Remembering Leonard Cohen: Leaders and Innovators Share Favorite Lyrics and Inspiring Quotes
Leonard Cohen, a legendary talent known as the "songwriter’s songwriter," died at 82. His death was announced Thursday and no cause was given.
Cohen was an enigmatic man who didn’t set out to be a songwriter, though he grew up loving Hank Williams and country music. He had an eclectic youth in Montreal, working in jobs at a foundry and even a clothing factory. He’d go on to study at McGill and even Columbia. Still, he’d imagined he’d become an author, not a musician.
That dream changed with the guitar and a handful of lessons in his 20s. His teacher never showed up to their fifth lesson -- Cohen would learn later that man had taken his life sometime after their fourth class. But those chance sessions with a man he barely knew inadvertently formed the basis for his remaining life and legacy.
He would publish works of poetry and fiction, but would be most known as an influential songwriter whose haunting works would span nearly five decades. He'd record 14 studio albums with songs covered by everyone from Judy Collins to Bon Jovi, Justin Timberlake and Bono. Hallelujah, one of his most well-known songs, has been covered so many times and by so many people, Newsweek ranked 60 versions of just that song on the tune’s 30th anniversary last year.
Remarkably, Cohen remained a working musician until nearly the end. He toured often during 2008 to 2013 -- while he was in his 70s -- and released a new album just month.
His lyrics were so iconic, on hearing the news of his passing, fans took to Twitter Thursday instantly sharing their favorite lyrics in tribute. Some of these fans included heads of state, actors and actresses and Tony winners.
"He sank beneath your wisdom like a stone" might be my favorite Cohen lyric of all time. It's hard to pick. https://t.co/0r6wusa9wK— Lin-Manuel Miranda (@Lin_Manuel) November 11, 2016
RIP Leonard Cohen.— Gary Shteyngart (@Shteyngart) November 11, 2016
"Everybody knows that the boat is leaking
Everybody knows that the captain lied."
"...it's time that we began— krysten ritter (@Krystenritter) November 11, 2016
to laugh and cry and cry and laugh about it all again" RIP Leonard Cohen :(
"I remember you well, in the Chelsea hotel, you were famous- your heart was a legend..." see you on the other side Leonard Cohen.— Adam Savage (@donttrythis) November 11, 2016
There's a blaze of light— Justin Trudeau (@JustinTrudeau) November 11, 2016
In every word
It doesn't matter which you heard
The holy or the broken Hallelujah#RIPLeonard
RIP Leonard Cohen. Wow. pic.twitter.com/YEhg8dYuvE— Scott Hoying (@scotthoying) November 11, 2016
'Hail hail, a genius has vacated this realm.' The world remembers the great Leonard Cohen, 1934-2016. https://t.co/eL6DJ83LAb— Maclean's Magazine (@MacleansMag) November 11, 2016
Others shared links to his most well-known songs.
Leonard Cohen singing 'Suzanne' https://t.co/sC1JTxa5UO— mia farrow (@MiaFarrow) November 11, 2016
And some shared anecdotes that touched them -- including interviews he'd given or letters he'd written.
And still others created their own unique tributes with art and song:
RIP Leonard Cohen https://t.co/FknSh8m4AK— Trench (@AcousticTrench) November 11, 2016
To celebrate more of his work, find his catalog free on Spotify.