Wednesday, March 18, 2009

Leonard Cohen

Leonard Cohen is 74 years of age. I have written about Cohen before. In recent years I have gained appreciation for the man’s song writing and poetic proficiency. He began as a novelist and poet but his music soon overshadowed those areas. He is a master crafter of words and I admire that. He is a story teller. He is humbled that he is considered a singer since the way he carries a tune resembles rap, a tonal conversational kind of rap talking. But as he himself acknowledged as an unlikely event, he was inducted in 2008 into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame. He has been a prolific composer and writer and has gained a global audience of appreciative fans. Along the way he has been inducted into the Canadian Music Hall of Fame and the Canadian Songwriters Hall of Fame. In 1991, Cohen was made an Officer of the Order of Canada. In 2003 he was made a Companion to the Order of Canada and that is Canada's highest civilian honor which recognizes a lifetime of outstanding achievement, dedication to the community and service to the nation. In June 2008, he was made a Grand Officer of the National Order of Quebec. Cohen has published 12 books, including two novels (1963's "The Favorite Game" and 1966's "Beautiful Losers") and, most recently, 2006's "Book of Longing," a collection of poetry, prose and drawings. "Book of Longing" reached #1 on the Top 10 Hardcover Fiction Books in Canada, as compiled by Maclean's Magazine, being the first book of poetry ever to reach the top of the bestsellers' lists in Canada.

In 2008 he had to come away from his life as a recluse to go back on the road as an entertainer because Cohen’s former manager and lover Kelley Lynch misappropriated more than $5 million, reducing Cohen’s retirement account to $150,000. A Los Angeles court awarded him a $9 million civil judgment, but he has reportedly not been able to collect from Lynch. Too bad, so sad you might say. Wouldn't you like 150 grand?

The clip mentioned here is of Cohen singing/rapping the Tower of Song, an enigmatic piece, poetic, satiric, commentary, whimsical and it is the one he also quoted when he was inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame.

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