We have lost one of music's most revered and prolific visionaries
November 10, 2016 6:15 PM   Subscribe

 
Give me back my broken night
my mirrored room, my secret life
it's lonely here,
there's no one left to torture
Give me absolute control
over every living soul
And lie beside me, baby,
that's an order!
Give me crack and anal sex
Take the only tree that's left
and stuff it up the hole
in your culture
Give me back the Berlin wall
give me Stalin and St Paul
I've seen the future, brother:
it is murder.
Things are going to slide, slide in all directions
Won't be nothing
Nothing you can measure anymore
The blizzard, the blizzard of the world
has crossed the threshold
and it has overturned
the order of the soul
When they said REPENT REPENT
I wonder what they meant
When they said REPENT REPENT
I wonder what they meant
When they said REPENT REPENT
I wonder what they meant
You don't know me from the wind
you never will, you never did
I'm the little jew
who wrote the Bible
I've seen the nations rise and fall
I've heard their stories, heard them all
but love's the only engine of survival
Your servant here, he has been told
to say it clear, to say it cold:
It's over, it ain't going
any further
And now the wheels of heaven stop
you feel the devil's riding crop
Get ready for the future:
it is murder
Things are going to slide ...
There'll be the breaking of the ancient
western code
Your private life will suddenly explode
There'll be phantoms
There'll be fires on the road
and the white man dancing
You'll see a woman
hanging upside down
her features covered by her fallen gown
and all the lousy little poets
coming round
tryin' to sound like Charlie Manson
and the white man dancin'
Give me back the Berlin wall
Give me Stalin and St Paul
Give me Christ
or give me Hiroshima
Destroy another fetus now
We don't like children anyhow
I've seen the future, baby:
it is murder
Things are going to slide ...
When they said REPENT REPENT ...
posted by Senor Cardgage at 6:16 PM on November 10, 2016 [44 favorites]


Fuck.
posted by rokusan at 6:16 PM on November 10, 2016 [1 favorite]


Today, of course, today
posted by fast ein Maedchen at 6:17 PM on November 10, 2016 [11 favorites]


If you are the dealer, I'm out of the game
If you are the healer, it means I'm broken and lame
If thine is the glory then mine must be the shame
You want it darker
We kill the flame
posted by jesourie at 6:17 PM on November 10, 2016 [19 favorites]


Just gutted. Leonard lived a very long and wonderful life and is now released from painful infirmity. But what a loss for us, and at this time especially. So many wondrous songs, poems, and novels, but today I think immediately of:

Democracy
It's coming through a hole in the air
From those nights in Tiananmen Square
It's coming from the feel
That this ain't exactly real
Or it's real, but it ain't exactly there
From the wars against disorder
From the sirens night and day
From the fires of the homeless
From the ashes of the gay
Democracy is coming to the USA

It's coming through a crack in the wall
On a visionary flood of alcohol
From the staggering account
Of the Sermon on the Mount
Which I don't pretend to understand at all
It's coming from the silence
On the dock of the bay,
From the brave, the bold, the battered
Heart of Chevrolet
Democracy is coming to the USA

It's coming from the sorrow in the street
The holy places where the races meet
From the homicidal bitchin'
That goes down in every kitchen
To determine who will serve and who will eat
From the wells of disappointment
Where the women kneel to pray
For the grace of God in the desert here
And the desert far away:
Democracy is coming to the USA

Sail on, sail on
Oh mighty ship of State
To the shores of need
Past the reefs of greed
Through the Squalls of hate
Sail on, sail on, sail on, sail on

It's coming to America first
The cradle of the best and of the worst
It's here they got the range
And the machinery for change
And it's here they got the spiritual thirst
It's here the family's broken
And it's here the lonely say
That the heart has got to open
In a fundamental way
Democracy is coming to the USA

It's coming from the women and the men
Oh baby, we'll be making love again
We'll be going down so deep
The river's going to weep,
And the mountain's going to shout Amen
It's coming like the tidal flood
Beneath the lunar sway
Imperial, mysterious
In amorous array
Democracy is coming to the USA

Sail on, sail on
O mighty ship of State
To the shores of need
Past the reefs of greed
Through the squalls of hate
Sail on, sail on, sail on, sail on

I'm sentimental, if you know what I mean
I love the country but I can't stand the scene
And I'm neither left or right
I'm just staying home tonight
Getting lost in that hopeless little screen
But I'm stubborn as those garbage bags
As time cannot decay
I'm junk but I'm still holding up this little wild bouquet
Democracy is coming to the USA
To the USA
posted by FelliniBlank at 6:17 PM on November 10, 2016 [63 favorites]


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posted by PaulZ at 6:17 PM on November 10, 2016


Fourth post. Are they all going to be deleted?
posted by waitingtoderail at 6:17 PM on November 10, 2016 [1 favorite]


Thanks for the trouble you took from my eyes, lc.
posted by fluffy battle kitten at 6:17 PM on November 10, 2016 [10 favorites]


I was just listening to an NPR piece about his latest album and his thoughts on dying. What a shame.

Can someone PLEASE figure out the safe word for 2016 already?
posted by Suffocating Kitty at 6:17 PM on November 10, 2016 [26 favorites]


Oh fuck off already 2016.

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posted by Foci for Analysis at 6:17 PM on November 10, 2016 [12 favorites]


The major fall.

This week I really wanted a minor lift.
posted by maxsparber at 6:18 PM on November 10, 2016 [70 favorites]


I knew this was going to happen soon, from the tone of his latest album to the letter he wrote to his Marianne shortly before her death it was plainly coming. But goddamnit, not now.

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posted by palomar at 6:18 PM on November 10, 2016 [7 favorites]


I've been saying all year that as long as Leonard Cohen stayed alive, I could make it through 2016 without my heart completely shattering. This is too much. I have great friends here on the west coast, but all I want right now is to be in Toronto or Montreal with the people I first listened to Leonard Cohen with. And wine. A lot of wine.
posted by atropos at 6:18 PM on November 10, 2016 [16 favorites]


I didn't want it darker.
posted by jesourie at 6:18 PM on November 10, 2016 [41 favorites]


Sincerely, L. Cohen.

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posted by hobgadling at 6:18 PM on November 10, 2016 [25 favorites]


Im glad im not the only one posting full lyrics. But he merits it
posted by Senor Cardgage at 6:18 PM on November 10, 2016 [2 favorites]


.

He is one of my favorite musicians, probably second all-time behind Elliott Smith. I've been talking for months about what I would give to see him live before he passed. Heartbroken that I never got the chance.

To those who haven't listened to You Want It Darker, do so. It was his farewell to the world - and what a farewell it was.

So long, Leonard. Say hello to Marianne for us.
posted by that silly white dress at 6:18 PM on November 10, 2016 [4 favorites]


In a letter earlier this year, he sounded like he was ready and knew this was coming soon.
posted by dilettante at 6:19 PM on November 10, 2016 [1 favorite]


With respect he died at a respectable age and like Bowie managed a final coda on a remarkable career. But all the same... man, I'm done with 2016.
posted by ardgedee at 6:19 PM on November 10, 2016 [17 favorites]


Everybody got this broken feeling, like their father or their dog just died.
posted by FelliniBlank at 6:20 PM on November 10, 2016 [46 favorites]


RIP, Mr. Cohen. You wrote some fine songs.
posted by jonmc at 6:20 PM on November 10, 2016


Thank you Leonard. Thank you. Go easy into the night.
posted by adamvasco at 6:20 PM on November 10, 2016


ring the bells that still can ring
forget your perfect offering
there is a crack in everything
that's how the light gets in

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posted by nicebookrack at 6:20 PM on November 10, 2016 [37 favorites]


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posted by LobsterMitten at 6:21 PM on November 10, 2016


Maclean's on Leonard Cohen's third act (Sept. 2016)

I'm Your Man

Goodbye, Leonard.
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posted by snorkmaiden at 6:21 PM on November 10, 2016 [1 favorite]


Even at 82, this seems too soon.

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posted by aclevername at 6:21 PM on November 10, 2016 [6 favorites]


.

That's all I have. Just .
posted by soren_lorensen at 6:22 PM on November 10, 2016


Damn it. He was closer to "ready to go" than many we've lost this year but we've lost so many and so much this year. It's as if everything I love has been lined up like Tiffany vases on a mantle and they are being pushed off, one at a time, by the bony finger of Death.

A remarkable artist. A terrible loss. Rest well, Leonard.
posted by nfalkner at 6:23 PM on November 10, 2016 [9 favorites]


Because apparently 2016 wasn't fucked enough.
posted by corb at 6:23 PM on November 10, 2016 [12 favorites]


"Hineni, hineni
I'm ready, my lord"
posted by HuronBob at 6:23 PM on November 10, 2016 [18 favorites]


Damn it, it was not my will that he speak no more.

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posted by mephron at 6:23 PM on November 10, 2016 [4 favorites]


Everybody's talking to their pockets.

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posted by [expletive deleted] at 6:23 PM on November 10, 2016 [4 favorites]


Barukh atah Adonai Eloheinu melekh ha'olam, dayan ha-emet.

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posted by enjoymoreradio at 6:23 PM on November 10, 2016 [9 favorites]


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posted by juv3nal at 6:24 PM on November 10, 2016 [1 favorite]




Too many tears.

Jesus Christ.

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posted by Defying Gravity at 6:25 PM on November 10, 2016


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posted by marimeko at 6:25 PM on November 10, 2016


Goodbye Leonard. Hope to visit you someday, down the track, in the Tower of Song.
posted by mono blanco at 6:25 PM on November 10, 2016 [4 favorites]


My ex-gf introduced me to Leonard Cohen many years ago. Cohen's music brought us closer together. His gift was a gift of love. Even though we're not together, I think of the good times we had whenever I listen to Cohen. It's a nice feeling. He will be greatly missed.

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posted by Fizz at 6:25 PM on November 10, 2016 [3 favorites]


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posted by motty at 6:26 PM on November 10, 2016


Those scratchy old records...
posted by Mr. Yuck at 6:26 PM on November 10, 2016


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posted by adamt at 6:26 PM on November 10, 2016


This damn year.
posted by EmpressCallipygos at 6:26 PM on November 10, 2016 [3 favorites]


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posted by Bob Regular at 6:26 PM on November 10, 2016


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posted by drnick at 6:27 PM on November 10, 2016


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posted by MCMikeNamara at 6:28 PM on November 10, 2016


🇨🇦
posted by schmod at 6:28 PM on November 10, 2016 [7 favorites]


I was not ready. I would never be ready. I have not yet listened to his last album -- I was afraid of its power. It called its giant. I am in the panic of loss.

My darling says "Leonard,
Just let it go by
That old silhouette
On the great western sky..."

So I pick out a tune
And I move right along
And they're gone like the smoke
And they're gone like this song.


Godspeed, Leonard. Whither thou goest, I will go.
posted by Capt. Renault at 6:29 PM on November 10, 2016 [5 favorites]


I want to quote every lyric simultaneously.
posted by speicus at 6:29 PM on November 10, 2016 [12 favorites]


I have enjoyed this interview for a few years now. (There is a fleeting but utterly sweet moment involving a squirrel at 4:40.) What is there to say when a being goes into non-being? Safe passage, Leo. And thank you for all of it. Shalom.
posted by Bob Regular at 6:29 PM on November 10, 2016 [3 favorites]


There is a war between the rich and poor,
A war between the man and the woman.
There is a war between the ones who say there is a war
And the ones who say there isn't.
Why don't you come on back to the war, that's right, get in it,
Why don't you come on back to the war, it's just beginning.

Well I live here with a woman and a child,
The situation makes me kind of nervous.
Yes, I rise up from her arms, she says "I guess you call this love"
I call it service.

Why don't you come on back to the war, don't be a tourist,
Why don't you come on back to the war, before it hurts us,
Why don't you come on back to the war, let's all get nervous.

You cannot stand what I've become,
You much prefer the gentleman I was before.
I was so easy to defeat, I was so easy to control,
I didn't even know there was a war.

Why don't you come on back to the war, don't be embarrassed,
Why don't you come on back to the war, you can still get married.
There is a war between the rich and poor,
A war between the man and the woman.
There is a war between the left and right,
A war between the black and white,
A war between the odd and the even.

