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Leonard Cohen

Geburtstag: 21. September 1934
Todesdatum: 7. November 2016

Leonard Norman Cohen [lɛnərd ˈkoʊən], CC, GOQ war ein kanadischer Singer-Songwriter, Schriftsteller, Dichter und Maler.

Nachdem Cohen sich in Kanada bereits mit Gedichten und Romanen einen Namen gemacht und mit dem Kultroman Beautiful Losers einen internationalen Bestseller gelandet hatte, veröffentlichte er 1967 sein erstes Album, Songs of Leonard Cohen. Die Platte mit melodisch einfachen Folksongs war kommerziell erfolgreich und leitete eine fast 50 Jahre andauernde Musikkarriere ein, unterbrochen von Phasen des Rückzugs. Während seines künstlerischen Wirkens von 1956 bis 2016 schrieb er zahlreiche Gedichtsammlungen, aber auch Romane und brachte unter anderem vierzehn Studioalben sowie einige Livealben und Kompilationen heraus. Sein letztes Album You Want It Darker erschien am 21. Oktober 2016, drei Wochen vor seinem Tod.

Seine melancholisch gefärbten, poetischen Songs wurden von zahlreichen Künstlern gecovert. Zu den bekanntesten zählen Suzanne, Famous Blue Raincoat, Bird on a Wire und So Long, Marianne zu Beginn seiner Karriere sowie in den 1980er Jahren First We Take Manhattan und Hallelujah. In seinem musikalischen Werk werden unter anderem Liebe, Religion, Tod und menschliches Leid thematisiert.

Cohen erhielt zahlreiche Preise und Auszeichnungen, darunter mehrere Juno Awards, den Order of Canada, den Ordre national du Québec sowie den Prinz-von-Asturien-Preis in der Sparte Literatur und 2015 den Preis der deutschen Schallplattenkritik im Bereich Pop, Rock und Jazz für sein Lebenswerk sowie posthum einen Grammy. 2006 wurde er in die Canadian Music Hall of Fame und 2010 in die Canadian Songwriters Hall of Fame sowie 2008 in die Rock and Roll Hall of Fame aufgenommen.

Zitate Leonard Cohen

„I don't know which side is anybody on any more. I don't really care. There is a moment when we have to transcend the side we're on and understand that we are creatures of a higher order.“

—  Leonard Cohen

Introducing "If It Be Your Will"
Warsaw concert (1985)
Kontext: I don't know which side is anybody on any more. I don't really care. There is a moment when we have to transcend the side we're on and understand that we are creatures of a higher order. That doesn't mean that I don't wish you courage in your struggle. There is on both sides of the struggle men of good will. That is important to remember. On both sides of the struggle, some struggling for freedom, some struggling for safety and solemn testimony of that unbroken faith which binds generations one to another I sing this song, "If It Be Your Will"

„O you've seen that man before
his golden arm dispatching cards
but now it's rusted from the elbow to the finger“

—  Leonard Cohen

"The Stranger Song"
Alludes to the dealer in Nelson Algren's 1949 novel The Man with the Golden Arm.
Kontext: O you've seen that man before
his golden arm dispatching cards
but now it's rusted from the elbow to the finger
And he wants to trade the game he plays for shelter

„I am so often accused of gloominess and melancholy. And I think I'm probably the most cheerful man around. I don't consider myself a pessimist at all. I think of a pessimist as someone who is waiting for it to rain. And I feel completely soaked to the skin.“

—  Leonard Cohen

As quoted in "The Joking Troubadour of Gloom" in The Daily Telegraph (26 April 1993) http://www.webheights.net/speakingcohen/feb93.htm
Kontext: I am so often accused of gloominess and melancholy. And I think I'm probably the most cheerful man around. I don't consider myself a pessimist at all. I think of a pessimist as someone who is waiting for it to rain. And I feel completely soaked to the skin. … I think those descriptions of me are quite inappropriate to the gravity of the predicament that faces us all. I've always been free from hope. It's never been one of my great solaces. I feel that more and more we're invited to make ourselves strong and cheerful..... I think that it was Ben Jonson who said, I have studied all the theologies and all the philosophies, but cheerfulness keeps breaking through.

„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.“

—  Leonard Cohen

"Suzanne" - Isle of Wight performance (1970) http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=n_56ep729TE - Live in London (2008) http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=snMOmHzgssk
Kontext: Suzanne takes you down to her place near the river.
You can hear the boats go by,
You can spend the night beside her,
And you know that she's half crazy
But that's why you want to be there,
And she feeds you tea and oranges
That come all the way from China.
And just when you mean to tell her
That you have no love to give her
Then she gets you on her wavelength
And she lets the river answer
That you've always been her lover.
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.

„I come from a country where we do not have the same struggles as you have. I respect your struggles. And it may surprise you, but I respect both sides of this struggle.“

—  Leonard Cohen

Introducing "Who by Fire"
Warsaw concert (1985)
Kontext: I come from a country where we do not have the same struggles as you have. I respect your struggles. And it may surprise you, but I respect both sides of this struggle. It seems to be that in Europe there needs to be a left foot and a right foot to move forward. I wish that both feet move forward and the body moves towards its proper destiny. This is an intense country; the people are heroic, the spirit is independent. It is a difficult country to govern, it needs a strong government and a strong union. … I would like to say to you, to the leaders of the left, and the leaders of the right, I sing... I sing for everyone. My song has no flag, my song has no party. And I say the prayer, that we said in our synagogue, I say it for the leader of your union and the leader of your party. May the Lord put a spirit, a wisdom and understanding into the hearts of your leaders and into the hearts of all their counsellors.

„Oh the sisters of mercy, they are not departed or gone.“

—  Leonard Cohen

"Sisters of Mercy"
Kontext: 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.

„There's a blaze of light in every word
It doesn't matter which you heard
The holy or the broken Hallelujah“

—  Leonard Cohen

"Hallelujah"
Various Positions (1984)
Kontext: You say I took the name in vain
I don't even know the name
But if I did, well really, what's it to you?
There's a blaze of light in every word
It doesn't matter which you heard
The holy or the broken Hallelujah

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„I see you standing on the other side.
I don't know how the river got so wide.“

—  Leonard Cohen

" Tower Of Song http://www.lyricsfreak.com/l/leonard+cohen/tower+of+song_20082815.html" - Tower of Song with U2, Video http://vimeo.com/13286028
I'm Your Man (1988)
Kontext: p>I see you standing on the other side.
I don't know how the river got so wide.
I loved you, baby, way back when.
And all the bridges are burning that
We might have crossed and I feel so close to everything that we've lost.
We'll never, we'll never have to lose it again.Now I bid You farewell, I don't when I'll be back.
They're moving us tomorrow to that tower down the track.
But you'll be hearing from me, baby, long after I'm gone.
I'll speaking to you sweetly
From a window in the Tower Of Song</p

„It is good to have among us such men, such balancing monsters of love.“

—  Leonard Cohen, buch Beautiful Losers

Beautiful Losers (1966)
Kontext: What is a saint? A saint is someone who has achieved a remote human possibility. It is impossible to say what that possibility is. I think it has something to do with the energy of love. