Leonard Cohen Overview
Leonard Norman Cohen, CC Order of Canada , GOQ National Order of Quebec (born September 21, 1934) is a Canadian singer-songwriter, musician, poet and novelist. Cohen published his first book of poetry in Montreal in 1956 and his first novel in 1963. His work often deals with the exploration of religion, isolation, ***uality and interpersonal relationships. Famously reclusive, having once spent several years in a Zen Buddhist Zen monastery, and possessing a persona frequently associated with mystique, he is extremely well-regarded by critics for his literary accomplishments, for the richness of his lyrics, and for producing an output of work of high artistic quality over a five-decade career.
Musically, Cohen's earliest songs (many of which appeared on the 1967 album, Songs of Leonard Cohen) were rooted in European folk music. In the 1970s, his material encompassed pop, cabaret and world music. Since the 1980s, his high baritone voice has evolved into lower registers (bass baritone and bass Bass (vocal range) ), with accompaniment from a wide variety of instruments and female backup singers.
Over 2,000 renditions of Cohen's songs have been recorded. Cohen has been inducted into both the Canadian Music Hall of Fame and the Canadian Songwriters Hall of Fame and is also a Companion of the Order of Canada, the nation's highest civilian honour. While giving the speech at Cohen's induction into the American Rock and Roll Hall of Fame on March 10, 2008, Lou Reed described Cohen as belonging to the "highest and most influential echelon of songwriters."
Cohen was born in 1934 in Westmount, Montreal, Quebec, into a middle-class Jewish family. His mother, of Lithuanian Jewish ancestry, emigrated from Lithuania while his great-grandfather emigrated from Poland. He grew up in Westmount on the Island of Montreal. His father, Nathan Cohen, owned a substantial Montreal clothing store, and died when Leonard was nine years old. On the topic of being a Kohen he said that, "I had a very Messianic Messiah childhood," he told Richard Goldstein in 1967. "I was told I was a descendant of Aaron, the high priest." He attended Herzliah High School, where he studied with poet Irving Layton. As a teenager he learned to play the guitar, subsequently forming a country country music -folk group called the Buckskin Boys. His father's will provided Leonard with a modest trust trust fund income, sufficient to allow him to pursue his literary ambitions.In 1951, Cohen enrolled at McGill University, where he became president of the McGill Debating Union CUSID . His literary influences during this time included Yeats William Butler Yeats , Irving Layton, Whitman Walt Whitman , Federico Garcia Lorca and Henry Miller. His first published book of poetry, Let Us Compare Mythologies (1956), was published under Louis Dudek as the first book in the McGill Poetry Series while Cohen was still an undergraduate student. The Spice-Box of Earth (1961) made him well known in poetry circles, especially in his native Canada.
After completing an undergraduate degree, Cohen spent a term in McGill's law school and a year (1956-7) at Columbia University.
Cohen applied a strong work ethic to his early and keen literary ambitions. He wrote poetry and fiction through much of the 1960s, and preferred to live in quasi-reclusive circumstances. After moving to Hydra Hydra islands , a Greek island, Cohen published the poetry collection Flowers for Hitler (1964), and the novels The Favourite Game (1963) and Beautiful Losers (1966). The Favourite Game is an autobiographical bildungsroman about a young man who discovers his identity through writing.
Cohen's writing process, he told an interviewer in 1998, is "...like a bear stumbling into a beehive or a honey cache: I'm stumbling right into it and getting stuck, and it's delicious and it's horrible and I'm in it and it's not very graceful and it's very awkward and it's very painful and yet there's something inevitable about it."
1960s and 1970s
In 1967, Cohen moved to the United States to pursue a career as a folk music singer-songwriter. During the 60s, he was a fringe figure in Andy Warhol's Factory crowd. Warhol speculated that Cohen had spent time listening to Nico in clubs and that this had influenced his musical style. His song "Suzanne Suzanne (Leonard Cohen song) " became a hit for Judy Collins and was for many years his most covered song. After performing at a few folk festivals, he came to the attention of Columbia Records representative John H. Hammond.
Cohen's first album, Songs of Leonard Cohen (1967), was too dark to be a commercial success but was widely acclaimed by folk music buffs. He became a cult name in the UK, where the album spent over a year on the album charts. He followed it with Songs from a Room (1969) (featuring the often-recorded "Bird on the Wire"), Songs of Love and Hate (1971), Live Songs (1973) and New Skin for the Old Ceremony (1974).
In 1971, Cohen's music was used in the soundtrack to Robert Altman's Robert Altman film McCabe & Mrs. Miller. Cohen had been in Nashville when Altman phoned to ask permission to use some tracks off Songs of Leonard Cohen. Coincidentally, earlier that same day, Cohen saw Altman's film, Brewster McCloud in a Nashville theater. He hadn't paid attention to the credits, though; when Altman asked permission to use Cohen's songs in his new film, Cohen asked him who, exactly, he was. Altman mentioned MASH MASH (film) , but Cohen had never heard of it. Altman then told him of the lesser-known Brewster McCloud. Cohen replied, "Listen, I just came out of the theater. I saw it twice. You can have anything of mine you want!"
In the late 1960s and early 1970s, Cohen toured the United States, Canada and Europe. Beginning around 1974, his collaboration with pianist and arranger John Lissauer created a live sound praised by the critics. During this time, Cohen toured twice with Jennifer Warnes as a back-up singer (in 1972 and 1979). Warnes would become a fixture on Cohen's future albums and she recorded an album of Cohen songs in 1987, Famous Blue Raincoat Famous Blue Raincoat (album) .
In 1977, Cohen released Death of a Ladies' Man (note the plural possessive case; one year later, in 1978, Cohen released a volume of poetry with the coyly revised title, Death of a Lady's Man). The album was produced by Phil Spector, known as the inventor of the "wall of sound" technique, which backs up pop music with many layers of instrumentation, an approach very different from Cohen's usually minimalist instrumentation. The recording of the album was fraught with difficulty—Spector reportedly mixed the album in secret studio sessions, and Cohen said Spector once threatened him with a crossbow. Cohen thought the end result "grotesque," but also "semi-virtuous."
In 1979, Cohen returned with the more traditional Recent Songs. Produced by Cohen himself and Henry Lewy (Joni Mitchell's sound engineer) the album included performances by a jazz-fusion band introduced to Cohen by Mitchell and oriental instruments (oud, Gypsy violin and mandolin). In 2001 Cohen released an album of live recordings of songs from his 1979 tour, entitled Field Commander Cohen: Tour of 1979.
In 1984, Cohen released Various Positions, including "Dance Me to the End of Love" and the often recorded "Hallelujah Hallelujah (Leonard Cohen song) ". Columbia declined to release the album in the United States, where Cohen's po***rity had declined in previous years. Throughout his career, Cohen's music has sold better in Europe and Canada than in the U.S. He once satirically expressed how touched he is at the modesty the American company showed in promoting his records.
In 1986, he appeared in the episode "French Twist" of the TV series Miami Vice. In 1987, Jennifer Warnes's tribute album Famous Blue Raincoat Famous Blue Raincoat (album) helped restore Cohen's career in the U.S., and the following year he released I'm Your Man I'm Your Man (Leonard Cohen album) , which marked a drastic change in his music. Synthesizers ruled the album and Cohen's lyrics included more social commentary and dark humour. It was Cohen's most acclaimed and po***r since Songs of Leonard Cohen. "First We Take Manhattan" and the title song became two of his most po***r songs.
The use of the album track "Everybody Knows Everybody Knows (Leonard Cohen song) " (co-written by Sharon Robinson Sharon Robinson (songwriter) ) in the 1990 film Pump Up the Volume Pump Up the Volume (film) helped expose Cohen's music to a younger audience. The song also featured prominently in fellow countryman Atom Egoyan's 1994 film, Exotica Exotica (film) . In 1992, Cohen released The Future, which urges (often in terms of biblical The bible prophecy) perseverance, reformation, and hope in the face of grim prospects. Three tracks from the album - "Waiting for the Miracle The Future#Waiting for the Miracle ", "The Future" and "Anthem" - were featured in the movie Natural Born Killers.
In the title track, Cohen prophesies impending political and social collapse, reportedly as his response to the L.A. unrest of 1992 1992 Los Angeles riots : "I've seen the future, brother: It is murder." In "Democracy", Cohen criticizes America but says he loves it: "I love the country but I can't stand the scene." Further, he criticizes the American public's lack of interest in politics and addiction to television: "I'm neither left or right/I'm just staying home tonight/getting lost in that hopeless little screen."