Why don't you come on back to the war, pick up your tiny burden,
Why don't you come on back to the war, let's all get even,
Why don't you come on back to the war, can't you hear me speaking?
posted by neroli at 6:29 PM on November 10, 2016 [13 favorites]


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posted by pb at 6:29 PM on November 10, 2016


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posted by airish at 6:29 PM on November 10, 2016


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posted by obscure simpsons reference at 6:30 PM on November 10, 2016


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posted by SNACKeR at 6:30 PM on November 10, 2016


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posted by stolyarova at 6:30 PM on November 10, 2016


God fucking dammit. "Everybody Knows" has practically been my post-election theme song. 2016 just keeps getting shittier.

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posted by Doktor Zed at 6:30 PM on November 10, 2016 [8 favorites]


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posted by benzenedream at 6:31 PM on November 10, 2016


Leonard Cohen is one of those artists that the artists I respect adore. It's not that I don't like his work for its own sake, but those songs of his I know I know because great, smart, original writers, musicians, and songwriters couldn't help but share them with me. He was a muse's muse. May his memory be for a blessing.
posted by restless_nomad at 6:31 PM on November 10, 2016 [5 favorites]


And clenching your fist for the ones like us
who are oppressed by the figures of beauty,
you fixed yourself, you said "Well, nevermind,
we are ugly but we have the music."
posted by Nerd of the North at 6:31 PM on November 10, 2016 [7 favorites]


i NEVER cry.

and i am BAWLING right now
posted by dabug at 6:33 PM on November 10, 2016 [1 favorite]


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posted by clew at 6:33 PM on November 10, 2016


Going home
Without my sorrow
Going home
Sometime tomorrow
To where it’s better
Than before

Going home
Without my burden
Going home
Without my burden
Going home
Behind the curtain
Going home
Without the costume
That I wore
posted by platypus of the universe at 6:33 PM on November 10, 2016 [6 favorites]


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posted by p3t3 at 6:33 PM on November 10, 2016


He didn't write it, but The Partisan is more timely than ever (alternate).

Oh, the wind, the wind is blowing
Through the graves the wind is blowing
Freedom soon will come
Then we'll come from the shadows


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posted by Rumple at 6:33 PM on November 10, 2016 [2 favorites]


I saw a beggar, leaning on his wooden crutch,
He said to me, you must not ask for so much.
And a pretty woman leaning in her darkened door,
She cried to me hey, why not ask for more?
posted by crazylegs at 6:33 PM on November 10, 2016 [5 favorites]


I was first introduced to Cohen through his novel Beautiful Losers. It was only later I started to hear his music...

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posted by jim in austin at 6:34 PM on November 10, 2016


Everybody knows the dice is loaded.
Everybody throws with their fingers crossed.
Everybody knows the war is over
Everybody knows the good guys lost.


Happy Harry Hard-On's got a podcast on bittorrent. Leonard is opening for him live. Tuck Frump.
posted by Slap*Happy at 6:35 PM on November 10, 2016 [6 favorites]


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posted by gwint at 6:36 PM on November 10, 2016


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posted by cybercoitus interruptus at 6:36 PM on November 10, 2016


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posted by Ickster at 6:36 PM on November 10, 2016


If it be your will
That I speak no more
And my voice be still
As it was before
I will speak no more
I shall abide until
I am spoken for
If it be your will
If it be your will
That a voice be true
From this broken hill
I will sing to you
From this broken hill
All your praises they shall ring
If it be your will
To let me sing
From this broken hill
All your praises they shall ring
If it be your will
To let me sing
If it be your will
If there is a choice
Let the rivers fill
Let the hills rejoice
Let your mercy spill
On all these burning hearts in hell
If it be your will
To make us well
And draw us near
And bind us tight
All your children here
In their rags of light
In our rags of light
All dressed to kill
And end this night
If it be your will
posted by [expletive deleted] at 6:36 PM on November 10, 2016 [6 favorites]


זכרונו לברכה
posted by jesourie at 6:36 PM on November 10, 2016 [5 favorites]


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posted by nanook at 6:37 PM on November 10, 2016


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posted by spbmp at 6:37 PM on November 10, 2016


I always felt like Cohen was a man who showed what it meant to be humble. Thank you Leonard.

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posted by bigZLiLk at 6:38 PM on November 10, 2016 [2 favorites]


If you are the dealer, I'm out of the game
If you are the healer, it means I'm broken and lame
If thine is the glory then mine must be the shame
You want it darker
We kill the flame

Magnified, sanctified, be thy holy name
Vilified, crucified, in the human frame
A million candles burning for the help that never came
You want it darker

Hineni, hineni
I'm ready, my lord

There's a lover in the story
But the story's still the same
There's a lullaby for suffering
And a paradox to blame
But it's written in the scriptures
And it's not some idle claim
You want it darker
We kill the flame

They're lining up the prisoners
And the guards are taking aim
I struggled with some demons
They were middle class and tame
I didn't know I had permission to murder and to maim
You want it darker

Hineni, hineni
I'm ready, my lord

Magnified, sanctified, be thy holy name
Vilified, crucified, in the human frame
A million candles burning for the love that never came
You want it darker
We kill the flame

If you are the dealer, let me out of the game
If you are the healer, I'm broken and lame
If thine is the glory, mine must be the shame
You want it darker

Hineni, hineni
Hineni, hineni
I'm ready, my lord

Hineni
Hineni, hineni
Hineni

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posted by droplet at 6:38 PM on November 10, 2016 [7 favorites]


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posted by Spatch at 6:39 PM on November 10, 2016


The are some men
who should have mountains
to bear their names to time.

Grave-markers are not high enough
or green,
and sons go far away
to lose the fist
their father's hand will always seem.

I had a friend:
he lived and died in mighty silence
and with dignity,
left no book, son, or lover to mourn.

Nor is this a mourning-song
but only a naming of this mountain
on which I walk,
fragrant, dark, and softly white
under the pale of mist.
I name this mountain after him.

(from The Spice-Box of Earth)
posted by Lorin at 6:39 PM on November 10, 2016 [8 favorites]


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posted by Mooski at 6:40 PM on November 10, 2016


I heard of a man
who says words so beautifully
that if he only speaks their name
women give themselves to him.

RIP Leonard
posted by unliteral at 6:40 PM on November 10, 2016


So *this* is despair, then.

Oh, 2016.
posted by nat at 6:40 PM on November 10, 2016 [2 favorites]


In a way his own words are the most beautiful tribute possible
posted by Senor Cardgage at 6:41 PM on November 10, 2016 [6 favorites]


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posted by DigDoug at 6:41 PM on November 10, 2016


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And a few "!"s because if any of us were prepared to face death well, it was Leonard.

!!!
posted by Abehammerb Lincoln at 6:41 PM on November 10, 2016 [7 favorites]


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posted by inflatablekiwi at 6:41 PM on November 10, 2016


STOP. IT. 2016.
posted by gypsyhymns at 6:43 PM on November 10, 2016 [2 favorites]


I've been taking a break from Mefi but I had to stop back when I saw this news. Maybe I could have handled this on a normal week, he's in his 80s after all, but getting this news today has just gutted me. I'm sitting here listening to The Essential Leonard Coen and I just can't cope.
posted by octothorpe at 6:43 PM on November 10, 2016 [10 favorites]


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posted by blob at 6:43 PM on November 10, 2016


Beneath My Hands

Beneath my hands
your small breasts
are the upturned bellies
of breathing fallen sparrows.

Wherever you move
I hear the sounds of closing wings
of falling wings.

I am speechless
because you have fallen beside me
because your eyelashes
are the spines of tiny fragile animals.

I dread the time
when your mouth
begins to call me hunter.

When you call me close
to tell me
your body is not beautiful
I want to summon
the eyes and hidden mouths
of stone and light and water
to testify against you.

I want them
to surrender before you
the trembling rhyme of your face
from their deep caskets.

When you call me close
to tell me
your body is not beautiful
I want my body and my hands
to be pools
for your looking and laughing.
posted by jesourie at 6:43 PM on November 10, 2016 [13 favorites]


I swear it happened just like this
A sigh, a cry, a hungry kiss
The gates of love they budged an inch
I can't say much has happened since
(I can't say much has happened since)
We're closing time
Closing time

I loved you for your beauty
But that doesn't make a fool of me
You were in it for your beauty too
And I loved you for your body
There's a voice that sounds like god to me
Declaring, (declaring) declaring, declaring that your body's really you
And I loved you when our love was blessed
And I love you now there's nothing left
But sorrow and a sense of overtime
And I missed you since the place got wrecked
And I just don't care what happens next
Looks like freedom but it feels like death
It's something in between, I guess
It's closing time
(Closing time)
(Closing time)
(Closing time)

Yeah I missed you since the place got wrecked
By the winds of change and the weeds of sex
Looks like freedom but it feels like death
It's something in between, I guess
It's closing time

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posted by hap_hazard at 6:43 PM on November 10, 2016 [6 favorites]


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posted by SansPoint at 6:43 PM on November 10, 2016


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posted by Sing Fool Sing at 6:43 PM on November 10, 2016


You who build these altars now
To sacrifice these children
You must not do it anymore
A scheme is not a vision
And you never have been tempted
By a demon or a god
You who stand above them now
Your hatchets blunt and bloody
You were not there before
When I lay upon a mountain
And my father's hand was trembling
With the beauty of the word
posted by obscure simpsons reference at 6:43 PM on November 10, 2016 [6 favorites]


I'm shattered right now. He was a hero of mine. It was through his music that I discovered my own music. He taught me that you can use poetry and guitar strings to turn depression into magic.

Thank you, Mr. Cohen.

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posted by mrjohnmuller at 6:44 PM on November 10, 2016 [7 favorites]


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posted by carter at 6:45 PM on November 10, 2016


Based on writing alone, Cohen would have been a much better choice for the Nobel Prize than Dylan.
posted by Rumple at 6:46 PM on November 10, 2016 [36 favorites]


Cohencentric is reporting:

Leonard Cohen died Monday, Nov 7, 2016.

A memorial service was held Nov 10 at Montreal’s Shaar Hashomayim Synagogue, the congregation to which Leonard and his family belonged and the congregation for which both Leonard’s great-grandfather, Lazarus Cohen, and his grandfather, Lyon Cohen, served as President.

posted by Capt. Renault at 6:46 PM on November 10, 2016 [8 favorites]


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posted by Lyme Drop at 6:46 PM on November 10, 2016


No more, 2016. No More!

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posted by jaruwaan at 6:47 PM on November 10, 2016


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posted by cazoo at 6:47 PM on November 10, 2016




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When we get home to Canada, our next show will be a Cohen tribute show.
posted by Kitteh at 6:49 PM on November 10, 2016 [1 favorite]


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posted by vert canard at 6:49 PM on November 10, 2016


Bye, Leonard.
Thanks so much.
Montreal will never feel the same.
posted by chococat at 6:50 PM on November 10, 2016 [3 favorites]


That is quite something, I just this past week turned my wife on to him, and she loves him! "He sounds like you," she said.

"We're Canadians."

Third hand story from a trainee years ago, her friend had a one nighter with him. In the very early hours she sees him slipping on his clothes. She calls out to him, "What are you doing? It's OK, stay the night."

"Poet. Gotta go."

Everybody know the fight is fixed.
The poor stay poor, the rich get rich.
That's how it goes. Everybody knows.

posted by Meatbomb at 6:51 PM on November 10, 2016 [16 favorites]


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posted by aniola at 6:52 PM on November 10, 2016


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posted by but no cigar at 6:53 PM on November 10, 2016


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posted by e1c at 6:54 PM on November 10, 2016


All men will be sailors then, until the sea shall free them.
posted by JohnFromGR at 6:56 PM on November 10, 2016 [13 favorites]


2016 is just the gift that keeps on giving, isn't it.

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posted by chaoticgood at 6:56 PM on November 10, 2016 [3 favorites]


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posted by drezdn at 6:57 PM on November 10, 2016


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posted by amery at 6:57 PM on November 10, 2016




" Love's the only engine of survival." Words to remember during this difficult time.
posted by BicycleFace at 6:58 PM on November 10, 2016 [3 favorites]


Rest well, Leonard, and thank you, from my 17 year old West Coast hippie girl self, the one who learned much from your books and your songs and carried them around like jewels.

My heart's all turned inside out with this news, coming so quickly after Tuesday. Perhaps earlier this year I could have celebrated his life, but right now all I see is the empty field of loss. And the leering face of cruelty as it assumes power over the lives of people I care for and love.

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posted by jokeefe at 6:58 PM on November 10, 2016 [8 favorites]


Passing through, passing through,
Sometimes happy, sometimes blue,
Glad that I ran into you,
Tell the people that we're only passing through...
posted by Capt. Renault at 6:58 PM on November 10, 2016 [1 favorite]


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posted by valkane at 6:59 PM on November 10, 2016


Thank you, Leonard Cohen. I sat on your stool at Bagel Etc. - there was a small plaque with your name on it. And when I went away to college, I put "Hey, That's No Way to Say Goodbye" on the mixtape I gave my girlfriend. I think it probably meant more to me, but it's hard to say
posted by Auden at 6:59 PM on November 10, 2016 [2 favorites]


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posted by vrakatar at 7:02 PM on November 10, 2016


I just said to a friend of mine: "The other day (U.S. election) was like getting a concussion out of nowhere and this is like someone gut-punching you just when you're starting to wake up."

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posted by primalux at 7:02 PM on November 10, 2016 [4 favorites]


Sisters of Mercy has been a song I've returned to again and again as a comfort.

Thank you, Leonard Cohen.

Oh, the sisters of mercy, they are not departed or gone
They were waiting for me when I thought that I just can't go on
And they brought me their comfort and later they brought me this song
Oh, I hope you run into them, you who've been travelling so long
Yes, you who must leave everything that you cannot control
It begins with your family, but soon it comes around to your soul
Well, I've been where you're hanging, I think I can see how you're pinned
When you're not feeling holy, your loneliness says that you've sinned
Well, they lay down beside me, I made my confession to them
They touched both my eyes and I touched the dew on their hem
If your life is a leaf that the seasons tear off and condemn
They will bind you with love that is graceful and green as a stem
When I left they were sleeping, I hope you run into them soon
Don't turn on the lights, you can read their address by the moon
And you won't make me jealous if I hear that they sweetened your night
We weren't lovers like that and besides, it would still be all right
We weren't lovers like that and besides, it would still be all right

posted by mandolin conspiracy at 7:03 PM on November 10, 2016 [16 favorites]


All my favorite musicians are dead.

I have a proposal for December 31st. On that day, let us all gather to symbolically burn the year 2016 in effigy. It has been the enemy of all beauty and goodness, and the advocate of all that is most terrible in the human condition.

On December 31st, we gather to trample the ashes of this year, to consign it to ignominy forevermore.
posted by LeRoienJaune at 7:04 PM on November 10, 2016 [15 favorites]


Oh fuck, I guess I haven't finished my quota of crying for the day/week/month/year. He's written verses that I'm sure have burned through my skin and straight into my blood. (Yeah, I'm neither poet nor anatomist, I'm just saying they're a part of me. I'm richer because I have them memorized, that I carry them with me. What a gift I've been given, we've been given.)

Thanks, Leonard Cohen.

.
posted by mixedmetaphors at 7:05 PM on November 10, 2016 [4 favorites]


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posted by detachd at 7:09 PM on November 10, 2016


Oh.

My first introduction to Leonard Cohen was when my Mum bought the Famous Blue Raincoat cd with Jennifer Warnes, and I used to play it and sing it all really loudly when I did my chores. I clearly remember singing, like, A Singer Must Die when hoovering the living room aged 12, and in later years when I got to appreciate his genius (encouraged by my first boyfriend who adored him) I liked to think he would have approved of the juxtaposition of the art and the mundane. But of all the works of his that I grew to love, I cry every single time at Song of Bernadette from that album, because it's my Mum's name plus Reasons. And given the background of events this week and all the hearts that were sore even before this news, it's the one that comes to mind first.

So many hearts I find, broke like yours and mine
Torn by what we've done and can't undo
I just want to hold you, won't let me hold you
Like Bernadette would do

.
posted by billiebee at 7:09 PM on November 10, 2016 [5 favorites]


Somewhere in my early university days, having devoured all of Leonard Cohen’s poems, I started on his novels. The Favourite Game is a startling book for a nineteen-year-old, a rollercoaster of poetry and sexual escapades, and it hit me like a first kiss and a first punch in the face. The protagonist becomes a camp counsellor, and shortly after reading it I found myself a job as a photography instructor, at a summer camp far away from my home. My journal from those months is a fat fish, stuffed to the gills with scraps and stories. It's when I started really writing.

So much has happened since then, but Cohen has always felt close at hand, particularly over the past couple of weeks as I've been listening to You Want It Darker over and over. I can't believe he's gone. I feel lucky that he left us with so much, although I always wished he'd write another novel.
posted by oulipian at 7:10 PM on November 10, 2016 [4 favorites]


ring the bells that still can ring
forget your perfect offering
there is a crack in everything
that's how the light gets in

Anthem

Farewell Leonard, and thanks for everything
posted by dttocs at 7:11 PM on November 10, 2016 [2 favorites]


I've been so numb the last couple days. This news just all it takes. I can't hold it back any longer.
posted by 2N2222 at 7:13 PM on November 10, 2016 [6 favorites]


This is so odd. I've always viewed him as a best-kept Canadian secret, not well known elsewhere. Still love his reaction to winning the Juno a few years back: “Only in Canada could I get 'Male Vocalist of the Year'”. I'm glad to know how appreciated he is worldwide.
posted by GhostintheMachine at 7:13 PM on November 10, 2016 [4 favorites]


it's nice to pretend that it's light
but
the crack in everything
is how the unending chaos from the outer voids get in
we gotta fix it
posted by You Can't Tip a Buick at 7:13 PM on November 10, 2016 [4 favorites]


.

.

goddamn

.
posted by lorddimwit at 7:13 PM on November 10, 2016


So many favorites. The Smokey Life
posted by readery at 7:17 PM on November 10, 2016


Now this. Now fucking this.

.
posted by cortex at 7:18 PM on November 10, 2016 [4 favorites]


If there's any consolation in this, it's that Leonard Cohen and Irving Layton are together again.

I've always enjoyed watching Irving as Leonard sings the Chiquita Banana song.
posted by Capt. Renault at 7:18 PM on November 10, 2016 [5 favorites]




This year has been one for the books. And not in a good way.
posted by Gelatin at 7:18 PM on November 10, 2016 [1 favorite]


The woman I loved introduced me to Leonard Cohen. She sang for me a number of his early songs, accompanying herself on a Spanish guitar. I'd never heard his music before, and now can only associate his first three albums with her. His death brings that story to a sort of end, though, gratefully, I am still blessed, as are we all, by his melodies and words and that inimitable voice.

He crafted whole histories in the juxtaposition of a handful of words.

ave atque vale

.
posted by the sobsister at 7:19 PM on November 10, 2016


Many years ago, when I was first falling in love with my absolutely wonderful husband, I said to him how sad it was that Leonard Cohen was dead, and he looked at me strangely and said "Leonard Cohen's not dead, he's still alive." This was a magical moment, and we've joked ever since that bringing Leonard Cohen back to life was one of my husband's many miracles.

It was sad to tell him on the phone just now that the miracle ran out of magic.
posted by Made of Star Stuff at 7:20 PM on November 10, 2016 [14 favorites]


Farewell and godspeed, Mr. Cohen. We won't see the likes of you again soon. If ever.

.
posted by key_of_z at 7:20 PM on November 10, 2016


Bloody hell.
God damn it, this has not been a good year.
posted by Multicellular Exothermic at 7:22 PM on November 10, 2016 [1 favorite]


Growing up French Canadian in Montreal, coming of age in the 70s, he was not in in my communal radar. It was much later when my ex bought Famous Blue Raincoat that I discovered what the other guys had been talking about. A true poet.
And: va chier 2016!
posted by Malingering Hector at 7:23 PM on November 10, 2016 [2 favorites]


Thanks, Capt. Renault.

My Canadian poetry professor always referred to Layton as "The Unnerving Orving Layton."
posted by mandolin conspiracy at 7:24 PM on November 10, 2016 [2 favorites]


I learned your songs to learn my heart. Thank you.

.
posted by cotton dress sock at 7:24 PM on November 10, 2016 [2 favorites]


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posted by djseafood at 7:24 PM on November 10, 2016


I was literally playing Hallelujah on handbells as his death was announced. Sad synchronicity. It's so lovely on bells. This week can get a do-over any time now.
posted by ilana at 7:25 PM on November 10, 2016 [2 favorites]


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posted by mellifluous at 7:25 PM on November 10, 2016


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posted by ghharr at 7:25 PM on November 10, 2016


Oh no. Damn it.

.
posted by homunculus at 7:27 PM on November 10, 2016 [1 favorite]


His is the only music I've been able to listen to this week.

.
posted by phunniemee at 7:29 PM on November 10, 2016 [3 favorites]


At least he lived to see DT win the presidency.

Oh wait, not that...
posted by Slarty Bartfast at 7:29 PM on November 10, 2016 [4 favorites]


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posted by Annabelle74 at 7:31 PM on November 10, 2016


*wipes eyes, blows nose*

Yeah that should read "Irving."
posted by mandolin conspiracy at 7:31 PM on November 10, 2016


I was driving along a dirt back road in Iceland a few years ago, and R.E.M.'s version of "First We Take Manhattan" came on the radio. I drove and wept silently. I don't even know why exactly. It just moved me so much, hearing his words in that landscape.

Goddamn, this fucking year.
posted by computech_apolloniajames at 7:31 PM on November 10, 2016 [2 favorites]


His 1988 appearance on Austin City Limits was phenomenal. He was at the height of his powers, he was pure sex, pure art, pure beauty. An amazing performance, I can't recommend it highly enough.

I'm grateful I have had the opportunity to live when he was also here, grateful for his amazing soul and his willingness to share it with us.

.
posted by dancestoblue at 7:32 PM on November 10, 2016 [10 favorites]


.
posted by Tsuga at 7:33 PM on November 10, 2016


In the late 90's, a girlfriend and I bumped into Mr. Cohen (literally) in the mouth of the Empress Hotel and after apologizing for not watching where we were going, my GF asked - "Are you Leonard Cohen?"

He smiled and said - "No, but I used to be."

.
posted by hoodrich at 7:34 PM on November 10, 2016 [58 favorites]


The one Cohen album I had while in college was "The Songs of Leonard Cohen", I listened to it over and over...and continued listening after I was married, and while the boys were young. I was amazed when, sometime in his 20's my youngest son casually mentioned what a fan of Cohen's he was. One of those moments when I was proud to have passed something on to the next generation.

Years later the kid was involved in a movie and managed to promote "Halleujah" enough that it ended up on the soundtrack. I like to think I had something to do with that.

I'll miss Leonard, his songs and his poetry reached deep.
posted by HuronBob at 7:35 PM on November 10, 2016 [5 favorites]


How I Got My Song, Leonard's Prince of Asturias Award speech, 2011. Not just a glorious writer and musical performer, but what a wonderful speaker he was:
"Never lament casually, and if one is to express the great inevitable defeat that awaits us all, it must be done within the strict confines of dignity and beauty."
posted by FelliniBlank at 7:36 PM on November 10, 2016 [4 favorites]


.



I tried to start with actual words a few times, failed and degenerated into empty nonsense every time. . is all I have left.
posted by seyirci at 7:38 PM on November 10, 2016 [2 favorites]


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posted by Kabanos at 7:39 PM on November 10, 2016




.
posted by Songdog at 7:41 PM on November 10, 2016



posted by Smart Dalek at 7:45 PM on November 10, 2016


Every album has been an elegy. I'm just glad we got one more.

.
posted by Etrigan at 7:47 PM on November 10, 2016 [3 favorites]


"Leonard, just let it go by
That old silhouette
on the great western sky"
So I pick out a tune
and they move right along
and they're gone like the smoke
and they're gone like this song



.
posted by BlueHorse at 7:51 PM on November 10, 2016


For the first couple years of my kid's life, I sang Hallelujah to her a lot.

To settle her down at bedtime, sure. Also when I was trying to get her to stay calm enough that she didn't throw up all the milk that was getting pumped into her through a tube. Or with a bottle, hoping beyond hope that this time she'd drink enough milk that we could finally start to move beyond the tube.

With all the light-in-the-dark desperation that that song has always meant for me:

Hallelujah.
posted by gurple at 7:54 PM on November 10, 2016 [5 favorites]


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posted by Two unicycles and some duct tape at 7:54 PM on November 10, 2016


I remember the first time I met Leonard... I was 19, and in a moment of crisis had skipped town and caught a train down to Melbourne. I linked up with some acquaintances, one of whom graciously put me up for a few days. When I wasn't roaming around the city I spent my time flicking through her record collection (actually, it was her absent flatmate's collection now that I think about it). One stood out - Leonard's "New Skin for the Old Ceremony". The strange artwork caught my eye, and that title spoke to me. Listening to that album was like opening up a door on a new world of feeling.

