Leonard Cohen died yesterday.
“As far as I’m concerned,” Bob Dylan once told Leonard, “You’re Number 1,” adding with a smile, “I’m Number Zero.”
If you like Cohen’s music, his last album, released this year, is worth a listen.
It has been said that Leonard Cohen’s music is “music to slit your wrists by.” But Bob Dylan disagrees.
“I see no disenchantment in Leonard’s lyrics at all,” Dylan said. “There’s always a direct sentiment, as if he’s holding a conversation and telling you something, him doing all the talking, but the listener keeps listening… When people talk about Leonard, they fail to mention his melodies, which to me, along with his lyrics, are his greatest genius. Even the counterpoint lines—they give a celestial character and melodic lift to every one of his songs. As far as I know, no one else comes close to this in modern music.”
A longish but thorough overview of Leonard Cohen’s life & career is summed up in this New Yorker article sent to me by my good friend, Kay Boylen Larche:
“The truth was that Leonard Cohen felt as lost as anybody. What gave his work its uncommon gravitas wasn’t that he knew the answers but that he never stopped looking. He searched for clues in bedrooms and warzones, in Jewish temples and Buddhist retreats, in Europe, Africa, Israel and Cuba. He tried to flush them out with booze and drugs and seduce them with melodies. And whenever he managed to painfully extract some nugget of wisdom, he would cut and polish it like a precious stone before resuming the search.”
😦 😦 😦