Nanni Moretti's film Caro diario (1993) features "I'm Your Man", as Moretti himself rides his Vespa along the streets of Rome.
In 1994, following a tour to promote The Future, Cohen retreated to the Mt. Baldy Zen Center near Los Angeles, beginning what became five years of seclusion at the center. The album includes a recent musical setting of Cohen's "As the mist leaves no scar", a poem originally published in The Spice-Box of Earth in 1961 and adapted by Spector into "True Love Leaves No Traces" on Death of a Ladies' Man.
Book of Longing
Cohen's book of poetry and drawings, Book of Longing, was published in May 2006; in March a Toronto-based retailer offered signed copies to the first 1500 orders placed online. All 1500 sold within hours. The book quickly topped bestseller lists in Canada. On May 13, 2006, Cohen made his first public appearance for thirteen years, at an in-store event at a bookstore in Toronto. Approximately 3000 people turned up for the event, causing the streets surrounding the bookstore to be closed. He sang two of his earliest and best-known songs: "So Long, Marianne" and "Hey, That's No Way To Say Goodbye", accompanied by the Bare*** Ladies and Ron ***smith. Also appearing with him was Anjani, the two promoting her new CD, along with his book.
2008 concert tour
January 13, 2008, Cohen quietly announced a long-anticipated concert tour . The tour, Cohen's first in 15 years, began May 11 in Fredericton, NB to wide critical acclaim, and was prolonged until spring of 2010. The schedule encompassed Canada and Europe, including performances at The Big Chill (music festival), the Montreal Jazz Festival, and on the Pyramid Stage at the 2008 Glastonbury Festival on 29 June 2008. His performance at Glastonbury was hailed by many as the highlight of the festival, and his performance of "Hallelujah" as the sun went down received a rapturous reception and a lengthy ovation from a packed Pyramid Stage field. He also played in Dublin in what has come to be regarded as a "milestone concert." The London performance was later released on CD and DVD under the title Live in London.
The Sydney Entertainment Centre show on January 28 sold out rapidly, which motivated promoters to later announce a second show at the venue. The first performance was well-received, and the audience of 12,000 responded with five standing ovations. Cohen gave generous credit to his touring band, his long-time collaborator and vocalist Sharon Robinson Sharon Robinson (songwriter) , and the "sublime" Webb Sisters.
In January 2009, the tour arrived in New Zealand. Simon Sweetman in The Dominion Post (Wellington) of 21 January wrote "It is hard work having to put this concert in to words so I'll just say something I have never said in a review before and will never say again: this was the best show I have ever seen." The first concert of the Australian tour took place at Rochford Winery in Victoria's Yarra Valley on January 24 in perfect weather in front of an audience of about 7,000.
On March 7, 2008, Jeff Buckley's version of Cohen's "Hallelujah Hallelujah (Leonard Cohen song) ", went to number 1 on the iTunes chart after Jason Castro Jason Castro (singer) performed the song on the seventh season of the television series American Idol American Idol (season 7) . Another major boost for Cohen's song exposure came when singer-songwriter Kate Voegele released her version of "Hallelujah" from her 2007 album Don't Look Away and appeared as a regular character, named Mia, on season five of the teenage television show One Tree Hill One Tree Hill (TV series) .
A few days later, Cohen was inducted into the American Rock and Roll Hall of Fame in recognition of his status among the "highest and most influential echelon of songwriters." He also performed at the Coachella Valley Music and Arts Festival on Friday, April 17, 2009, in front of one of the largest Outdoor Theatre crowds in the history of the festival. His performance of Hallelujah was widely regarded as one of the highlights of the festival.
In February 2009, in response to hearing about the devastation to the Yarra Valley region of Victoria in Australia, he donated $200,000 to the Victorian Bushfire Appeal in support of those affected by the extensive Black Saturday bushfires that razed the area just weeks after his performance at the Rochford Winery in the A Day on the Green concert. Melbourne's Herald Sun newspaper reported: "Tour promoter Frontier Touring said $200,000 would be donated on behalf of Cohen, [fellow performer Paul] Kelly and Frontier to aid victims of the Victorian bushfires."
