After giving us the gift of his music for nearly fifty years, Leonard Cohen has finally gone home:
His son issued this statement on his father’s death:
“My father passed away peacefully at his home in Los Angeles with the knowledge that he had completed what he felt was one of his greatest records,” Cohen’s son Adam wrote in a statement to Rolling Stone. “He was writing up until his last moments with his unique brand of humor.”
I’ve written so many pieces on Leonard Cohen that I’ve probably said most of what I want to say about his life and his work. His death was expected, but it leaves a hole in the world. His music fills some of that hole. Although music is incorporeal, it is very real.
Here are some YouTube offerings from Cohen. I’ll do this in chronological order. First, one of my absolute favorites—the younger, handsome, melancholy, resonant Cohen of the Famous Blue Raincoat:
A few years later, we have Cohen on the Tower of Song. Some of the lyrics that seem especially poignant today:
Now I bid you farewell, I don’t know when I’ll be back
They’re moving us tomorrow to that tower down the track
But you’ll be hearing from me baby, long after I’m gone
I’ll be speaking to you sweetly
From a window in the Tower of Song
Here is the elderly Cohen, his voice deeper and deeper still—impossibly deep—from an album that just came out (like David Bowie, he released a swan song). The word “hineni” is Hebrew for “Here I am.”
You can go to YouTube and keep going for days listening to the Cohen oeuvre and watching the documentaries and interviews with a man who was always humble, always thoughtful, usually humorous, and often wise. This one focuses on what I call the Dustin Hoffman years (yes, when Cohen was young he was a ringer for Hoffman):
What can I say? If anyone tried to get ready, Leonard Cohen did. Here is part of his last interview:
RIP Leonard Cohen.