Leonard Cohen dies aged 82


Canadian singer Leonard Cohen has died aged 82…

The following announcement was made on Cohen’s facebook page:

“It is with profound sorrow we report that legendary poet, songwriter and artist, Leonard Cohen has passed away. We have lost one of music’s most revered and prolific visionaries.

A memorial will take place in Los Angeles at a later date. The family requests privacy during their time of grief.”

The songwriter, poet and author had only just released his 14th studio album You Want It Darker and in fact the vinyl edition of that record is still not out at the time of writing.

Cohen is probably best know for his songs Suzanne and So Long Marianne, although in later years Hallelujah (originally from 1984’s Various Positions) has become a modern classic, and achieved unlikely primetime recognition when it was chosen as the ‘winner’s song’ in the 2008 series of X-Factor.

A poet to the end, in a letter to his muse, Marianne Ihlen, who died in Norway in July this year, Cohen wrote “Marianne it’s come to this time when we are really so old and our bodies are falling apart and I think I will follow you very soon. Know that I am so close behind you that if you stretch out your hand, I think you can reach mine”.

Rest in Peace. Leonard Cohen 1934-2016.

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Larry Davis

Even though LC was quite spiritual, if not outright religious, I was never put off by that, me being a Jewish-born atheist. Lenny came off more like a wise witty writer whose works felt weighty and with a European-like melodicism…like a cross between Bob Dylan, Johnny Cash and Jaques Brel. Exotic yet earthy. I can hear the Pet Shop Boys melodic and economical style influenced by Lenny. Dylan’s take on LC’s music was pretty spot-on. No one else sounded like Lenny, before or since. I’ll always remember how I first got into his music…the same time I discovered Tom Waits, both were written about highly at the same time, LC with “I’m Your Man” and TW with “Bone Machine”, and had to get used to both, as both were writerly lyrically that I dug, but acquired tastes in the vocals…LC speak-singing and TW like gargling glass. What really got me to appreciate him…even more than TW…was the movie and soundtrack “Natural Born Killers”, LC’s haunting masterpiece “Waiting For The Miracle” playing over the opening credits…like WOAH, deep man…and the uplifting catchy “The Future” over the closing credits…bought the soundtrack and “The Future” afterwards and future and past works after that. I appreciate TW, but LC much more…yes he lived a long rich life, but a legend is surely gone and am saddened…

Stephen E Cohen

I was just getting out of a Pet Shop Boys concert (quite different music) here the other night when I got the breaking news of Leonard Cohen’s death. What always struck me and obviously so many others about him was his songwriting ability. He seemed to influence so many artists that I admire from James Taylor to Carole King to Billy Joel to k.d. Lang. My favorite interpretations of any of his songs is Jennifer Warnes take on “First We Take Manhattan” from 1987 or maybe Ian McCulloch’s version of “Lover Lover Lover” in 1992. He never downplayed his Judaism, despite studying different ideas in Buddhism, Christianity, etc. I suppose that is why so many artists from so many backgrounds were inspired by him. A true poet and legend.


Not that well known, but listen to Dress Rehearsal Rag, a spine shivering song about getting old, wirtten in the early 70s. And Avalance form the same album.

About the poppy song – maybe it was ‘First we take manhattan’, ‘The Future’, or supper poppy (by LC standards) ‘Closing Time’?

Chris Squires

Time for a 15 / 16 album box set 180g and hardback book a la “5 years”. I’m in.

Those who say Leonard’s music was depressing are either depressive by nature or just haven’t really listened to any / much of his music. It’s genuinely beautiful, particularly if one takes the time to listen to what the man is saying. Some of the world’s best poetry set to music. Much of it is just so darned clever and insightful. Words that once they get into your mind you go “yeah, I get that, I’ve been there…I understand”.

From the feeling of inhabiting the world’s stage as a main player in your youth to feeling on the periphery as you mature, all the men / women you have loved are but pieces of your play.