A scheduled concert in Ramallah was cancelled after Palestinian human-rights activists objected to the fact that Cohen had also scheduled a concert in Tel Aviv, Israel, contrary to a proposed cultural boycott of Israel.
On September 18, at a concert in Valencia, Spain, Cohen collapsed halfway through performing his song "Bird on the Wire". It was reported that Cohen had stomach problems, and possibly food poisoning.
On September 24 at the Ramat Gan Stadium, Israel, Cohen was highly emotional about the Israeli-Palestinian Palestinian State NGO Bereaved Families for Peace. He mentioned the organization twice, saying "It was a while ago that I first heard of the work of the 'Bereaved Parents for Peace'. That there was this coalition of Palestinian and Israeli families who had lost so much in the conflict and whose depth of suffering had compelled them to reach across the border into the houses of the enemy. Into the houses of those, to locate them who had suffered as much as they had, and then to stand with them in aching confraternity, a witness to an understanding that is beyond peace and that is beyond confrontation. So, this is not about forgiving and forgetting, this is not about laying down one's arms in a time of war, this is not even about peace, although, God willing, it could be a beginning. This is about a response to human grief. A radical, unique and holy, holy, holy response to human suffering. Baruch Hashem, thank God, I bow my head in respect to the nobility of this enterprise."
At the end of the show he blessed the crowd by the Priestly Blessing, a Jewish blessing offered by Kohanim, Cohen being of the Priestly caste.
Altogether, the tour earned a reported $9.5 million, putting Cohen at number 39 on Billboard magazine's list of the year's top musical "money makers."
Recurring themes in Cohen's work include love and ***, religion, psychological depression, and music itself. He has also engaged with certain political themes, though sometimes ambiguously so. "Suzanne" mixes a wistful type of love song with a religious meditation, themes that are also mixed in "Joan of Arc Joan of Arc (Leonard Cohen song) ". "Famous Blue Raincoat" is from the point of view of a man whose marriage has been broken (in exactly what degree is ambiguous in the song) by his wife's infidelity with his close friend, and is written in the form of a letter to that friend, to whom he writes, "I guess that I miss you/ I guess I forgive you … Know your enemy is sleeping/ And his woman is free", while "Everybody Knows Everybody Knows (Leonard Cohen song) " deals in part with social inequality ("...the poor stay poor/ And the rich get rich"), and the harsh reality of AIDS: "… the *** man and woman/ Are just a shining artifact of the past".
"Sisters of Mercy", according to the sleeve notes of his Greatest Hits evokes his encounter with two women named Barbara and Lorraine in a hotel room in Edmonton, Canada. Claims that "Chelsea Hotel New Skin for the Old Ceremony #2" treats his affair with Janis Joplin without sentimentality are countered by claims that the song reveals a much more complicated and mixed set of feelings than straightforward love. Cohen discusses the song in an interview filmed for the tribute-concert movie Leonard Cohen: I'm Your Man. He confirms that the subject is indeed Janis with some evident embarrassment. "She wouldn't mind", he declares, "but my mother would be appalled". The title of "Don't Go Home with Your Hard-On" speaks for itself.
Cohen comes from a Jewish background, most obviously reflected in his song "Story of Isaac Binding of Isaac ", and also in "Who by Fire", whose words and melody echo the Unetaneh Tokef, an 11th century liturgical poem recited on Rosh Hashana and Yom Kippur. Broader Judeo-Christian themes sound throughout the album Various Positions. Hallelujah, which has music as a secondary theme, begins by evoking the biblical Bible king David composing a song that "pleased the Lord", and continues with references to Bathsheba and Samson. The lyrics of "Whither Thou Goest", performed by him and released in his album Live in London Live in London (Leonard Cohen album) , are adapted from the Bible (Ruth The Book of Ruth 1:16-17, King James Version). If it be Your Will also has a strong air of religious resignation.
In his concert in Ramat Gan, Israel, on the 24th of September 2009 Cohen spoke to the audience in Hebrew when using Jewish prayers and blessings. He opened the show with the first sentence of Ma Tovu. At the middle he used Baruch Hashem, and he ended the concert reciting the blessing of Birkat Cohanim.
