leonard norman cohen biography

Leonard Norman Cohen,  is a Canadian singer-songwriter, musician, poet, and novelist. His work often explores religion, isolation, sexuality, and interpersonal relationships. He was born on 21 September 1934 in Westmount in Quebec, into a middle-class Jewish family.. His father, Nathan Cohen died when Cohen was nine years old. Cohen attended Westmount High School, where he studied music and poetry As a teenager, he learned to play the guitar, and formed a country-folk group called the Buckskin Boys.

In 1951, Cohen enrolled at McGill University, where he became president of the McGill Debating Union. Poetry Let Us Compare Mythologies (1956) was published as the first book in the McGill Poetry Series the year after Cohen’s graduation. The book contained “poems written largely when Cohen was between the ages of fifteen and twenty,” and Cohen dedicated the book to his late father. After completing his undergraduate degree, Cohen spent a term in McGill’s law school and then a year (1956-7) at the School of General Studies at Columbia University.

Consequently, Cohen left New York and returned to Montreal in 1957, working various odd jobs and focusing on the writing of fiction and poetry, including the poems for his next book, The Spice-Box of Earth (1961. Fortunately for Cohen, his father’s will provided him with a modest trust income. This book helped Cohen gain critical recognition as an important new voice in Canadian poetryCohen continued to write poetry and fiction throughout much of the 1960s and preferred to live in quasi-reclusive circumstances after he bought a house on Hydra, in Greek .

He lived there with Marianne C. Stang Jensen Ihlen (born in Norway 1935), and the song “So long Marianne” was written to and about her. Their relationship lasted for most of the 1960s. While living and writing on Hydra, Cohen published the poetry collection Flowers for Hitler (1964), and the novels The Favourite Game (1963) and Beautiful Losers (1966). His novel The Favourite Game was an autobiographical bildungsroman about a young man who discovers his identity through writing.

Beautiful Losers received a good deal of attention from the Canadian press and stirred up controversy because of a number of sexually graphic passages. In 1966 Cohen also published Parasites of Heaven, a book of poems. Both Beautiful Losers and Parasites of Heaven received mixed reviews and sold few copies. In 1967, disappointed with his lack of financial success as a writer, Cohen moved to the United States to pursue a career as a folk music singer-songwriter. His song “Suzanne” became a hit for Judy Collins and was for many years his most covered song.

Cohen’s first album  Songs of Leonard Cohen (1967). became a cult favorite in the US, as well as in the UK. Several of the songs on that first album were covered by other popular folk artists, including James Taylor and Judy Collins. Cohen followed up that first album with Songs from a Room (1969) (featuring the often-recorded “Bird on the Wire”) and Songs of Love and Hate (1970). In 1970, Cohen toured for the first time, with dates in the United States, Canada and Europe.

Cohen had a relationship beginning in the 1970s with the Los Angeles artist Suzanne Elrod, with whom he has two children: a son, Adam, born in 1972, and a daughter, Lorca, born in 1974 and named after poet Federico Garcia Lorca. Cohen and Elrod split up in 1979. Suzanne”, one of his best-known songs, refers to Suzanne Verdal, the former wife of his friend, the Quebecois sculptor Armand Vaillancourt, rather than ElrodBeginning around 1974, Cohen’s collaboration with pianist and arranger John Lissauer created a live sound praised by the critics.

They toured together in 1974 in Europe, and in US and Canada in late 1974 and early 1975, in support of Cohen’s record New Skin for the Old Ceremony, In 1976 Cohen, now without Lissauer, embarked on a new major European tour, with a new band and major change in his sound and arrangements, again, in support of his The Best of Leonard Cohen release (in Europe retitled as Greatest Hits). After the European tour of 1976, Cohen again attempted a new change in his style and arrangements; his new 1977 record, Death of a Ladies’ Man Subsequently, Cohen published less, with major gaps, concentrating more on recording songs.

In 1978, he published his first book of poetry in many years, Death of a Lady’s Man. It wasn’t until 1984 that Cohen published his next book of poems, Book of Mercy, which won him the Canadian Author’s Association Literary Award for Poetry  In 1993, Cohen published Stranger Music: Selected Poems and Songs, and in 2006, after 10 years of delays, additions and rewritings, Book of Longing. In 1979, Cohen returned with the more traditional Recent Songs, which blended his acoustic style with jazz and Oriental and Mediterranean influences.

Beginning with this record, praised in 2001 by Cohen as his favourite, In early 1980s was released Cohen’s next record Various Positions,  The LP included “Dance Me to the End of Love and the frequently covered “Hallelujah”. “Hallelujah” initially had limited success. . In recent years “Hallelujah” has been performed by almost 200 artists in various languagesIn the 1980s, Cohen was in a relationship with the French photographer Dominique Issermann.

