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R.I.P. Leonard

Leonard Cohen is gone, and the world is a little poorer.

I'd say "a little sadder," but Cohen was the bard of sadness. He spoke to all the broken hearts out there, sang of shattered dreams and lost hopes. There was no one better to listen to when you were melancholy, depressed, lonely, despondent, or suicidal.

There was a certain time in my life when I listened to Cohen's SONGS OF LOVE AND HATE album obsessively, drowning in his voice and his words. That was in the Age of Vinyl, and I believe I wore out several needles on that one.

I've loved so many of his songs... "Hallelujah," of course, and "Famous Blue Raincoat." But I will leave you with my favorite:

Back in the day, when I was young and music was good, a number of my short stories were inspired by lyrics in my favorite songs. "Suzanne" was the inspiration for my short story "Bitterblooms," which remains one of my favorites to this very day.

Goodbye, Leonard.


( 45 comments — Leave a comment )
Nov. 11th, 2016 05:52 am (UTC)
R.I.P Leonard

Aww George. I love that "Suzanne" is your favorite. 'Back in the day' is pretty much the same time for both you and I, and "Suzanne" was the first Leonard Cohen song I was ever aware of. To this day, whenever his name is mentioned, it is the first song that comes to mind. It's such a beautiful song. I've gone on to love many of his other songs, but that one holds a very special place. I agree with you, the world is a little poorer place tonight.

Godspeed, Leonard, and thank you for all the hours of wonderful music.
Nov. 11th, 2016 05:52 am (UTC)
November 2016 is not looking like a month we'll all remember fondly. But I hadn't actually heard "Suzanne", and I love it, so thank you for that.
Nov. 11th, 2016 05:54 am (UTC)
Yes, this is shaping up to be one of the worst weeks in a very very long time.

Nov. 11th, 2016 05:56 am (UTC)
I love his song Hallelujah. R.I.P Leonard Cohen
Nov. 11th, 2016 06:40 am (UTC)
Sad news... His songs will live forever!
Kelsey KeltonRue Padgett
Nov. 11th, 2016 06:42 am (UTC)
Like a bird on a wire, like a drunk in a midnight choir...I have tried, in my way, to be free.

Oh, Leonard. Now, most certainly, you are free. Wishing you the best of glories any poet could dream of, and hope their beckoning call finds you well.

First time I have posted on your page, Martin. First time I've come across it. Glad to see you tonight of all nights.

Nov. 11th, 2016 06:52 am (UTC)
I feel you.
I am a singer and his music (and esp. lyircs!) inspired me throughout the years.
After the election results, we really didn't need another wonderful artist to leave this world - arts give hope.
Ezequiel Martín Cámara
Nov. 11th, 2016 07:18 am (UTC)
First they took Manhattan
He's not staying for when they take Berlin
Brady Johnson
Nov. 11th, 2016 07:22 am (UTC)
He was an excellent poet, songwriter, and character. He will be missed!

I enjoy reading his lyrics--even in absence of music they are still beautiful.
Nov. 11th, 2016 07:28 am (UTC)
More than an artist
A few years back my brother showed me his rendition of "Hallelujah," which remains hauntingly beautiful. Together we learned the words and joined Leonard when we were driving. We sang when we were bored. The song was always beautiful, and I can't describe the disappointment of hearing that he's gone. He was more than a singer. He could create emotions that would last long after the track switched. The music would stop, but genuine feelings would continue to resonate. Leonard Cohen, you brought a little light to my life, and much more to the rest of the world. You will be missed.
Nov. 11th, 2016 09:04 am (UTC)
Re: More than an artist
>his rendition of "Hallelujah,"

Just a heads-up, Leonard Cohen wrote 'Hallelujah' - he's the original singer.
Nov. 11th, 2016 07:57 am (UTC)
I was 9 or 10 and my mom wouldn't stop playing the tapes for I'm Your Man and Poetas en Nueva York. Both included Cohen's arrangement for Pequeño Vals Vienés by F.G. Lorca as Take this Waltz, I recall palating the melancholy in that songs even at that short age. Just woke up to the sad news here in Spain and, as I was listening to the wonderful song that is Joan of Arc, I couldn't avoid the tears What an eloquent way to describe passing away is "myself I long for love and light, but must it come so cruel, and oh so bright?". Thank for sharing your emotions, it truly comforts not feeling so alone these days of utter sorrow.
Nov. 11th, 2016 07:59 am (UTC)
I'm beginning to get sacred of going to sleep each night for fear of what I'll wake up to next.

