die," after several years of failing health.
Leonard Norman Cohen, CC GOQ (21 September 1934 - 11 November 2016) was a Canadian singer, songwriter, poet and novelist. His work explored religion, politics, isolation, sexuality, and personal relationships. Cohen was inducted into both the Canadian Music Hall of Fame and the Canadian Songwriters Hall of Fame as well as the American Rock and Roll Hall of Fame. He was a Companion of the Order of Canada, the nation's highest civilian honour. In 2011, Cohen received one of the Prince of Asturias Awards for literature and the ninth Glenn Gould Prize.
The critic Bruce Eder assessed Cohen's overall career in popular music by asserting that "[he is] one of the most fascinating and enigmatic … singer/songwriters of the late '60s … [and] has retained an audience across four decades of music-making.... Second only to Bob Dylan (and perhaps Paul Simon) [in terms of influence], he commands the attention of critics and younger musicians more firmly than any other musical figure from the 1960s who is still working at the outset of the 21st century."
His second novel, Beautiful Losers (1966), received attention from the Canadian press and was considered controversial because of a number of sexually graphic passages. The Academy of American Poets has commented more broadly on Cohen's overall career in the arts, including his work as a poet, novelist, and songwriter, stating that "Cohen's successful blending of poetry, fiction, and music is made most clear in Stranger Music: Selected Poems and Songs, published in 1993, which gathered more than 200 of Cohen's poems … several novel excerpts, and almost 60 song lyrics... while it may seem to some that Leonard Cohen departed from the literary in pursuit of the musical, his fans continue to embrace him as a Renaissance man who straddles the elusive artistic borderlines."
Cohen's first album was Songs of Leonard Cohen (1967) followed by Songs from a Room (1969) (featuring the often-recorded "Bird on the Wire") and Songs of Love and Hate (1971). His 1977 record Death of a Ladies' Man was co-written and produced by Phil Spector, which was a move away from Cohen's previous minimalist sound. In 1979 Cohen returned with the more traditional Recent Songs, which blended his acoustic style with jazz and Oriental and Mediterranean influences. "Hallelujah" was first released on Cohen's studio album Various Positions in 1984. I'm Your Man in 1988 marked Cohen's turn to synthesized productions and remains his most popular album. In 1992 Cohen released its follow-up, The Future, which had dark lyrics and references to political and social unrest.
Cohen returned to music in 2001 with the release of Ten New Songs, which was a major hit in Canada and Europe. His eleventh album, Dear Heather, followed in 2004. After a successful string of tours between 2008 and 2010, Cohen released three albums in the final four years of his life: Old Ideas (2012), Popular Problems (2014) and You Want It Darker (2016), the latter of which was released three weeks before his death.
Awards, titles and honours:
1964 the Québec Literary Competition Prize (awarded 1923-70 by the Province of Québec) The Favourite Game (Cohen's first novel)
1968 Governor General's Award (English language poetry or drama) for Selected Poems 1956-1968. (Refused)
1970 Honorary degree from Dalhousie University
1984 The Golden Rose, the main award at the international television festival Rose d'Or in Montreux, for I am a Hotel, made-for-TV short musical film written by Cohen and based on his songs.
1985 Canadian Author's Association Literary Award for Poetry for Book of Mercy
1986 Genie Award for Best Original Song for "Angel Eyes" from Night Magic (with Lewis Furey)
1988 Columbia Records Crystal Globe Award from CBS for I'm Your Man. The award is for artists who sell more than five million copies of an album in foreign territories
1989 Nominated for Juno Awards for Canadian Entertainer of the Year and Male Vocalist of the Year
1991 Officer of the Order of Canada
1991 Induction into the Juno/Canadian Music Hall of Fame
1991 Nominated for a Juno Award for Songwriter of the Year.
1992 Honorary degree from McGill University, Montreal.
1993 Juno Award for Male Vocalist of the Year. The video for Closing Time, directed by Curtis Wehrfritz, won for Best Video. He was also nominated as Producer of the Year (with co-producer Leanne Ungar, for "Closing Time").
1993 Governor General's Performing Arts Award for Lifetime Artistic Achievement.
1994 Juno Award for Songwriter of the Year and was nominated for the Juno Award for Album of the Year (for The Future). The video for The Future, directed by Curtis Wehrfritz, was nominated for Juno Award for Best Video.
1996 Ordained a Rinzai Buddhist monk.
2001 Nagroda Muzyczna Fryderyk, the annual Polish music award, for best foreign album (Ten New Songs).
2002 Nominated for Juno Award as Best Songwriter Cohen (with Sharon Robinson) for "Boogie Street", "In My Secret Life", and "You Have Loved Enough").
2002 Nominated for the Juno Award for Best Video for "In My Secret Life", directed by Floria Sigismondi. Ten New Songs nominated for Best Pop Album, and he was nominated for Best Artist.
2002 SNEP Award Cohen for more than 100,000 copies sold of Ten New Songs in France.
2003 Companion of the Order of Canada, Canada's second highest civilian honour.
2004 Inclusion in Canada Reads 2005 with Beautiful Losers
2005 Induction into the Canadian Folk Music Walk of Fame.
2006 Induction into the Canadian Songwriters Hall of Fame.
2007 Grammy for Album of the Year as a featured artist on Herbie Hancock's River: The Joni Letters.
2008 Induction into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame. During the induction ceremony, Lou Reed described Cohen as belonging to the "highest and most influential echelon of songwriters."
2008 Grand Officer of the National Order of Quebec.
2009 Long Listed for the Polaris Music Prize for Live in London
2009 Nominated for Mojo Honours Lists for Best Live Act category.
2009 Meteor Music Award for Best International Live Performance for his 2008 show in Dublin's IMMA's Royal Hospital Kilmainham.
2010 Grammy Lifetime Achievement Award.
2010 A second Meteor Music Award for Best International Live Performance for his 2009 show in Dublin's O2.
2010 Porin Award in Croatia in category of foreign video programme, for his Live in London DVD.
2010 Induction into the Songwriters Hall of Fame.
2011 Glenn Gould Prize
2011 Prince of Asturias Awards, Literature, Spain
2012 Inaugural PEN Award for Song Lyrics of Literary Excellence. Chuck Berry received the same award.
2012 Prix Denise-Pelletier
2013 Juno Award, Artist of the Year.
2013 Juno Award, Songwriter of the Year.
2015 Juno Award, Album of the Year for Popular Problems.
Songs of Leonard Cohen (1967)
Songs from a Room (1969)
Songs of Love and Hate (1971)
New Skin for the Old Ceremony (1974)
Death of a Ladies' Man (1977)
Recent Songs (1979) Various Positions (1984)
I'm Your Man (1988)
The Future (1992)
Ten New Songs (2001)
Dear Heather (2004)
Old Ideas (2012)
Popular Problems (2014)
You Want It Darker (2016)