In his early career as a novelist, Beautiful Losers grappled with the mysticism of the Catholic/Iroquois Catherine Tekakwitha. Cohen has also been involved with Buddhism at least since the 1970s and in 1996 he was ordained a Buddhist monk. However, he still considers himself also a Jew: "I'm not looking for a new religion. I'm quite happy with the old one, with Judaism."
He is described as an observant Jew in an article in The New York Times:Mr. Cohen is an observant Jew who keeps the Sabbath even while on tour and performed for Israeli troops during the 1973 Arab-Israeli war. So how does he square that faith with his continued practice of Zen?
"Allen Ginsberg asked me the same question many years ago," he said. "Well, for one thing, in the tradition of Zen that I've practiced, there is no prayerful worship and there is no affirmation of a deity. So theologically there is no challenge to any Jewish belief."
Having suffered from depression Major depressive disorder during much of his life (although less so with the onset of old age), Cohen has written much (especially in his early work) about depression and suicide. The wife of the protagonist of Beautiful Losers commits a gory suicide; "Seems So Long Ago, Nancy" is about a suicide; the darkly comic "One of Us Cannot Be Wrong" mentions suicide; "Dress Rehearsal Rag" is about a last-minute decision not to commit suicide; a general atmosphere of depression pervades such songs as "Please Don't Pass Me By" and "Tonight Will Be Fine". As in the aforementioned "Hallelujah", music itself is the subject of many songs, including "Tower of Song", "A Singer Must Die", and "Jazz Police".
Social justice often shows up as a theme in his work, where he seems, especially in later albums, to expound a leftist politics, albeit with culturally conservative elements. In "Democracy", he laments "the wars against disorder/ … the sirens night and day/ … the fires of the homeless/ … the ashes of the***. He concludes that the United States is actually not a democracy. He has made the observation (in Tower of Song) that, "the rich have got their channels in the bedrooms of the poor/ And there's a mighty judgment coming." In the title track of The Future he recasts this prophecy on a pacifist note: "I've seen the nations rise and fall/ …/ But love's the only engine of survival." In "Anthem", he promises that "the killers in high places [who] say their prayers out loud/ … [are] gonna hear from me."
Several Cohen songs speak of abortion, always either as something distasteful or even atrocious. In "The Future", he sings sarcastically "Destroy another fetus now/ We don't like children anyhow." In "Stories of the Street" Cohen speaks of "The age of lust is giving birth/ And both the parents ask/ The nurse to tell them fairy tales/ from both sides of the glass."
"Diamonds in the Mine" is often described as a song about abortion because of the lyric, "The only man of energy/ Yes the revolution's pride/ He trained a hundred women/ Just to kill an unborn child." However, extensive research suggests this song is actually about the demise of the hedonism of the 1960s. The "man of energy" referred to is Charles Manson and the "unborn child" is Sharon Tate's unborn baby when the Manson "Family" committed the atrocities in 1969.
In "The Land of Plenty", he characterizes the United States (if not the opulent West in general) of benightedness: "May the lights in The Land of Plenty/ Shine on the truth some day."
War is an enduring theme of Cohen's work that—in his earlier songs and early life—he approached ambivalently. Challenged in 1974 over his serious demeanor in concerts and the military salutes he ended them with, Cohen remarked: "I sing serious songs, and I'm serious onstage because I couldn't do it any other way...I don't consider myself a civilian. I consider myself a soldier, and that's the way soldiers salute."
Deeply moved by encounters with both Israeli and Arab soldiers, he left the country to write "Lover Lover Lover", which has often been interpreted as a personal renunciation of any part in such conflict, nonetheless ending with the hope his song will serve an unspecified listener as "a shield against the enemy". He would later remark, "'Lover, Lover, Lover' was born over there; The whole world has its eyes riveted on this tragic and complex conflict. Then again, I am faithful to certain ideas, inevitably. I hope that those of which I am in favour will gain." Asked which side he supported in the Arab-Israeli conflict, Cohen responded, "I don't want to speak of wars or sides ... Personal process is one thing, it's blood, it's the identification one feels with their roots and their origins. The militarism I practice as a person and a writer is another thing. ... I don't wish to speak about war."