The use of the album track “Everybody Knows” in the 1990 film Pump Up the Volume helped expose Cohen’s music to a younger audience. In 1993 Cohen also published his book of selected poems and songs, Stranger Music: Selected Poems and Songs. In the 1990s, Cohen was romantically linked to actress Rebecca De Mornay. De Mornay co-produced Cohen’s 1992 album The FutureIn 1994, Cohen retreated to the Mt.

Baldy Zen Center near Los Angeles, beginning what became five years of seclusion at the center. In 1996, Cohen was ordained as a Rinzai Zen Buddhistmonk and took the Dharma name Jikan, meaning “silence. In 1997, Cohen oversaw the selection and release of More Best of Leonard Cohen album. Although around 2000 there was a public impression that Cohen would not resume recording or publishing, he returned to Los Angeles in May 1999.

He began to contribute regularly to The Leonard Cohen Files fan website, emailing new poems and drawings from Book of Longing  After two years of production, Cohen returned to music in 2001 with the release of Ten New Songs, The album was a major hit for Cohen in Canada and Europe, and he supported it with the hit single “In My Secret Life” In October 2004, Cohen released Dear Heather, largely a musical collaboration with jazz chanteuse (and current romantic partner)  Blue Alert, an album of songs co-written by Anjani and Cohen, was released on 23 May 2006 to positive reviews.

In 2005, Cohen sued Kelley Lynch, his longtime manager, alleging that she had misappropriated over US $5 million from Cohen’s retirement fund leaving only $150,000. ] Cohen was sued in turn by other former business associates. In March 2006, Cohen won a civil suit and was awarded US $9 million by a Los Angeles County superior court. Lynch, however, ignored the suit and did not respond to a subpoena issued for her financial records. As a result it has been widely reported that Cohen may never be able to collect the awarded amount.

Cohen’s book of poetry and drawings, as well as CD Book of Longing, was published in 2006 The book quickly topped bestseller lists in Canada. On 13 May 2006, Cohen made his first public appearance in thirteen years. In 2008, Cohen quietly announced a long-anticipated world concert tour. ]The tour, Cohen’s first in 15 years. In September, October and November 2008, Cohen gave a marathon tour of Europe, including stops in Austria, Ireland, Poland, Romania, Italy, Germany, and Scandinavia. In London, he played two more shows.

In 2009, Cohen released Live in London, recorded on 17 July 2008 at London’s O2 Arena and released on DVD and as a two-CD set. The album contains 25 songs and is over two-and-a-half hours long. It was the first official DVD in Cohen’s recording career. The third leg of Cohen’s World Tour 2008-2009 encompassed New Zealand and Australia. [47] In February 2009, Cohen played his first American concert in fifteen years  in New York City. In July 2009, Cohen started his marathon European tour.. Among others he performed in the Czech Republic.

On 21 September, on his 75th birthday, he performed in Barcelona. The show, last in Europe in 2009 and rumoured to be the last European concert ever. The last concert of this leg was held in Tel Aviv, Israel. The sixth leg of the 2008-2009 world tour went again to US, with fifteen shows in October and November, The 2009 world tour earned a reported $9. 5 million. Cohen’s 2008-2009 world tour was prolonged into 2010. A new biography, I’m Your Man: The Life of Leonard Cohen, written by Sylvie Simmons, was published in October 2012.

The book is the second major biography of Cohen (Ira Nadel’s 1997 biography Various Positions was the first). Leonard Cohen’s 12th studio album, Old Ideas, was released worldwide on 31 January 2012, and it soon became the highest charting album of Cohen’s entire career, reaching #1 positions in Canada, Norway, Finland, Netherlands, Spain, Belgium, Poland, Hungary, Czech Republic, Croatia, New Zealand, and top ten positions in United States, Australia, France, Portugal, UK, Scotland, Austria, Denmark, Sweden, Ireland, Germany, and Switzerland.

It grapples once again with topics Mr. Cohen has pondered throughout his career: love, desire, faith, betrayal, redemption. Some of the diction is biblical; some is drily sardonic. In August 2012, Cohen embarked on new European tour in support of Old Ideas. European leg ended in October, after concerts in Belgium, France (Olympia in Paris), Wembley Stadium in London, Spain, Portugal, Germany, Italy , Denmark, Sweden, Norway, Finland, in Bucharest-the capital of Romania and then in Turkey.

The second leg of the Old Ideas World Tour was taking place in the US and Canada in November and in December, with 56 shows altogether on both legs. Cohen is one of the most fascinating and enigmatic … singer/songwriters of the late ’60s … and has retained an audience across four decades of music-making … He commands the attention of critics and younger musicians more firmly than any other musical figure from the 1960s who is still working at the outset of the 21st century. | | | | | | | | | | | | | | | | | | |

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