Ahhh, crap I’m off to listen to something LC, I need cheering up.

CJ Feeney

I used to dislike the Smiths because Morrissey was “just miserable” and I didn’t see the underlying humour which was the strength of his writing. Same with Leonard Cohen . I missed out on his music, apart from an appearance on Later.. with Jools Holland, but when he made his comeback the music just clicked.

Since then I’ve had a period of depression where his music was a real comfort to me. songs like Anthem, Hallelujah, If it Be your Will are all superficially “depressing” but offer an empathetic take and a hand of hope to pull you out of the mire.

And as for the focus on lyrics, this long and wide ranging article has lots of fascinating info but scroll down a long way and you will find Bob Dylan’s praise for Cohen as a writer of great melodies and song structures:



No need for a new box set. His music is out there on Vinyl, and there’s already an excellent – and cheap – box set on CD. They all sound excellent.

Larry Davis

Yes it is, but an updated one would be nice…the box is missing the final 3 albums, the live outtakes CD, and “Live In London” 2CD/DVD…yes you can get it all separately, but all condensed together in one set would be amazing.


Discovered Cohen back in the 90’s when i was close to 40 !
You probably need to be a bit old to appreciate his songs…
Anyway lots of great albums during several decades.
Love you Leonard


RIP, Mr Cohen. Godspeed.

Le Baron

I think ‘Famous Blue Raincoat’ may be the best song ever written.
Rest in Peace, Mr Genius… :'(


Tragic. He really was one of a kind. It was mostly words first for Leonard, music secondary – yet his gift for the artform was one of musical restraint (hence he didn’t get on with Spector). He was a man with much to say, and his loss is enormous.


Help me out someone please. I saw Cohen on I think BBC2 Whistle Test. He was singing a song with a very catchy bridge or chorus that looped around itself. He had female backing singers that repeated his words.

One of those songs that I have searched for years to find again. Never could find it as I don’t remember the words, only the melody. Any ideas?

Bassel hassouna

Take this waltz? You’re description is not very helpful…

Bassel hassouna



Sounds like “So Long Marianne”


On second thoughts, the song you’re thinking of is perhaps Who by Fire.


And me, even checked on Youtube to confirm but couldn’t find an OGWT Who By Fire. Coincidently, that was the first song of his that came into my mind after hearing the news yesterday


Thanks for the suggestions chaps, but no it’s not any of those 3. It’s more upbeat and groovier than those. That is why I was surprised to hear it from him. It was almost a pop song by his standard! The backing singers only alternate repeat one or two of the same words after he says them a few times over in the chorus.


@Daran, try The Future it may be that one.

Bassel hassouna

@daran how about lover lover lover. Or memorie


OMG!!!! Yes, that’s it! The Future…. Thanks so much :) Twenty + years I have had that in my head not knowing what is was. Resolution at last.

Larry Davis

Was it the future??

Paul Wren

Rejoice in Len’s music, especially his latest release if you haven’t heard it. Doubtless there will be posthumous “new material” releases as well.

Kenneth Tilley

Oh No just heard the news, really sad. I had the privilege to see him live twice, once in the seventies and the other was a princes trust concert at the Royal Albert Hall in the middle eighties and he was amazing each time. It was sad the reasons he had to make a comeback in recent years
but at least a new generation of fans got to appreciate him.
Rest In Peace Leonard, You’ll Be Much Missed. xx


Thanks Paul, I couldn’t see myself what Trump election has to do with the subject matter here.

Back on topic, it’s very depressing to see how many music artists left us this year, I really can’t remember a year such as 2016 in that regard. I’m 33 and maybe I don’t have enough memory to go back, but seriously… Bowie, Prince and Leonard Cohen are more than enough to represent the huge loss we suffered.