He was a teacher and a friend who I never actually met. He was the Man.
posted by misterbee at 7:54 PM on November 10, 2016 [3 favorites]


A beautiful poet and human being. Rest in sweet peace, Mr. Cohen.

.
posted by Klaxon Aoooogah at 7:55 PM on November 10, 2016


I remember you well
(and I think of you often)
posted by mephisjo at 7:55 PM on November 10, 2016 [1 favorite]


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posted by temancl at 7:56 PM on November 10, 2016


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posted by A hidden well at 7:57 PM on November 10, 2016


"If you stretch out your hand, I think you can reach mine."

Growing up an Anglo in Montreal he was a ubiquitous artistic presence. I had the chance to see him in concert a few years ago and he was incredible. He outlasted me. I can't imagine a more complete life. I hope he's floating somewhere in the ocean of love owed and returned to him.
posted by ~ at 7:57 PM on November 10, 2016 [4 favorites]


.
posted by ducky l'orange at 7:57 PM on November 10, 2016


I'm not processing this yet. This one is gonna hurt when it hits.
posted by Annika Cicada at 8:00 PM on November 10, 2016 [2 favorites]


.

Fuck.
posted by haunted by Leonard Cohen at 8:00 PM on November 10, 2016 [6 favorites]


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posted by Silverstone at 8:02 PM on November 10, 2016


Leonard has been a most profound influence on my life, since age 13. I am 42 now. He is the third most formative influence on me, after my parents. I cannot overstate his importance.

Yet -- I know that I do not know the real Leonard. He wears many masks. In his poetry, he reveals himself, yet does not. In his novels, he is autobiographical, but remains hidden. In his songs, he gives so much of himself that they become universal, and do not give anything of the man himself in particular. And still I know him and love him and feel him deep within me at the core of my being.

I shook his hand once, and was so profoundly shaken by it that I cannot remember it at all. I remember all the circumstances surrounding it, the setting, the people around us, our little chat, but around my hand there remains a globe of blankness -- I was overcome.

But for all of that, I am certain of one thing, of one experience of knowing the real Leonard. I am certain of one point of connectivity, to me, and to us all.

In the early eighties, Leonard was down on his luck, and decidedly out of fashion. He filmed a half hour video of some of his recent songs, and of his better known songs. It is called I Am A Hotel. In it, he plays a long-term resident of an old, worn Grand Dame hotel. It is the King Edward in Toronto. It is a defunct ballroom, long closed.

The video largely draws from what I consider the two great pillars of his career -- Death of a Ladies' Man, and Recent Songs. The former is monumental, produced by Phil Spector and typical of Phil's Wall of Sound. That album goes everywhere and anywhere, a cry responding to Leonard's divorce. The latter is sparse and elemental, responding to the death of Leonard's mother, giving her an album she would have liked most.

In that half hour video, Leonard sings 'Memories'. It is a tribute to those glorious slow dances in the gym. He dances close, the band is playing Stardust. He longs to see her naked body.

It is in that song that I think I see the real Leonard, in two places. He joyously skips to the music. He coyly opens the door to the young lovers. He is acting a role, of being an agent to love, but it is in that role that he fully reveals himself. He is that agent to love and beauty. He escorts it to us, he allows it into our lives, for us to realize.

Studying Leonard is a life-long occupation, and I am not nearly done yet. He gives us truth at every turn, upon each listening. There are always more diamonds in the mine, despite his claims. I will keep going back again and again and again.

Yet for all of his music, for all of his words, nothing is so joyous and authentic as that skip. He is a happy man at core, celebrating life, and inviting us to do the same.

Tonight is painful. Exceptionally painful. But Leonard is so much of life, holds the door open for life, allows love and life to pass through, that this pain will not last. There is simply too much beauty, so much light. Leonard is simply its doorman, allowing the way.

Godspeed, Lenny.
posted by Capt. Renault at 8:05 PM on November 10, 2016 [27 favorites]


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posted by endotoxin at 8:06 PM on November 10, 2016


Can Cohen's essential work be found in a compilation album or is a box set pretty much mandatory?
posted by Beholder at 8:07 PM on November 10, 2016


You'll want a box set.
posted by aclevername at 8:08 PM on November 10, 2016 [4 favorites]


I thought of "The Sisters of Mercy" immediately too, mandolin conspiracy.

I am so sad. I will miss having him just...existing in the same universe as me, I guess. He's just always been there with his incredible voice.

But I am also so thankful I got to see him in concert a few years ago. I went with my dad who is also a Leonard Cohen fan, and we marvelled at how energetic and amazing he was.

RIP Leonard.
posted by hurdy gurdy girl at 8:09 PM on November 10, 2016 [2 favorites]


I'm listening to the Live At The Isle of Wight 1970 album. The introduction is Cohen at 2AM, talking down a crowd of 600,000 ill-tempered, tired festival goers who haven't really slept for five days. They threw beer bottles at Kris Kristofferson, and set Hendrix's stage on fire. He walks out, maybe slightly high on sedatives, and tells them a story.
When I was seven years old, my father used to take me to the circus. He had a black mustache, and a great vest, and a pansy in his lapel. He liked the circus better than I did. But there was one thing at the circus that happened, that I always used to wait for.

I don't want to impose on you, this isn't like a Sing Along With Mitch. But there was one moment when a man would stand up, and he would say Would everybody light a match, so we can locate one another?

And could I ask you, each person, to light a match, so I can see where y'all are? Could each of you light a match? So you'll sparkle like fireflies, each at your different heights? I would love to see those matches flare. ... Oh, yeah. Now, I know - I know that you know why you're lighting them. Thank you. Lot of people without matches.

(Singing) Oh, it's good to be here alone in front of six hundred thousand people!

It's a large nation, but it's still weak. Still very weak. Needs to get a lot stronger before it can claim a right to land.
He breaks into Bird On A Wire, and the crowd is with him.

In these dark times, I'm going to light a match, and sparkle like a firefly. Here I am.

🔥
posted by zamboni at 8:10 PM on November 10, 2016 [29 favorites]


My one and a half year old, pointing to Leonard Cohen on the album cover on the tv, streaming spotify: "Dassa pitcha Daddy."

Not such a coincidence, kiddo.

Leonard Cohen has always evoked one sensation for me more than any other, that of feeling sorrow in the arms of a sorrowful lover. The bittersweet lovemaking of survival. Therefore it's a good week to play a lot of Leonard Cohen here in this little home.

🔥
posted by Ambrosia Voyeur at 8:11 PM on November 10, 2016 [6 favorites]


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posted by gt2 at 8:12 PM on November 10, 2016


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posted by teferi at 8:16 PM on November 10, 2016


Leonard Cohen narrates the Tibetan Book Of The Dead.
posted by ovvl at 8:20 PM on November 10, 2016 [2 favorites]


Jeez. I've been listening to him all week. I have no words.

.
posted by fimbulvetr at 8:21 PM on November 10, 2016


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posted by marguerite at 8:23 PM on November 10, 2016


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posted by dhruva at 8:23 PM on November 10, 2016


is a box set pretty much mandatory?

The box set that includes everything but the most recent studio albums (which, to be honest, other than You Want It Darker are non-essential) can be had for $25 from at least one dominant mail order company. With 12 CDs of music, there's few legal music options that deliver as much value.

Many of the live albums but especially Live In London are worth having as well.
posted by Candleman at 8:23 PM on November 10, 2016 [1 favorite]


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posted by migrantology at 8:24 PM on November 10, 2016


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posted by HLD at 8:25 PM on November 10, 2016


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posted by Joe in Australia at 8:34 PM on November 10, 2016


.
posted by Proofs and Refutations at 8:34 PM on November 10, 2016


Hallelujah and what's it to ya.

(A half smile and a sigh) godammit.

.
posted by queseyo at 8:35 PM on November 10, 2016


I've been listening to Jeff Buckley's Grace pretty much non-stop since about August, and his version of Hallelujah is just devastating.

I was properly introduced to Leonard Cohen by my old friend Motorcycle Johnny, who was known locally for his wood sculptures. He was living in a Winnebago outside my screen printing shop, & he came inside one day & drug me out there to make me listen to I'm Your Man right after it came out, & then we enjoyed The Future together before he sold his moto home, packed up his Moto Guzzi & moved to Hawaii. I never saw Johnny again, as he died from complications of hep c a few years ago, & I am missing him so much right now. It was so fun when a woman would ask me "is he single?" Because he was sooooo good looking, & I'd say "Yes, but he's gay," & watch their faces sink.

Anyway. That doesn't have much to really do with Leonard Cohen, but I'm running out of friends, and I'm running out of heroes, & this is all echoing around in my head & I am just good old sad. I miss you Johnny, I miss you, Leonard.

.
posted by Devils Rancher at 8:36 PM on November 10, 2016 [17 favorites]


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posted by gyusan at 8:37 PM on November 10, 2016


This photo popped up on "That's me in the Picture" a few weeks ago.
posted by kjs4 at 8:39 PM on November 10, 2016 [2 favorites]


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posted by kjs4 at 8:39 PM on November 10, 2016


I'm listening to the Live At The Isle of Wight 1970 album. The introduction is Cohen at 2AM, talking down a crowd of 600,000 ill-tempered, tired festival goers who haven't really slept for five days. They threw beer bottles at Kris Kristofferson, and set Hendrix's stage on fire. He walks out, maybe slightly high on sedatives, and tells them a story.

Oh. Here's some of the footage.

leonard cohen isle of wight 1970 full complete concert
posted by mandolin conspiracy at 8:44 PM on November 10, 2016 [8 favorites]


Yes and long live the state by whoever it's made,
sir, I didn't see nothing, I was just getting home late.
posted by blucevalo at 8:45 PM on November 10, 2016


., dammit.
posted by Confess, Fletch at 8:45 PM on November 10, 2016


.
posted by rustcellar at 8:46 PM on November 10, 2016


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posted by lalochezia at 8:46 PM on November 10, 2016


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posted by pt68 at 8:47 PM on November 10, 2016


In Montreal people are gathering at Parc du Portugal tonight, where Cohen lived a long time, and still has a house. The mayor has put city hall's flags at half mast.
posted by zadcat at 8:47 PM on November 10, 2016 [9 favorites]


.
It was Emma Donoghue's Stir Fry that led me to Leonard Cohen...and I was very fortunate to see him twice.
posted by brujita at 8:48 PM on November 10, 2016


Etiquette

The Ark you're building
in your yard
Will you let me on
Will you let me off
Don't you think
we all should study Etiquette
before we study Magic

N.Y., 1967
posted by neroli at 8:48 PM on November 10, 2016 [3 favorites]


Hallelujah for a life well-lived!

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posted by valetta at 8:48 PM on November 10, 2016


I've posted this before, but this is a quote from a Rolling Stone interview from 2003 that I've kept near at hand since I found it:

"Roshi said something nice to me one time. He said that the older you get, the lonelier you become, and the deeper the love you need. Which means that this hero that you're trying to maintain as the central figure in the drama of your life -- this hero is not enjoying the life of a hero. You're exerting a tremendous maintenance to keep this heroic stance available to you, and the hero is suffering defeat after defeat. And they're not heroic defeats; they're ignoble defeats. Finally, one day you say, 'Let him die -- I can't invest any more in this heroic position.' From there, you just live your life as if it's real -- as if you have to make decisions even though you have absolutely no guarantee of any of the consequences of your decisions."
posted by neroli at 8:52 PM on November 10, 2016 [21 favorites]


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posted by Lesser Spotted Potoroo at 8:55 PM on November 10, 2016


Jesus. Just yesterday I was listening to "Democracy" to help me get through the shittiness of the day. Cohen's music has been a rock of stability for me beneath the rushing water of life for a very long time.

Now the last of my imaginary Jewish grandfathers is gone. (The other two were Eli Wallach and Leonard Nimoy.)

And Jesus was a sailor when he walked upon the water
And he spent a long time watching from his lonely wooden tower
And when he knew for certain only drowning men could see him
He said all men will be sailors then until the sea shall free them
But he himself was broken, long before the sky would open
Forsaken, almost human, he sank beneath your wisdom like a stone

posted by McCoy Pauley at 8:55 PM on November 10, 2016 [5 favorites]


An exhibit about him is planned for next year in Montreal.
posted by brujita at 8:58 PM on November 10, 2016 [1 favorite]


He was ready, so I'm not sad for him. But I was sad to lose him.