His recent politics continue a lifelong predilection for the underdog, the "beautiful loser." Whether recording "The Partisan", a French Resistance song by Anna Marly and Emmanuel d'Astier, or singing his own "The Old Revolution", written from the point of view of a defeated royalist, he has throughout his career through his music expressed his sympathy and support for the oppressed. Although Cohen's fascination with war is often as metaphor for more explicitly cultural and personal issues, as in New Skin for the Old Ceremony, by this measure his most "militant" album.
Cohen blends a good deal of pessimism about political/cultural issues with a great deal of humour and (especially in his later work) gentle acceptance. His wit contends with his stark analyses, as his songs are often verbally playful and even cheerful: In "Tower of Song", the famously raw-voiced Cohen sings ironically irony that he was "… born with the gift/ Of a golden voice." The generally dark "Is This What You Wanted?" nonetheless contains playful lines "You were the whore Whore of Babylon and the beast The Beast (Bible) of Babylon/ I was Rin Tin Tin." In concert, he often plays around with his lyrics (for example, "If you want a doctor/ I'll examine every inch of you" from "I'm Your Man" will become "If you want a Jewish doctor …")He may introduce one song by using a phrase from another song or poem—for example, introducing "Leaving Green Sleeves" by paraphrasing his own "Queen Victoria": "This is a song for those who are not nourished by modern love."
Cohen has also recorded such love songs as Irving Berlin's "Always" or the more obscure soul number "Be for Real" (originally sung by Marlena Shaw), chosen in part for their unlikely juxtaposition to his own work.On October 8, 2005, Cohen alleged that his longtime former manager, Kelley Lynch, misappropriated over US $5 million from Cohen's retirement fund leaving only $150,000. Cohen was sued in turn by other former business associates. As a result it has been widely reported that Cohen may never be able to collect the awarded amount. In 2007, U.S. District Judge Lewis T. Babcock dismissed a claim by Cohen for more than US $4.5 million against Colorado investment firm Agile Group, and in 2008 he dismissed a defamation suit that Agile Group filed against Cohen. Cohen has been under new management since April 2005.In the 1960s, during his stay at Hydra Hydra islands , Cohen befriended the Scandinavian novelists Axel Jensen and Göran Tunström. He lived there with Axel's wife Marianne Jensen (now: Ihlen Stang) and their son Axel after they broke up. The song "So Long, Marianne" is about her.
According to biographer and filmmaker Harry Rasky, Cohen has been married once, to Los Angeles artist Suzanne Elrod. Although the two did have an important relationship in the 1970s, Cohen himself has said that "cowardice" and "fear" have prevented him from ever actually marrying. He had two children with Elrod: a son, Adam Adam Cohen (musician) , was born in 1972 and a daughter, Lorca, named after poet Federico García Lorca, was born in 1974. Adam Cohen began his own career as a singer-songwriter in the mid-1990s and currently fronts a band called Low Millions. Elrod took the cover photograph on Cohen's Live Songs album and is pictured on the cover of the Death of a Ladies' Man album.
Cohen and Elrod had split by 1979. Contrary to po***r belief, "Suzanne Suzanne (Leonard Cohen song) ", one of his best-known songs, refers to Suzanne Verdal, the former wife of his friend, the Québécois sculptor Armand Vaillancourt, rather than Elrod. In 1990, Cohen was romantically linked to actress Rebecca De Mornay. He is now romantically involved with (and working with) Anjani Thomas.*In 1968, Cohen refused a Governor General's Award (in category for English language poetry or drama) for Selected Poems 1956–1968.
*In 1991, Cohen was inducted into the Canadian Music Hall of Fame.
*In 1993, Cohen won the Juno Award for Male Vocalist of the Year.
*In 1994, Cohen won another Juno Award this time for Songwriter of the Year.
*In 1996, he was ordained a Rinzai Rinzai school Buddhist monk bhikku .
*In 2002, Cohen was awarded a SNEP Award for more than 100,000 copies sold of Ten New Songs in France.
*In 2003, he was made a Companion of the Order of Canada, Canada's highest civilian honour.
*In 2004, Beautiful Losers was chosen for inclusion in Canada Reads 2005 Canada Reads . It was selected and originally to be championed by singer-songwriter Rufus Wainwright; however, tour commitments meant that Wainwright had to be replaced by singer Molly Johnson.