Paul Mac

Suddenly the night has grown colder indeed….RIP Mr. C

William M

I discovered Leonard Cohen through a U2 connection then I kind of drifted away, then I heard the theme to true detective and The Edge covering if it be your will and I rediscovered him, I own all his albums now and only completed my collection on Tuesday, to awaken to the news of his passing today just left me so low. He really was a master of lyricism and dark humour, a true troubadour. 2016 is a year to forget music wise.


Very sad but still a good age at 82….but personally I think his music is really depressing, I don’t want doom and gloom in my music I want something that’s tuneful and sung by someone who can actually sing rather than sound depressing all the time…over rated like kate bush but she’s a better singer…right now where was I? Ahh yes I was listening to that wonderful new album “Sleep No More” by Jack Savoretti and the song “Any Other Way” Mmmmm brilliant.


Why did you bother commenting if you don’t like him?


Calling Cohen’s music “depressing” is just lazy repeating of ill informed popular myth, like Elvis never did anything good after the Army etc. Cohen’s music is to these ears beautiful and uplifting, has depth and humour in spades if you listen carefully – “Don’t go home with your hard-on”.

By contrast, Jack Savoretti sounds to these ears like a new genre I’ll call ‘folk stadium’ that would get the toes tapping of Robbie Williams fans, with as much depth as a puddle in Sydney.

Chris Squires

No such thing as over rated, particularly when you look at length of career. True artists find their level after 35+ years. They are where they are because of what they have produced, so the over-rated tag is just you saying you don’t like him / her and it is your opinion. Other than that it means nothing.

Kris from Perth

One of the worlds real gentlemen has sadly left the ‘Tower Of Song’.
R.I.P. Leonard…such a sad day/night.

CJ Feeney

I prefer to think he has joined Hank Williams “a hundred floors above us, in the tower of song”


Very sad but I was not a fan of his music, apart from “Hallelujah”. It was all rather too dreary for me. Although, his music will live on with those who do like it.

CJ Feeney

Everybody knows that the boat is leaking
Everybody knows that the captain lied
Everybody got this broken feeling
Like their father or their dog just died

Sums up this week.

This was no ‘shock’ to me, as I think the letter to Marianne and his most recent interviews suggested a man who was content with what he has achieved and ready to go.

I am glad he made his comeback. I would not have got into his music otherwise. Like Johnny Cash he seemed to find his voice again, and the ears of a new generation in his last decade.

Wes Headley

RIP Leonard. You will forever be a genius songwriter that helped me to open my eyes. You will be missed but never forgotten. 2016 we just skip ahead to 2017 now please?

Simon Taylor

Sigh! Oh well, sad day and put on the Isle of Wight 1970 performance this morning which is ace!

“Would everyone light a match so you’ll sparkle like fireflies?” Superb!

Havent got the new album yet, I’d bought the last 2 on cd but thought I’d put the vinyl for You Want it Darker on my Christmas list. Just checked amazon and its number one, unsurprisingly, thinking maybe I should invest now rather than wait for Christmas in case stocks run out.

R.I.P. Mr Cohen!!


Unbelievable. RIP Leonard Cohen.


When a certain evil, obnoxious, vile man begins to reign over the western world and Leonard who is the opposite* of this man in every way departs this world it is time to ask `Is this the end of times?` BUT NO Leonard would not have that of us.

Leonard Cohen was a great man, a man of Dignity, Respect and Love, go well Leonard, Peace & Love, you will not be forgotten.

*I don`t think Leonard will mind me saying that he did have one thing in common with `the orange one`, Leonard was a ladies man but he did treat them with respect, understanding & love.


I had a feeling his latest album was his very own Blackstar. :(


@Brian, so did I the more I listened to it, but just didn’t want it to be true. Absolutely gutted, but so glad I saw him live in Leeds a few years ago especially as I was a more recent fan.


Songs of Love and Hate was one of the soundtracks of my youth that i and my best friends used to listen to while discussing naive youthful ideals. The friends are gone my youth has flown
and now leonard is gone. “One by one the stars in heaven are all going out”
What a year.