He was one of our kohanim. I hope we keep his psalms.
posted by clockzero at 9:06 PM on November 10, 2016 [7 favorites]


.
posted by moonbird at 9:06 PM on November 10, 2016


Two of my favorite Cohen things are this hockey pre-roll and his love of pinball.
posted by creade at 9:09 PM on November 10, 2016 [5 favorites]


Damn it.
posted by rednikki at 9:10 PM on November 10, 2016


.
posted by grumpybear69 at 9:12 PM on November 10, 2016


How fortunate we were to have him.
posted by mazola at 9:17 PM on November 10, 2016 [1 favorite]


Ugh. 2016 is utterly without redeeming social value.
.
posted by Fibognocchi at 9:22 PM on November 10, 2016 [1 favorite]


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posted by Sys Rq at 9:22 PM on November 10, 2016


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posted by kerf at 9:25 PM on November 10, 2016


Rest in peace dear old Leonard.

Beautiful Losers, Favorite Game and Spice-Box of Earth were such powerful and primal texts in my late teenage years. I remember the moments I read them with such crystal clarity, the emotions I felt, the time and the places... really sublime moments. And later his interest in zen Buddhism piqued my own interest.

I never saw Leonard perform live but I once bumped in to him in Montreal on a hot summer day walking down St. Denis, him unmistakable dressed entirely in black with a heavy overcoat followed by two 14 year old girls singing his songs to him as he walked down the street. He was not in the mood to talk so I let him be and he continued down the street with the two girls singing So Long Marianne to him. I had to explain who Leonard Cohen was to the friend I was with, something I relished and was flabbergasted by - I think in the end I just went into a record shop and bought her a greatest hits cd and told her to listen without a break. I was always amazed when I travelled abroad that Leonard was often the only connection people had with Canada and especially Montreal.

As much as I like Leonard's voice I have always really loved how singers interpret his songs. One of my favorites, if I may, is Françoise Hardy's take on Suzanne.
posted by Ashwagandha at 9:33 PM on November 10, 2016 [4 favorites]


He tried in his way to be free.
posted by chicainthecity at 9:35 PM on November 10, 2016 [2 favorites]


What terrible news am I not expecting this year anymore?

It's a phantastic band forming in the afterlife, though. Hope they're having a blast.

Thanks for the music, Mr. Cohen.

.
posted by TwoStride at 9:48 PM on November 10, 2016


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posted by From Bklyn at 9:49 PM on November 10, 2016


Leonard's son Adam was recently interviewed for the CBC Radio programme Q as well as Cantor Gideon Zelermyer who sings on the album.
posted by Ashwagandha at 9:57 PM on November 10, 2016 [1 favorite]


Thanks for helping those of us in 1968 get through bleak times and in the years thereafter.

.
posted by Mister Bijou at 10:01 PM on November 10, 2016


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posted by anadem at 10:08 PM on November 10, 2016


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posted by WalkingAround at 10:09 PM on November 10, 2016


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posted by alltomorrowsparties at 10:14 PM on November 10, 2016


I was watching MSNBC covering the protests when First We Take Manhattan sprung into my head and I thought, oh how perfect, I must share this. That's when I found out he died. It was like a final farewell, a grim but hopeful last call from the back booth in a dimly light nightclub. A tip of the hat as he ashed his last chesterfield into the night, exhaled softly and faded away into the fog.

Then the tears came.

Somewhere in the world a baby is being born with a golden voice and the gift of song, spitting smoke, clad only in a fedora. He will be a mystery of love and light and sadness. And all that know him will be the better for it.
posted by gideonswann at 10:14 PM on November 10, 2016 [5 favorites]


Dead tired, should be sleeping, instead listening to my copy of Songs of Leonard Cohen. Bought well used, it's the kind of record you can see the outline of in the sleeve, and though it looks immaculate, the whole record pops and hisses gently from the wear of a thousand needle passes. I'm wondering about the stories of who has listened to it over the nearly half century it has been around, did it have as much significance for them as it does for me? I know it's silly, but there's something to it, like tangible physical evidence of his thread through many lives. Also the portrait of him as a young man on the cover is haunting me right now.
posted by [expletive deleted] at 10:15 PM on November 10, 2016 [5 favorites]


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posted by DaddyNewt at 10:16 PM on November 10, 2016


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posted by Flippervault at 10:16 PM on November 10, 2016


Dance me to your beauty with a burning violin
Dance me through the panic 'til I'm gathered safely in
Lift me like an olive branch and be my homeward dove
Dance me to the end of love
Dance me to the end of love
Oh, let me see your beauty when the witnesses are gone
Let me feel you moving like they do in Babylon
Show me slowly what I only know the limits of
Dance me to the end of love
Dance me to the end of love
Dance me to the wedding now, dance me on and on
Dance me very tenderly and dance me very long
We're both of us beneath our love, we're both of us above
Dance me to the end of love
Dance me to the end of love
Dance me to the children who are asking to be born
Dance me through the curtains that our kisses have outworn
Raise a tent of shelter now, though every thread is torn
Dance me to the end of love
Dance me to your beauty with a burning violin
Dance me through the panic till I'm gathered safely in
Touch me with your naked hand or touch me with your glove
Dance me to the end of love
Dance me to the end of love
Dance me to the end of love


.
posted by Mental Wimp at 10:16 PM on November 10, 2016 [7 favorites]


I have been pretty much listening to The Partisan on repeat all night. Probably not healthy given current events, but I have always loved it and it does feel chillingly relevant.
posted by lunasol at 10:22 PM on November 10, 2016


I always loved his "Famous Blue Raincoat" which I first heard sung by Judy Collins. RIP, man.
posted by Lynsey at 10:26 PM on November 10, 2016 [1 favorite]


.


You got me singing
Even tho' the news is bad
You got me singing
The only song I ever had
You got me singing

Ever since the river died
You got me thinking
Of the places we could hide
You got me singing

Even though the world is gone
You got me thinking
I'd like to carry on
You got me singing

Even tho' it all looks grim
You got me singing
The Hallelujah hymn
posted by Gilgongo at 10:30 PM on November 10, 2016


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posted by pernoctalian at 10:34 PM on November 10, 2016


A few years ago I got to see the Conspiracy of Beards in concert - an all-male a cappella group that sings only the songs of Leonard Cohen.

And around the same time I saw LC himself in concert at MSG. He performed with so much energy - dropping to his knees repeatedly. The concert lasted for hours and I was delighted, even from the nosebleed seats. I lost my wallet that night, somehow it slipped down under my seat and someone else picked it up, found my card and emailed me. I went to pick it up the next day from her apartment which I want to say was in eastern lower manhattan.

I'm rambling because I don't really know what to say. The first Cohen song I ever heard was probably Billy Joel's cover of "Light as the Breeze."

I'm grateful for all his work. I'm sad that he's gone.

.
posted by bunderful at 10:41 PM on November 10, 2016 [6 favorites]


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posted by sudasana at 10:57 PM on November 10, 2016


I love that cover of "Light as the Breeze," bunderful.
posted by hurdy gurdy girl at 11:03 PM on November 10, 2016 [1 favorite]


Oh fuck off already 2016.

On the upside, it wasn't as bad as 2017.
posted by flabdablet at 11:23 PM on November 10, 2016 [12 favorites]


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posted by get off of my cloud at 11:27 PM on November 10, 2016


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(saw this on waking, had to get up and pace around and scare the cat.)


He was seemingly already "resting in peace".
I got taken to see him live a few years ago, not knowing/caring much about him, (except the Pixies' cover of "Everybody Knows on the Pump up the Volume soundtrack donthateme) and came out absolutely blown away and converted and glowing. He was UTTERLY compelling and breathtaking, funny!, so incomparably and heartfeltly *courteous* to his amazing backing group (good grief how must Sharon Robinson be feeling) and to the audience – and the songs! (and wow such a presence! At nearly eighty, to be wearing the HELL out of a hat and suit like that, and to be dropping to his knees and folding smoothly up again every five minutes....) A good, sane, person, like we can afford to lose any, and obviously such a voice of comfort to so many, including my mum (well voice of something a bit else possibly to her anyway). It's good to think he was ready, and that if anyone will have gone on somewhere else he will.
posted by runincircles at 11:30 PM on November 10, 2016


Now in Vienna there are ten pretty women
There's a shoulder where Death comes to cry
There's a lobby with nine hundred windows
There's a tree where the doves go to die
There's a piece that was torn from the morning
And it hangs in the Gallery of Frost
I, I-I-I
Take this waltz, take this waltz
Take this waltz with the clamp on its jaws
Oh, I want you, I want you, I want you
On a chair with a dead magazine
In the cave at the tip of the lilly
In some hallway where love's never been
On a bed where the moon has been sweating
In a cry filled with footsteps and sand
I, I-I-I
Take this waltz, take this waltz
Take its broken waist in your hand
This waltz, this waltz, this waltz, this waltz
With its very own breath of brandy and Death
Dragging its tail in the sea
There's a concert hall in Vienna
Where your mouth had a thousand reviews
There's a bar where the boys have stopped talking
They've been sentenced to death by the blues
Ah, but who is it climbs to your picture
With a garland of freshly cut tears?
Ay, ay ay ay
Take this waltz, take this waltz
Take this waltz, it's been dying for years
There's an attic where children are playing
Where I've got to lie down with you soon
In a dream of Hungarian lanterns
In the mist of some sweet afternoon
And I'll see what you've chained to your sorrow
All your sheep and your lillies of snow
Ay, ay ay ay
Take this waltz, take this waltz
With its "I'll never forget you, you know!"
This waltz, this waltz, this waltz, this waltz
With its very own breath of brandy and Death
Dragging its tail in the sea
And I'll dance with you in Vienna
I'll be wearing a river's disguise
The hyacinth wild on my shoulder
My mouth on the dew of your thighs
And I'll bury my soul in a scrapbook
With the photographs there, and the moss
And I'll yield to the flood of your beauty
My cheap violin and my cross
And you'll carry me down on your dancing
To the pools that you lift on your wrist
Oh my love, oh my love
Take this waltz, take this waltz
It's yours now, it's all that there is
posted by runincircles at 11:31 PM on November 10, 2016 [1 favorite]


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posted by misteraitch at 11:33 PM on November 10, 2016


I discovered Cohen via what was probably a pretty cheesy teen paperback: "Dave's Song", by Robert McKay. Dave's song was "Suzanne", and the book led me to Cohen. I will be forever grateful. I have a hankering to find a copy of it, just to have.

When I learned the news, I am pretty sure that my neighbors could hear me sobbing.

.
posted by OolooKitty at 11:36 PM on November 10, 2016


I feel like everyone that has appreciated LC has had an impact that is greater than music - he has touched all of us.

And so his music is imbibed with memories. I remember my introduction to him (as many/most of us do); for me it was a mixed tape that my uncle made for me when I was 12 or 13. In his letter he simply described Leonard as 'the cat's meow'.

Later, as a senior in high school we had to recite a poem in creative writing class - I selected 'Everybody Knows'. My teacher gave me a fine grade but chastised the selection for the line 'everybody knows you live forever when you've done a line or two'.

Yet another Leonard memory that makes me feel privileged is when I saw him perform on his "The Future" tour in Seattle; he was as sublime as I expected him to be.

In between these memories are thousands of listens, countless covers enjoyed, and the joy I had whenever a movie included his songs.

While I shed a tear reading this thread, and am incredibly sad about his departure, I feel grateful he lived as long as he did - and that he kept make music as he reached his elder statesman years. And while he may have drawn his last breath, I am happy in the knowledge that he isn't dead - he is immortal, and the world will forever enjoy his contributions.
posted by el io at 11:38 PM on November 10, 2016 [1 favorite]


By the rivers dark he wanders on.

Good-bye Mr Cohen. Your music meant so much to me.
posted by dazed_one at 11:46 PM on November 10, 2016 [1 favorite]


After "Hallelujah" I think "Famous Blue Raincoat" was the second Leonard Cohen song I ever heard, as a cover. The lyrics stunned me then and they still do now. The first half of this part has been referenced above already, but I wanted to say that this gets to me every time:

Yes, and thanks for the trouble you took from her eyes
I thought it was there for good so I never tried

.
posted by rangefinder 1.4 at 11:55 PM on November 10, 2016 [2 favorites]


this just came up rather randomly a few minutes ago. Nina Simone's take on Suzanne, like something from one of those dreams that seems to contain entire lifetimes.

There are children in the morning
They are leaning out for love
And they will lean that way forever ...


I think I can call it a night now.
posted by philip-random at 12:03 AM on November 11, 2016 [2 favorites]


Oh god, no.