2016 - the year that just keeps taking. :-(
Nov. 25th, 2016 02:03 am (UTC)
Amen, neighbour. Amen to that.
Michael James
Nov. 11th, 2016 08:51 am (UTC)
I'm His Fan
Suzanne is my favorite Leonard Cohen song, my mom used to sing it when I was little. I also love The Sisters of Mercy and I Can't Forget in addition to the ones you mentioned and more famous songs like Bird on a Wire or Tower of Song. The Pixies do a cover of I Can't Forget that I really love and it always reminds me of my grandpa. I tend to think of Bob Dylan and Leonard Cohen together, and while Dylan is amazing, Cohen touches me far deeper and matters to me so much more.
Nov. 11th, 2016 10:16 am (UTC)
I wore the grooves off that first Leonard Cohen album when I was at college. He couldn't sing for toffee, but that didn't matter. The songs, the words... Goodbye Leonard Cohen.
Nov. 11th, 2016 11:14 am (UTC)
Nov. 11th, 2016 12:37 pm (UTC)
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Nov. 11th, 2016 02:10 pm (UTC)
One of the greats
On the heels of the Trump reality show being renewed for another 4 years (you have my sympathies George)... this is indeed sad news.

I saw an old CBC interview of Leonard from when he was 'just' a poet. When the interviewer asked if he had other interests he replied that he really liked music but said that he could never be a music artist because he couldn't sing at all.
Years later when he accepted a Juno award for Best Canadian Male Vocalist, he said "Only in Canada could someone with a voice like mine ever win a best vocalist award."
Somehow his talent transcended and surpassed whatever he lacked as a vocalist and that was part of his charm. Always humble, always classy.
Nov. 11th, 2016 03:06 pm (UTC)
The year 2016
Will 2016 go down as one of the worst years in history? The last 3 years have been tough on me emotionally. Also, with what just happened in the election it does not look like it will be easier anytime soon.
Nov. 11th, 2016 05:19 pm (UTC)
Suzanne is also my favorite song by Leonard Cohen. M'y father used to play it on his boat when I was little. It was the french version though and it took me years to discover the song I was listening to was in fact a transposition from M. Cohen's wonderfull song.
Nov. 11th, 2016 06:39 pm (UTC)
This is a completely serious comment:

This is the second time this week you've alluded to feeling suicidal. If that's on your mind a lot lately, I want you to talk to someone you love about it frankly and honesty. Seriously.
Nov. 14th, 2016 07:28 pm (UTC)
Thanks for the concern... but no, really, I am fine.

Admittedly, there were a few dark days back in 1973 when I was NOT fine, but I got through them. In some small part thanks to artists like Leonard Cohen.

And I got some strong stories out of it. That was always my best therapy when my life was bleakest: writing.
Nov. 16th, 2016 01:57 am (UTC)
That's good to hear. Thanks for sharing that bit about 1973, too. Hope you're well.
Nov. 11th, 2016 07:30 pm (UTC)
Agreed. A wonderful talent. At least his music and poetry will live on.
Nov. 11th, 2016 09:54 pm (UTC)
George, just saw a note on a Filk music email list a few minutes ago. Mr. Cohen's songs have been the inspiration of many filk songs played at SF cons over the years. I've learned to play all three of his songs you mentioned, easy guitar versions that is, and they are among my favorites. Have to play at least one of these at the memorial filk circle at Philcon next weekend.
Nov. 12th, 2016 02:57 am (UTC)
Here in Montreal, where he was born and raised, there has been a constant pilgrimage to the house he kept in the Plateau, flowers and candles and loads of people with guitars sitting around and singing his songs, for 2 days now. I just listened to his new album, bought for me by my husband for my birthday (today) before we heard of his death, and oh my. If you haven't heard it all the way through yet, George, please do. It's just....wow. I cry sometimes a lot at songs, but I was crying at the end of this album in a way where tears were coming down my face but no snot was even gathering in my nose to drip down too - and that has only happened two or three times in my now-58 years. That's how strong this last record is.