*In 2006, Cohen was inducted into the Canadian Songwriters Hall of Fame.
*In 2007, Cohen received a Grammy for Album of the Year Grammy Award for Album of the Year as a featured artist on Herbie Hancock's River: The Joni Letters.
*In 2008, Cohen was inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame.
*In June 2008 he was made a Grand Officer of the National Order of Quebec.
*In 2009 his album Live in London was Long Listed for the Polaris Music Prize
*In 2010, Cohen received a Grammy Lifetime Achievement Award.
Many other cover albums have been recorded by many artists.*Let Us Compare Mythologies (poetry) 1956
*The Spice-Box of Earth (poetry) 1961
*The Favourite Game (novel) 1963
*Flowers for Hitler (poetry) 1964
*Beautiful Losers (novel) 1966
*Parasites of Heaven (poetry) 1966
*Selected Poems 1956–1968 (poetry) 1968
*The Energy of Slaves (poetry) 1972
*Death of a Lady's Man (poetry and prose) 1978
*Book of Mercy (prose, poetry, psalms) 1984
*Stranger Music (selected poems and songs) 1993
*Book of Longing (poetry, prose, drawings) 2006*Cohen was the subject of the 1965 documentary Ladies and Gentlemen... Mr. Leonard Cohen, directed by Donald Brittain and Don Owen and produced by the National Film Board of Canada. This film, which pre-dates Cohen's career as a songwriter, explores his career as a well-known Canadian poet. Cohen also appeared in Owen's 1967 film The Ernie Game, which was entered into the 18th Berlin International Film Festival.
*Cohen's music also appeared the following year in the 1966 NFB animated short Angel Angel (1966 film) .
* In 1968 Cohen performed on the BBC, both on the Julie Felix Show and in his own special, split into two thirty minute shows. The first clip still exists, while the second is only available as a bootleg CD .
* His song The Partisan was in 1971 the theme from the RAI- TV (Italy) broadcast Habitat: l'uomo e l'ambiente (Habitat: Man and the Environment).
*Leonard Cohen: I'm Your Man was released in the United States on June 21, 2006. It prominently features a 2005 tribute concert to Cohen, "Came So Far For Beauty", held at the Sydney Opera House; the concert was produced by Hal Willner. The film, directed by Lian Lunson, has appearances by Nick Cave, Beth Orton, Antony Antony Hegarty of Antony and the Johnsons, Rufus Rufus Wainwright and Martha Wainwright, and a performance of "Tower of Song" by Cohen and U2. The film also features Cohen recalling significant parts of his life and career.
*The Favourite Game (Le Jeu de l'ange), based on his novel of the same title The Favourite Game , was released in Canada in 2003.
*In 1985, Cohen co-wrote and co-composed Night Magic (starring Carole Laure) with fellow Quebecer, Lewis Furey.
*Cohen narrated a documentary called The Tibetan Book of the Dead: A Way of Life.
*Cohen makes a cameo appearance performing "The Stranger Song" in the Canadian film The Ernie Game (1968), which is based on the stories of Bernard Cole Spencer.
*Cohen is referenced in the Canadian film Looking for Leonard.
*Three of Cohen's songs from his album The Future ("Waiting for the Miracle", "Anthem", and "The Future") are used in Oliver Stone's 1994 film Natural Born Killers. Songs from this album have also appeared in the films Wonder Boys Wonder Boys (film) (2000), starring Michael Douglas and The Life of David Gale (2003), starring Kevin Spacey.
*Cohen is the subject of a two-part documentary, Leonard Cohen: Under Review 1934-1977 (2007) and Leonard Cohen: Under Review 1978-2006 (2008), available separately on DVD.
*Cohen's version of "The Partisan" was used in the 2008 movie "The Escapist".
*Cohen appeared in the role of villain Francois Zolan in the "French Twist" episode of the American television series Miami Vice (season 2, episode 17), originally broadcast on February 21, 1986.
*The Song Of Leonard Cohen, a 1980 documentary by Harry Rasky, featuring Irving Layton, includes highlights from Cohen's 1979 tour and tracks from the LP Recent Songs.
*I Am A Hotel I am a Hotel (musical) , a Canadian-produced 25-minute song cycle/video starring Cohen and dancer Robert Desrosiers
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