When I gave birth to my first kid, we had a CD player with us at the hospital, and she was born to the tunes of Leonard Cohen and Cesaria Evora (alternating on repeat play; the whole ordeal took an entire day). We heard afterwards that our maternity chamber was referred to by the rotating midwives as "the one with the good music". I still have a vivid recollection of Leonard's voice through the pain; it was steady and comforting, and really felt like something to hold on to.

The night before the 2008 American election I saw Leonard Cohen in concert in Rotterdam. I have no words to describe how lovely he was, how charming, taking his hat off for long bows between the songs. He didn't get into politics in detail but the vibe was so positive and optimistic that night, he talked about how he was feeling hopeful, and then he played Democracy.

The feeling of loss right now is so acute, I don't now what to do with it.
posted by sively at 12:04 AM on November 11, 2016 [8 favorites]


I am just so grateful I got to see him play live, in 2012, not even two months after my father died. He played for three hours, and did two encores, and as much as I clung to music in those days, it was probably the first night music made me feel alive instead of just comforting me or fueling my sadness.

Tonight I soaked in a hot tub, and I shaved, and I listened to Leonard's music while doing it. I viewed it as a baptism and a cleansing.

Thank you, Mr. Cohen.
posted by old_growler at 12:04 AM on November 11, 2016 [1 favorite]


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posted by dogstoevski at 12:05 AM on November 11, 2016


There are probably legions of people who know his songs but have never heard of him, due to the popularity of covers of his songs by artists major and minor. He's one that is going to live forever.

.
posted by hippybear at 12:16 AM on November 11, 2016 [3 favorites]


I'm way more overwhelmed by this than I thought I'd be. Listening to songs, some for the first time in a while, I realize how much his words shaped the way I feel

Oh, the wind, the wind is blowing
Through the graves the wind is blowing
Freedom soon will come

They sentenced me to twenty years of boredom
For trying to change the system from within
I'm coming now, I'm coming to reward them
First we take Manhattan, then we take Berlin

If you want a partner, take my hand, or
If you want to strike me down in anger
Here I stand
I'm your man

I wish there was a treaty between your love and mine

Oh, I want you, I want you, I want you
On a chair with a dead magazine
In the cave at the tip of the lilly
In some hallway where love's never been
On a bed where the moon has been sweating
In a cry filled with footsteps and sand

Yes, and Jane came by with a lock of your hair
She said that you gave it to her
That night that you planned to go clear
Did you ever go clear?

And you want to travel with her, and you want to travel blind
And you know that she will trust you
For you've touched her perfect body with your mind

Well, they lay down beside me, I made my confession to them
They touched both my eyes and I touched the dew on their hem
If your life is a leaf that the seasons tear off and condemn
They will bind you with love that is graceful and green as a stem

Now so long, Marianne, it's time that we began
to laugh and cry and cry and laugh about it all again.

When they say, repent. I wonder what they meant.

Everybody knows that the dice are loaded
Everybody rolls with their fingers crossed
Everybody knows the war is over
Everybody knows the good guys lost
Everybody knows the fight was fixed
The poor stay poor, the rich get rich
That's how it goes

The war was lost
The treaty signed
I was not caught
I crossed the line

If you are the dealer, I'm out of the game
If you are the healer, it means I'm broken and lame
If thine is the glory then mine must be the shame
You want it darker
We kill the flame
posted by motdiem2 at 12:20 AM on November 11, 2016 [1 favorite]


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posted by mumimor at 12:26 AM on November 11, 2016


According to graunaid live updates: "he passed away on Monday, and has been buried in a private ceremony in Montreal."
posted by Mister Bijou at 12:50 AM on November 11, 2016 [2 favorites]


A singular enterprise, in the finest sense of the word.

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posted by Phlegmco(tm) at 12:55 AM on November 11, 2016


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posted by Pendragon at 1:15 AM on November 11, 2016


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posted by eclectist at 1:32 AM on November 11, 2016


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posted by bjgeiger at 1:38 AM on November 11, 2016


We met when we where almost young
posted by night_train at 1:43 AM on November 11, 2016


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posted by spinifex23 at 1:50 AM on November 11, 2016


I hope it's true that he didn't live long enough to see the results of the election.
posted by jesourie at 1:51 AM on November 11, 2016 [7 favorites]


.

I woke up this morning, heard the news, brushed my teeth, then cried into my coffee.

Yet I feel that he has done his part and his time has come to a close. He has earned his exit.

And draw us near
And bind us tight
All your children here
In their rags of light
In our rags of light
All dressed to kill
And end this night
If it be your will
posted by tempythethird at 2:05 AM on November 11, 2016


.

It's a tragedy that he didn't live to get a Nobel, IMHO.
posted by acb at 2:51 AM on November 11, 2016 [1 favorite]


A measure of the man:
Leonard Cohen was someone who appreciated the power of music, even the music one doesn’t necessarily like. He was interviewed for the Guardian by Mat Snow in 1988. In the interview, Mat quoted Martin Amis’s description of Simon & Garfunkel’s music being not so much art as therapy, prompting this response from Cohen:

I think that’s a rather mean spirited approach to a man’s work. Everything can be diminished from this point of view. If you don’t like something and think it’s cheap, unless you really have a great sense of responsibility for your culture, I think it’s best to keep it to yourself. That might be the song that gets someone through a dark hour. He wouldn’t say that about Bach. There’s something elitist and snotty about that kind of remark.”
grauniad live updates
posted by Mister Bijou at 2:56 AM on November 11, 2016 [16 favorites]


Leonard was one of my dad's favorites. If there's an afterlife I hope they cross paths.
posted by pxe2000 at 3:27 AM on November 11, 2016 [1 favorite]


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posted by jiroczech at 3:27 AM on November 11, 2016


.

My favorite, Last Year's Man.

The lovers will rise up
And the mountains touch the ground.
posted by talking leaf at 3:40 AM on November 11, 2016 [1 favorite]


So long, Leonard.
posted by BekahVee at 4:05 AM on November 11, 2016


.

Damn. My first exposure to his work was I’m Your Man which still stands strong today.

He died on the seventh of November – if I were to die this week, that seems to be a better date than most.
posted by bouvin at 4:07 AM on November 11, 2016 [4 favorites]


Fuck this!

I will miss you, Leonard Cohen.
posted by fourpotatoes at 4:16 AM on November 11, 2016


My father was quite the fan of both female vocalists and Leonard Cohen's lyricism, so Jennifer Warnes covering Cohen's songs was something of a favourite of his. I played bird on the wire from that album at dad's funeral, I have not been able to listen to it since. Farewell to both of them.

Oh like a bird on the wire, like a drunk in a midnight choir I have tried in my way, to be free.

Not a bad epitaph, of so many to chose from.

.
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posted by deadwax at 4:29 AM on November 11, 2016 [3 favorites]


Fuck 2016, fuck everything.
posted by tommasz at 4:43 AM on November 11, 2016 [2 favorites]


With Kurt and Leonard gone, the world is a cold harsh place.

Oh teachers are my lessons done?
I cannot do another one
They laughed and laughed and said, Well child
Are your lessons done?
posted by night_train at 5:19 AM on November 11, 2016 [1 favorite]


His new album is really, really good. I almost didn't want to tell anybody, because the last time I felt like that about an album was Blackstar and, well.

Thank you, Mr. Cohen.
posted by chimpsonfilm at 5:28 AM on November 11, 2016


🔥
posted by isnotchicago at 5:34 AM on November 11, 2016


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posted by Token Meme at 5:34 AM on November 11, 2016


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Can we just skip straight to 2017 now. I can't bear anymore 2016.
posted by threetwentytwo at 5:39 AM on November 11, 2016


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posted by Sophie1 at 5:53 AM on November 11, 2016


Anthem by Cohen
We asked for signs
the signs were sent:
the birth betrayed
the marriage spent
Yeah the widowhood
of every government --
signs for all to see.
I can't run no more
with that lawless crowd
while the killers in high places
say their prayers out loud.
But they've summoned, they've summoned up
a thundercloud
and they're going to hear from me.

(I had and still somewhat believe these lines):
You can add up the parts
but you won't have the sum
You can strike up the march,
there is no drum
Every heart, every heart
to love will come
but like a refugee.
posted by cynicalidealist at 6:26 AM on November 11, 2016


Leonard: Flander's Fields SLYT
posted by sety at 6:26 AM on November 11, 2016 [3 favorites]


My mom and I both love Cohen so much. I saw the news right before I went to bed, and I know based on her Facebook post that she saw the news when she woke up this morning. Neither of us texted the other about it, both deciding, "I'm going to let her live in a world with Leonard Cohen a little longer."

His song "Anthem" got me through the Bush years. I would listen to it on repeat in my car and belt out "I can run no more with that lawless crowd/while the killers in high places say their prayers out loud/But they've summoned, they've summoned up a thundercloud and they're gonna hear from me." Sometimes while crying.

Rest, friend. You've earned it. We'll miss you.
posted by Aquifer at 6:33 AM on November 11, 2016 [5 favorites]


I have a fondness for this video of him performing with Ron Sexsmith, Anjani, and the Bare Naked Ladies in 2006, mostly because the difference in his confidence between then and 2008 is stunning.

The theft of his savings by his manager in ~2007 was awful, but I think it was a blessing in disguise - my understanding is that he'd thought by then that he was a mostly forgotten relic of the past. Rob Hallett fronted the money for the tour and booked him into the O2 in London, which was considered audacious, but proved massively successful.

I saw him three times on that tour and he genuinely seemed to be having the time of his life and thrilled to see that his music still touched so many people. In an age where 20something year old performers increasingly seem to be playing hour long sets, I was amazed that in his 70s he was doing three and a half hour shows. I've been to over a thousand concerts and many of them blur together now but all three of the his shows stand out in my memory.

One of my favorites of his that's not been quoted here yet:

My mirror twin, my next of kin, I'd know you in my sleep. And who but you would take me in, a thousand kisses deep?

Jackson Browne's cover of a different version of that material is wonderful.
posted by Candleman at 6:42 AM on November 11, 2016 [6 favorites]


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posted by Halloween Jack at 6:56 AM on November 11, 2016


My heartfelt, profound thanks to all who've posted here. I knew four of Leonard's songs well, so I had a passing acquaintance with his genius. But my lord, I had no idea of the breadth of his poetic power. Lyric after lyric here shoots straight from his eternal soul to mine.

Auf wiedersehen, 2016. And those of us who remain can cling to this half-wept refrain: we survive.
posted by DrAstroZoom at 6:59 AM on November 11, 2016


Very nice long playlist starting with his recent stuff

I've always loved his own version of First We Take Manhattan which he originally wrote for Jennifer Warnes.
posted by jeffburdges at 7:05 AM on November 11, 2016 [1 favorite]


Nobody wrote a waltz like Leonard Cohen. So many of his songs in 3/4 time, as if he'd gotten tired of all the 4/4 marching in all the rest of our music, as if he just wanted us to dance.
posted by clawsoon at 7:07 AM on November 11, 2016 [3 favorites]


.

This year. I can't take it.
posted by fiercecupcake at 7:10 AM on November 11, 2016 [1 favorite]


Thanks, Trump.
posted by Kabanos at 7:17 AM on November 11, 2016 [2 favorites]


Oh man, this year.

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posted by GenjiandProust at 7:20 AM on November 11, 2016


My randomly shuffled playlist of Leonard Cohen songs kicked off with "A thousand Kisses Deep", "Tower of Song" and "I can't forget". Nobody could say the man was short of material to play at his memorial service.
.
posted by rongorongo at 7:25 AM on November 11, 2016 [1 favorite]


If you want to listen to Cohen talk, a couple of years ago the CBC put together a couple of programs with clips from their countless interviews with him over the years:

Part 1
Part 2
posted by clawsoon at 7:25 AM on November 11, 2016 [1 favorite]


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posted by Cash4Lead at 7:27 AM on November 11, 2016


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My first introduction to non-mainstream music back in the early 90's. What a horrible year.
posted by jkaczor at 7:27 AM on November 11, 2016


My father and I disagree on many things. But he introduced me to Leonard Cohen. We have that. I should call him tonight.

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posted by pianoblack at 7:31 AM on November 11, 2016 [3 favorites]


Here is your crown
And your seal and rings;
And here is your love
For all things.

Here is your cart,
And your cardboard and piss;
And here is your love
For all of this.

May everyone live,
And may everyone die.
Hello, my love,
And my love, Goodbye.