Bowie, Cohen, Prince, Wogan, George Martin, Victoria Wood, Caroline Aherne, et al.

Brexit and Trump

Is 2016 the worst year in living memory?

There is a crack in everything. Let’s hope the light gets in…

Goodnight Lenny

DJ Salinger

‘And now the wheels of heaven stop
you feel the devil’s riding crop
Get ready for the future: it is murder.’

More prescient words from a master of mordant wit. RIP Mr C.


Another one to join the Big Band. Time to spin Songs of Love and Hate! Have a smooth ride Mr. Cohen.

Ben Williams

Hallelujah, Bird On The Wire, If It Be Your Will, Anyhow, Treaty… I could go on and on listing Cohen’s greatest songs but I would have to list all his songs.

Today, this week, this year, only bad news.


Who By Fire……

Another of my all time favourites since my teenage years gone.

Saw Leonard outdoors in 2008 (I think) in Dublin, one of the finest gigs ever.

David mcIntyre

Another great leaves us. 2016 really has been a dick of a year. Sleep well Mr Cohen


“I read the news today, oh boy!”

Thanks Leonard. Loved your music. RIP


This is turning into a spectacularly depressing week in what was already a spectacularly depressing year.

RIP Mr Cohen, off to join the other wonderfully talented artists that have left us this year.

Chris Squires

Aaargh, it was only a couple of weeks ago I was saying how I got into Leonard through I’m Your Fan. Now he is another one who has gone. It’s been a crap year from Bowie to Corbett, from Rickman to Prince and now Cohen. And not forgetting King Terry Wogan chatting to Jimmy Young, the radio of my very early years. Sad day.


Hallelujah is a great testament! R.I.P.


I came around late; my first exposure to Leonard Cohen (apart from reading about Jennifer Warnes’ Famous Blue Raincoat: The Songs of Leonard Cohen—which raised the question, “Who the hell is Leonard Cohen?”—when it came out) was “Elvis’ Rolls Royce” on Was (Not Was)’s 1990 album, Are You Okay?

I tend to lean toward his later material—specifically The Future and the last three albums (though I have yet to obtain a copy of the latest)—as I prefer the low, scratchy voice of his later years to the higher, nasal tone of his earlier works.


Saw him a few years ago at Glastonbury and he was wonderful. At least he was around long enough to see a whole new generation discover his brilliance. RIP Leonard.


RIP Leonard, a great talent. I will play my albums box set tonight and raise a glass….


Shocking news, Paul….
RIP, Leonard Cohen.

Larry Davis

I’m not shocked, knowing what he went through making it…details in a recent Rolling Stone article and a note from his son in the new album…using a special chair device while recording his vocals in his daughter’s home…I knew he was at his end…just happy he was able to complete it and release it in time…rip lc


Prince released an album two weeks after his death, Bowie : the same, Pete Burns : the same, and now Leonard Cohen
Many coïncidence…

David M

Well, Bowie’s album came out 2 days before he died, Cohen’s came out a few weeks ago. Both artists may have had an inkling their days were numbered and (particularly Cohen), sped up frequency of releases in their last few years,


“Prince released an album two weeks after his death”

No he didn’t.


Actually, he did. Hit n Run Phase 2 got it’s wide release about two weeks after he died. Prior to that it had only been available streaming on Tidal or on sale at one of his exclusive gigs at Paisley Park. It didn’t go on sale to the general public until just a couple weeks after his death.


So Long Leonard… :(


David Bowie, Prince and Leonard Cohen died this year.

Donald Trump…still alive.

Proof of no god.

Henrik Kirkegaard

So sad
The master is gone….RIP to one of the greatest ever songwriters

Mark Carroll

Excuse me ?????….

Larry Davis

Pete Burns gone too…whatta year 2016 eh??