Leonard Cohen the great poet and songwriter died this morning.
I guess it was inevitable that his passing was fairly imminent, given the nature of some of his lyrics from his recently released and much acclaimed album “You Want It Darker”.
I first listened repeatedly to “The Sisters Of Mercy” in my humble bedsitter way back in the 1960’s, and whilst I did not fully understand Cohen’s great song, what I did feel was that it was reaching out to and really moved me.
Although I was present at the Isle of Wight Festival in 1970 where he performed, I somehow managed to miss his performance, and I am not quite sure how I managed this!
Anyway, forty years later, we were privileged to see one of his “comeback” concerts at the O2 in London, which for me was a truly life changing experience. It was about three numbers into his performance, and without any of Lens usual preamble or other introduction, we simply heard those unmistakable unaccompanied dulcet tones giving out with “Like a bird ** * ****” and within seconds Patricia and I (along with most of that audience) had tears streaming uncontrollably and unashamedly down our faces. What a moment it was for us.
Probably his most well known song is “Hallelujah” which is possibly (after Paul Mccartneys “Yesterday”) one of the most recorded songs ever. Even though it was nor especially successful when it was first released in 1985 there have been more than 500 cover versions of this song. including John Cales very dramatic interpretation performed with just a very moody piano accompaniment, Jeff Buckleys definitive anthelmic version, Leonards own deeply meaningful performance, and many many other recordings, some of which were by performers who possibly did not totally appreciate what this song was actually saying.
Anyway, I guess it’s now time to say “So Long Leonard Cohen” – Thank you.