Here is your wine,
And your drunken fall;
And here is your love.
Your love for it all.

Here is your sickness.
Your bed and your pan;
And here is your love
For the woman, the man.

May everyone live,
And may everyone die.
Hello, my love,
And, my love, Goodbye.

And here is the night,
The night has begun;
And here is your death
In the heart of your son.

And here is the dawn,
Til death do us part;
And here is your death,
In your daughter’s heart.

May everyone live,
And may everyone die.
Hello, my love,
And, my love, Goodbye.

And here you are hurried,
And here you are gone;
And here is the love,
That it’s all built upon.

Here is your cross,
Your nails and your hill;
And here is your love,
That lists where it will

May everyone live,
And may everyone die.
Hello, my love,
And my love, Goodbye.
posted by mikeand1 at 7:33 AM on November 11, 2016 [1 favorite]


I have a fondness for this video of him performing with Ron Sexsmith, Anjani, and the Bare Naked Ladies in 2006...

I was there, somewhere near the front, right behind the masses of VIPs. It was such a great moment -- he hadn't been onstage in something like thirteen years, and it was looking like it might never happen again.

He wasn't supposed to sing that day. We could all see that he caught the bug when he was up there, and that maybe, just maybe, our reluctant hero might give us another show or two. There was such glee on his face, tempered by real humility and gratefulness.

It was that same expression I saw on his later tours, as I went again and again, at every opportunity I could. But none was as special as that unexpected first time back out there, in the middle of afternoon traffic.
posted by Capt. Renault at 7:41 AM on November 11, 2016 [2 favorites]


From part 1 of the CBC links above:

Cohen: "What we're really doing is bringing poetry where it belongs."

Interviewer: "Back to the people."

Cohen: "Not to the people! No, no, no. To the hipsters, to the boozers."

I remember the first time I heard a Leonard Cohen song, one of only two or three songs in my life that have stopped me dead in my tracks. I was sitting in my Dad's red pickup truck, out on my uncle's farm in rural Alberta, a lazy summer afternoon, Dad off somewhere else on the farm.

Like a Bird on a Wire

Like a worm on a hook
Like a knight from some old-fashioned book
I have saved all my ribbons for thee

Like a baby stillborn
Like a beast with it's horn
I have torn everyone who reached out for me.

And later, as lost as I've ever been, my baby in the intensive care unit and me walking the streets, unable to see her, playing Famous Blue Raincoat over and over again...

.
posted by clawsoon at 7:42 AM on November 11, 2016 [10 favorites]


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posted by Huck500 at 8:10 AM on November 11, 2016


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posted by suprathreshold at 8:13 AM on November 11, 2016


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posted by nobody at 8:16 AM on November 11, 2016


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posted by SyraCarol at 8:23 AM on November 11, 2016


"Poetry is just the evidence of life.
If your life is burning well, poetry is just the ash."
posted by rocket88 at 8:27 AM on November 11, 2016 [7 favorites]


I know it's just a coincidence, but the song title You Want It Darker would make a pretty good comment to Donald Trump being democratically elected to be President of the U.S.
posted by WalkingAround at 8:32 AM on November 11, 2016 [2 favorites]


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posted by So You're Saying These Are Pants? at 8:33 AM on November 11, 2016


God. fucking. damn. it. Just stop 2016, just fucking stop. I cannot, just cannot take any more. You've stolen so many of our bards. Just stop.

Someone go put 24 hour guards on Dylan, stat.

If, like me, you think Hallelujah is one of the greatest songs in history, and will playing it in a loop today, here's a link of a bunch of great versions.
posted by SecretAgentSockpuppet at 8:34 AM on November 11, 2016 [1 favorite]


Jesus.

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posted by Mister Moofoo at 8:43 AM on November 11, 2016


Leonard Cohen is one of the musicians that my parents listened to that I got into as a teen. As I got older, he was also one of the few common denominators in the music collections of my friends. It's remarkable, given how particular his music is, that it appeals to such a wide range of people. And his latest album proves that he had plenty left to give. Usually when artists die in their 80s my reaction is to mourn the human and celebrate what they have accomplished. With Cohen I feel that I mourn not to only the human, but also the music he could still have brought into the world.

.
posted by Kattullus at 8:54 AM on November 11, 2016 [6 favorites]


"Your standing days are done," I cried,
"You'll rally me no more.
I don't even know what side
We fought on, or what for."

"I'm on the side that's always lost
Against the side of Heaven
I'm on the side of snake eyes tossed
Against the side of seven.
And I've read the Bill of Human Rights
And some of it was true
But there wasn't any burden left
So I'm laying it on you."


I discovered Leonard Cohen when he released The Future in 1992, and my dad became obsessed with "Closing Time", to a degree I hadn't seen since Paul Simon's "You Can Call Me Al". I wound up being an even bigger Cohen fan than he was, but my feelings about Cohen have always been a bit tangled up with my father. (Quite apart from Leonard Cohen being one of my imaginary Jewish grandfathers as noted previously.)

My dad passed away in June of last year, also at the age of 82. He was a loving but difficult man, and he left a lot of messes behind him, in both life and death. Since then, my feelings about him have been mostly a sort of numbness tinged with anger.

This morning, I found myself crying a little for my dad, for the first time since he died.

. .
posted by McCoy Pauley at 9:10 AM on November 11, 2016 [4 favorites]


This, from a friend's recent email:

paraphrasing someone else --

Cohen's death is his final gift to us, because his music is suddenly everywhere (and not just Hallelujah) ... and it's the perfect soundtrack for the historical moment.
Gloomy but not hopeless. Not to mention smart, incise and resilient.

posted by philip-random at 9:15 AM on November 11, 2016 [10 favorites]


My wife loves Cohen. My brother-in-law strangely has some of Cohen's mail and is also a very big fan. He was the quintessential Canadian poet-songwriter. His music is the soul of Montreal. If you love his music and have never been to Montreal you must make a pilgrimage to feel the city that was his life and his music.

He was a poet, he was a lover, he was a monk.

He will be missed.
posted by GuyZero at 9:27 AM on November 11, 2016


Happy 2016. (Leonard's in the back row)
posted by svenx at 9:29 AM on November 11, 2016 [4 favorites]


I've always loved this crazily/perfectly 1990 cover of Bird on a Wire by the Neville Brothers. Aaron Neville's angelic voice singing those lyrics is heaven.

.
posted by sallybrown at 9:42 AM on November 11, 2016 [2 favorites]


The very fabulous Fisher Rare Books Library at the University of Toronto has been tweeting some bits and pieces from its Cohen archives (he donated his papers to them a few years back).

Collection - Leonard Cohen Papers.
posted by mandolin conspiracy at 9:54 AM on November 11, 2016 [1 favorite]


I want to be sadder, and I'm sad for, like, me. For us. But I feel at the same time as though he made it as clear as he could to the rest of us that he was ready for this, and I'm not sad for him.
posted by Sequence at 10:32 AM on November 11, 2016 [5 favorites]


“Only in Canada could I get 'Male Vocalist of the Year'”.

This made me laugh at otherwise sad news. Thanks.

I saw him as a teenager at the paramount in seattle with my dad. I've been avoiding thinking about anything the last couple days and this wasn't what I wanted to pop the misery bubble, but you don't really get to choose those things.

I saw the news on Hacker News earlier this morning and came here looking for the thread because i made the mistake of reading the comments there, so thanks once again for being a bastion of sanity, mefi.
posted by lkc at 10:54 AM on November 11, 2016 [2 favorites]


.
posted by treepour at 11:02 AM on November 11, 2016


.
posted by MelanieL at 11:20 AM on November 11, 2016


.
posted by siskin at 11:42 AM on November 11, 2016


.

Everybody knows that the dice are loaded
Everybody rolls with their fingers crossed
Everybody knows the war is over
Everybody knows the good guys lost
Everybody knows the fight was fixed
The poor stay poor, the rich get rich
That's how it goes
Everybody knows

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
Everybody talking to their pockets
Everybody wants a box of chocolates
And a long-stem rose
Everybody knows


Everybody knows the deal is rotten
Old Black Joe's still pickin' cotton
For your ribbons and bows
And everybody knows

And everybody knows that the Plague is coming
Everybody knows that it's moving fast
Everybody knows that the naked man and woman
Are just a shining artifact of the past
Everybody knows the scene is dead
But there's gonna be a meter on your bed
That will disclose
What everybody knows

And everybody knows that you're in trouble
Everybody knows what you've been through
From the bloody cross on top of Calvary
To the beach of Malibu
Everybody knows it's coming apart
Take one last look at this Sacred Heart
Before it blows
And everybody knows


2016 is trying to outdo itself at this point, isn't it?
posted by daybeforetheday at 11:52 AM on November 11, 2016 [3 favorites]


Avalanche
posted by severiina at 12:21 PM on November 11, 2016 [1 favorite]


.
posted by tonycpsu at 12:27 PM on November 11, 2016


Ladies and Gentlemen...Mr. Leonard Cohen is a great National Film Board of Canada documentary from 1965. Back when he was known more for his poetry. Lots of amazing footage of Montreal from the mid 60's.
posted by shackpalace at 12:36 PM on November 11, 2016 [5 favorites]




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posted by SonInLawOfSam at 12:57 PM on November 11, 2016


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posted by Monkeymoo at 1:02 PM on November 11, 2016


R.E.M.'s cover of "First We Take Manhattan" is the first Cohen song I knew, from the I'm Your Fan tribute album. I enjoyed it.

We got the album in the record store I worked in during my sophomore year of college, and the manager, who was a tremendous fan of his, played the hell out of it. I "acquired" I'm Your Man shortly thereafter from the assistant manager, and here we are.

I learned from the cover album that his lyrics are AMAZING, but it was a step forward in my musical education to actually hear Cohen; for the first time I was fine with listening to a voice that wasn't tuneful or "pretty". As someone who grew up in the African-American church, that's close to musical sacrilege. He opened up a new world to me in that regard; if I'd allowed myself to tune him out because his voice didn't swoop and flutter like a Luther Vandross, how much would I have missed? Or lost, rather, in not only my musical education, but in my learning about life?
posted by droplet at 1:34 PM on November 11, 2016 [5 favorites]


I was just listening to his songs yesterday! (Before reading this.) He's a great artist.

.
posted by Kevin Street at 2:22 PM on November 11, 2016 [1 favorite]


His music is the soul of Montreal. If you love his music and have never been to Montreal you must make a pilgrimage to feel the city that was his life and his music.

I loved the hell out of Le Plateau - instantly felt at home there, and so far it's the only place I've visited I would seriously contemplate moving to.

Took a walk around the suburb where Leonard grew up also. Very pretty.

So completely gutted here. Just trying to stay positive. I think a weekend of his music will do good.
posted by UbuRoivas at 2:26 PM on November 11, 2016


.
posted by Puddle Jumper at 2:31 PM on November 11, 2016


Not posted yet...

Your letters they all say that you're beside me now.
Then why do I feel alone?
I'm standing on a ledge and your fine spider web
is fastening my ankle to a stone.

Now so long, Marianne, it's time that we began
to laugh and cry and cry and laugh about it all again.

For now I need your hidden love.
I'm cold as a new razor blade.
You left when I told you I was curious,
I never said that I was brave.
posted by UbuRoivas at 2:38 PM on November 11, 2016


Suddenly the night has grown colder.
The god of love preparing to depart.
Alexandra hoisted on his shoulder,
They slip between the sentries of the heart.

Upheld by the simplicities of pleasure,
They gain the light, they formlessly entwine;
And radiant beyond your widest measure
They fall among the voices and the wine.

It's not a trick, your senses all deceiving,
A fitful dream, the morning will exhaust -
Say goodbye to Alexandra leaving.
Then say goodbye to Alexandra lost.
posted by Fish, fish, are you doing your duty? at 3:27 PM on November 11, 2016 [1 favorite]


Toronto musician Lou Pomanti, who toured with Cohen:

He had invited us to his house after a gig, and it was late. A few of us were sitting around drinking wine in his kitchen and he was regaling us with stories of his youth. How his father had worked in the shipbuilding yards and how he used to go down and visit him.

All of a sudden, Leonard says he's hungry. He asks if I would go down and pick up some smoked meat sandwiches. "Tell them Leonard Cohen sent you."

I get to the restaurant and an older Jewish man greets me in a white hat and apron smeared with pastrami and mustard. I order a bunch of sandwiches and a brisket for myself to take with me the next day, as I was flying home.

Then I say: "Leonard Cohen sent me."

