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Friday, November 11, 2016

LEONARD COHEN enjoy joining the "Tower of Song"

Leonard Cohen has died, age 82 - I have always been a fan since his "unfashionable days" when it was considered very avant garde to enjoy him.

I only bought his very last offering "You like it Darker" a couple of weeks ago (he recorded it in October, sitting in a medical chair with his son's lap top in front of him - going until the end). This is an interview with him, where he comments on the phrase "Hineni - I'm ready my Lord" on that last recording


The following obituary does him more justice than anything I can write:



The Crow said...

My first introduction to Cohen was through my first husband, when we were attending U. S. Navy Hospital Corps School in 1969. We gave our daughter the name of one of his songs, Suzanne, for her middle name.

Odd that I am mourning the loss of someone I never met, but feel as though I've known intimately for most of my life. Thank you for posting the link, Avus.

Lucy said...

I thought of you when I heard the news.

He was great, a dear, gentle, graceful man, and wonderfully dignified in his late years.

Tom said...

A lovely guy. My first recollection of him was when I watched the Nelson Mandela concert on television (late 80's?). Wish that concert was on DVD.

Roderick Robinson said...

For shame, Avus, you should have tried. It's a bit like sending someone else to represent you at a funeral because they're better dressed.

Avus said...

I, too, "met" him in 1969. He must have made a similar impression on you too, for you to so name your daughter.

Your last sentence describes him succinctly and beautifully. How often have I heard "grace" describing him.

A late convert, I am glad you enjoy him

I hang my head! I should have tried, but, quite honestly I was actually fairly overcome and just wanted to register his death quickly so that I might return to the hi-fi to sit and listen to his profound last oeuvre once more - glass of malt in hand.When I first listened to it I thought that his death might not be long and so it was.

When I encountered him in 1969 it seemed like a flash of light- the music was stark, basic repetitive guitar chords, the words simple but chosen with infinite care, seeming to reach out and touch something inside me. I bought (and still have) all his early vynyl disks and sometimes think that those around me must have got quite sick of hearing them. My wife did, sort of, enjoy some of his stuff later on and my daughter-in-Oz became a late convert and is now a great enthusiast, taking all his books of poetry back to Oz when I gave her the run of my bookshelves.

I had all his books; poetry, fiction and biographies. My cherished memory is actually being at the Royal Albert Hall to see him live. There he held us spellbound and filled that vast arena over three nights of performances as he did on subsequent and previous occasions - also the O2. A man standing alone, like some ancient prophet, with just a simple backing group.

Lucy (above) deliniates him perfectly, "He was great, a dear, gentle, graceful man, and wonderfully dignified in his late years." All speak of his great courtesy and gentleness with everyone he met, interviewers, maids bringing sandwiches, bell hops, etc. he had a word and gesture for them all. His Buddhism was not a front - he made a retreat in the '90s of over 6 years and trained as a Buddhist monk at a monastery at the top of a mountain. Perhaps something which added to his "grace".

I hope I have made some amends.............

The Crow said...

Your eulogy is perfectly beautiful.

There are so many of his songs that live in my head; others that dwell elsewhere in my body: "I'm Your Man," Dance Me to the End of Love," and one that makes me cry- always- "Hallelujah."

His last several years, when his voice lost its smoothness, I think that's when I loved him most. Time to visit Amazon and browse through his titles for a gift to myself.

Avus said...

Thank you. Martha. I agree about his later years - all those strong cigarettes! "Hallelujah" will always be remembered as one of his greatest songs and performances - it held the vast audience at our Royal Albert Hall absolutely spellbound and when it finished there was a silent pause before we all stood up and the applause was deafening.

If you are getting yourself a present definitely go for "You Want it Darker". A great finishing swan-song to terminate a great life, which has given so much enjoyment to so many.

Vita said...

I, too, thought of you when I heard. It's a sad thing.

Avus said...

Thanks. He left us at 82. I suppose that ain't a bad life span and he had a varied and very interesting one. Through dogged hard work he managed to recoup the $5 million his agent stole from him, having gone on tour again for 6 years (nearly 300 world tours in his 70s).

I feel regret that he is no longer with us, but he was in great pain towards the end (his spine was crumbling) and he died at home surrounded by his family. So I am not sad for him but celebrate a life lived to the full.