There is a crack in everything/That's how the light gets in.

Words to live by, literally.
Nov. 12th, 2016 10:48 am (UTC)
Victor Bailey
Legendary jazz bassist Victor Bailey also died yesterday, after battling Charcot-Marie-Tooth disease for most of his life. For musicians who are into higher end instrumental fare, this is a major blow.


Nov. 12th, 2016 11:17 am (UTC)
"Everybody Knows" is a favorite of mine and has special meaning this week. RIP
Raz Greenberg
Nov. 12th, 2016 01:45 pm (UTC)
You'd think writing a beautiful song about the Holocaust is impossible - but Cohen did just that in "Dance Me to the End of Love".
Nov. 12th, 2016 07:18 pm (UTC)
Rest easy, Leonard. I heard the news on the tv in the middle of morning rounds yesterday, and I've been singing his songs under my breath since. I know most of them by heart; he's been my favourite artist since I was twelve years old. He'll be missed.
Nov. 13th, 2016 11:18 am (UTC)
Sad music
Speaking of music for heartbreak and sadness; have you ever listened to Sigur Ros? Other than their cover of Rains Of Castamere obviously.. They're like melancholy and glorious sadness distilled into music. Bit pretentious I know.
Nov. 13th, 2016 04:29 pm (UTC)
Cohen was a favorite of mine.

Also, good music is still being made - it's just much harder to find, because bands and artists with integrity and soul don't really get popular anymore.
Nov. 13th, 2016 05:43 pm (UTC)
The blizzard, the blizzard of the world has crossed the threshold
And it's overturned the order of the soul...

Can we write off 2016 and reboot? It's been a disaster.
Nov. 13th, 2016 06:20 pm (UTC)
I had never heard this song before, but it's beautiful. Thank you for sharing it, George. Now I'll always associate it with your writing!
Nov. 14th, 2016 12:57 am (UTC)
We lost another one. Leon Russell died in his sleep, aged 74.
Nov. 15th, 2016 03:56 am (UTC)
2016 has been a shitty year. Holy shit.
luis iribe
Nov. 15th, 2016 08:57 pm (UTC)
Fil 2016
George, it will be a contest for a M&G with you 16 november 2016, but it will be during my Job, and I can't participate, please sign a book, it all I want, you could change my life with this little action
Nov. 15th, 2016 10:59 pm (UTC)
(no subject) - dogtown70 - Nov. 16th, 2016 12:46 am (UTC) - Expand
Nov. 16th, 2016 03:30 am (UTC)
Hey, That's No Way To Say Goodbye is fitting this week.

I almost feel bad he didn't depart a day earlier, ignorant of the election results. But, then again, that wouldn't be the Leonard Cohen way.
Nov. 16th, 2016 06:05 pm (UTC)
never heard his music before
Nov. 17th, 2016 04:41 am (UTC)
Famous Blue Raincoat and Suzanne are my favourites.
Nov. 18th, 2016 04:27 pm (UTC)
Thank you
Thank you George, for introducing me to "Suzanne". It's magic.
Frances Marion Platt
Nov. 28th, 2016 06:13 am (UTC)
Weeks later, still reeling from the one-two punch of the election disaster and then the death of Leonard Cohen almost immediately following. The lines 'There is a crack in everything / That's how the light gets in' are of some help in such dark times as these.
( 45 comments — Leave a comment )


George R.R. Martin
George R. R. Martin

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