The man says: "Lenny Cohen, the lawyer down the street?"

I say: "No."

The man says: "Lenny Cohen, the tailor?"

I say: "No. Leonard Cohen, the songwriter."

The man shrugs and says: "There are a lot of Leonard Cohens around here."

posted by mandolin conspiracy at 3:37 PM on November 11, 2016 [13 favorites]




I played his Live in London album on repeat while in labor with my daughter. His resonant voice struck something primal in me.
Was incredibly fortunate to see him twice in concert on his last tour.

.
posted by terooot at 3:49 PM on November 11, 2016 [1 favorite]


This music has gotten us through so much, and shall always rise to the occasion.

Thank you Leonard.

.
posted by riverlife at 3:54 PM on November 11, 2016


Memories may be sent to:
222 W 23rd Street, New York, NY 10011
posted by Nanukthedog at 4:41 PM on November 11, 2016 [3 favorites]


.
posted by Deoridhe at 4:57 PM on November 11, 2016


The lyric-less refrain of "Joan of Arc" is one of the loveliest tunes I have ever heard.

.
posted by tzikeh at 5:00 PM on November 11, 2016 [2 favorites]


📞
posted by clavdivs at 5:24 PM on November 11, 2016


A shrine has been growing at the house Cohen owned just off the Main in Montreal. By all reports, people have been there all day around the little square called the Parc du Portugal, and a sort of choral gathering is planned there Saturday at 4 pm.
posted by zadcat at 5:32 PM on November 11, 2016 [3 favorites]


Searching for images of the Parc du Portugal to see if I had been there (yay), this showed up in the image search.

I had no idea he lived on le Plateau, but of course he did.
posted by UbuRoivas at 5:45 PM on November 11, 2016


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posted by postcommunism at 7:48 PM on November 11, 2016


My wife told me a story today about her Cohen experience.

She was from a very small town near Cornwall and went to McGill and had a male high school classmate who also dated a girl who went to McGill and then dumped him.

When my wife came home from her first year at McGill to visit family she ran into him and he said "What is it with all you girls who go to McGill? You cut your hair, wear baggy pants and all start listening to Leonard Cohen".

So I owe Mr. Cohen a huge debt for luring my wife away from Motley Crue and White Snake.
posted by srboisvert at 8:13 PM on November 11, 2016 [5 favorites]


I regret not shelling out the incredible amount of money it would have cost to see him the last time he came round. I shall be forever grateful to the MeFite who said they want "If It Be Your Will" to be played at their funeral, because that is written in the papers in the manilla envelope passed out to my family this year. I am thankful that he told us he was dying. I think that this was the kindest 2016 has been. I told a friend that it wasn't a punch in the gut, just another tear drop in the deep well of sadness this year has brought. Thank you for your honesty, always.
posted by Ruki at 9:50 PM on November 11, 2016 [3 favorites]


.
posted by Joey Michaels at 10:39 PM on November 11, 2016


.

The single greatest artistic influence in my life.

.
posted by Cosine at 12:16 AM on November 12, 2016 [2 favorites]


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posted by PippinJack at 2:03 AM on November 12, 2016


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posted by The Vice Admiral of the Narrow Seas at 6:49 AM on November 12, 2016


There is a condolence book you can sign online – yes, that's a Quebec government site. They plan to give Cohen a national memorial service of some kind – not a state funeral, because he's already been buried in a Montreal cemetery alongside his ancestors. There's also a physical book of condolence open at the Grande Bibliothèque in Montreal this weekend.

On Friday, the band at the Remembrance Day ceremony at the cenotaph in Place du Canada diverted from its usual list of anthems to play the refrain of "Hallelujah".
posted by zadcat at 7:34 AM on November 12, 2016 [6 favorites]


it's going to happen very soon
posted by philip-random at 11:36 AM on November 12, 2016


... and one of my all-time favorite quotes, pulled from a magazine interview some decades ago:

"I don't feel like being a wild-eyed prophet on the streets shouting, repent! repent! But we do live in several worlds. We live in a world that's mundane, a world that's apocalyptic, a world of order and a world that knows no order. We're continually juggling these worlds, entering and leaving them. I've always had the sense that this apocalyptic reality is with us. It's not something that’s coming."
posted by philip-random at 11:39 AM on November 12, 2016 [3 favorites]


I didn't think I'd like this, but I really did.
Kveller: This Yiddish Rendition of Leonard Cohen’s ‘Hallelujah’ Made Me Cry
posted by Joe in Australia at 3:49 PM on November 12, 2016 [1 favorite]


I want to cry. I could be sad or I can be happy. Or both at once.
posted by vapidave at 4:23 PM on November 12, 2016 [1 favorite]


Brain Pickings: Leonard Cohen on Democracy and Its Redemptions. There's some meat in the links, too.
posted by Devils Rancher at 6:25 PM on November 12, 2016


I was not a regular Leonard Cohen fan but he was invaluable to me one time a long while ago. I was sailing with my boyfriend across the Atlantic in his small sailboat. I'd stocked some of my favorite listening music, classical symphonies, but a funny thing happened. It was a long slow trip that year, not much wind or we weren't finding it and we were becalmed for a week once. Nothing but sun and a clear empty horizon all around. I couldn't listen to my music, it was too complicated, too intense, too detailed. It had too many notes. My bf had a random assortment of CDs, mostly not labelled but he had the Leonard Cohen album that included Jazz Police and Everybody Knows and Tracy Chapman's first album and those were as much as I could handle. I listened to both of them over and over again.
posted by TWinbrook8 at 8:14 PM on November 12, 2016 [1 favorite]


Kveller: This Yiddish Rendition of Leonard Cohen’s ‘Hallelujah’ Made Me Cry

That was really good; thanks.

(as an aside, never having heard much Yiddish before, I was surprised at how much I could understand from schoolboy German, a bit like how I can kinda sorta grok Dutch as half-English, half-German)
posted by UbuRoivas at 8:51 PM on November 12, 2016 [1 favorite]


As another aside, I'm off to see the band James tonight.

Given that they contributed So Long Marianne to the I'm Your Fan tribute album, I'm preparing myself for much of the audience weeping openly at the beauty of the word.
posted by UbuRoivas at 8:56 PM on November 12, 2016 [2 favorites]


Remembering Leonard Cohen, with a story about Sisters of Mercy.
posted by mogget at 10:31 PM on November 12, 2016


Wow.
posted by Cosine at 2:19 AM on November 13, 2016 [2 favorites]


I watched the "I'm Your Man" doco from 2005 earlier tonight and got some tears, but they didn't fall. I sang along, loudly (I was alone). This death - of someone whose songs I've loved since his first album was released - it doesn't get me howling "Nooooo!" like the deaths of Bowie and Prince. Death at 82 is not so shocking and I don't mourn for the music that might have been had he lived longer. Leonard's oeuvre seems complete. It is sufficient. I am filled with admiration, affection and gratitude.
posted by valetta at 6:20 AM on November 13, 2016 [3 favorites]


Leonard Cohen's voice and lyrics are part of the essential soundtrack to my inner life. This is such sad news. Thank you, Leonard Cohen.
posted by theora55 at 7:42 AM on November 13, 2016


An artist has, er, edited a street sign near Cohen's house, which is just a step away from rue Marie-Anne...
posted by zadcat at 8:06 AM on November 13, 2016 [3 favorites]


.
posted by klausness at 9:08 AM on November 13, 2016


And as I grew older I understood that instructions came with this voice. What were these instructions? The instructions were never to lament casually

This was just shown to me, it's a transcription of an acceptance speech for a poetry award in Spain, alas I am not well listened in the songs of our time but what little I've absorbed of Mr Cohen is quite wonderfully warm and significant.
posted by sammyo at 9:17 AM on November 13, 2016 [1 favorite]


songs of love + avalanche ...

a mix which has sounded particularly resonant over the past few days. Mostly not over familiar stuff from the 70s. When in doubt, go for a walk in the wasteland, take notes.
posted by philip-random at 11:21 AM on November 13, 2016


More updates: Sunday afternoon, quoting a report from Alex Norris, borough councillor for the area:
Moment très touchant cet après-midi, lorsque des membres de la communauté portugaise de Montréal ont rendu hommage à Leonard Cohen. Vers 12h30, une procession d’une cinquantaine de personnes, menée par l’abbé José Cardoso et le consul général José Guedes de Sousa, est partie de l’église Santa Cruz en direction du parc du Portugal. Devant la maison de Leonard Cohen, rue de Vallières, deux chanteuses de la communauté, Marta Raposo et Sara Franco, ont déposé une couronne. Le consul général a pris brièvement la parole, en français et en portugais, pour souligner les liens d’affection entre les Portugais de Montréal et Leonard Cohen. Ensuite, Sara Franco a chanté «Hallelujah», accompagnée par les quelques centaines de personnes présentes.
Translated:

Very moving moment this afternoon when members of the Portuguese community honoured Leonard Cohen.
Around 12:30, a procession of about fifty people, led by Father José Cardoso and consul general José Gueses de Sousa, walked from Santa Cruz church toward Parc du Portugal [where Cohen's house is]. At the house on rue de Vallières, two singers from the community, Marta Raposo and Sara Franco, placed a crown. The consul general said a brief word in French and Portuguese to emphasize the ties of affection between the Portuguese in Montreal and Leonard Cohen. Then Sara Franco sang "Hallelujah" along with the hundreds of people present.

(The part of the Plateau where the house is, on rue de Vallières which makes up one side of Parc du Portugal, has been the centre of the Portuguese immigrant community in Montreal for several decades.)
posted by zadcat at 1:57 PM on November 13, 2016 [1 favorite]




Leonard's son Adam was recently interviewed for the CBC Radio programme Q as well as Cantor Gideon Zelermyer who sings on the album.

Adam on Facebook:
My sister and I just buried my father in Montreal. With only immediate family and a few lifelong friends present, he was lowered into the ground in an unadorned pine box, next to his mother and father. Exactly as he’d asked. As I write this I’m thinking of my father’s unique blend of self-deprecation and dignity, his approachable elegance, his charisma without audacity, his old-world gentlemanliness and the hand-forged tower of his work. There’s so much I wish I could thank him for, just one last time. I’d thank him for the comfort he always provided, for the wisdom he dispensed, for the marathon conversations, for his dazzling wit and humor. I’d thank him for giving me, and teaching me to love Montreal and Greece. And I’d thank him for music; first for his music which seduced me as a boy, then for his encouragement of my own music, and finally for the privilege of being able to make music with him. Thank you for your kind messages, for the outpouring of sympathy and for your love of my father.
posted by Kabanos at 12:50 PM on November 14, 2016 [4 favorites]


Someone I know on Facebook used to live in Montreal, and posted a memory of being out walking his dog Daisy and they ran into Leonard Cohen. He apparently knelt down to say hello, and Daisy licked him all over the face- which he gladly accepted - and then when he stood up, he smiled at my friend and said "your dog is an empath."

Daisy passed this year as well, about a month ago. I hope she was on some kind of welcoming committee.
posted by EmpressCallipygos at 3:06 PM on November 14, 2016 [7 favorites]


Pentatonix Hallelujah
posted by bukvich at 5:23 PM on November 14, 2016 [1 favorite]


For those in Toronto -- Choir!Choir!Choir! is doing a memorial event at Christie Pits on Wednesday evening (9pm). They covered Hallelujah with Rufus Wainwright and 1500 singers earlier this year.
posted by sevenyearlurk at 6:14 PM on November 14, 2016 [4 favorites]


I get to the restaurant and an older Jewish man greets me in a white hat and apron smeared with pastrami and mustard. I order a bunch of sandwiches and a brisket for myself to take with me the next day, as I was flying home.

It would have to have been Schwartz's Deli, right?
posted by UbuRoivas at 12:04 AM on November 15, 2016


Statement from Leonard's lawyer and manager, Robert Kory:

Leonard Cohen died during his sleep following a fall in the middle of the night on November 7th. The death was sudden, unexpected, and peaceful. He is survived by his children Adam and Lorca, and his three grandchildren Cassius (Adam’s son), and Viva and Lyon (Lorca’s daughter and son).

As stated on Cohencentric.
posted by Capt. Renault at 2:01 PM on November 16, 2016




Toronto Life: A look inside U of T’s massive archive of Leonard Cohen poems, letters and pictures.
Photos of just some of the 140 banker’s boxes worth of Leonard Cohen archives housed at the University of Toronto's Thomas Fisher Rare Book Library.
posted by Kabanos at 8:01 AM on November 23, 2016


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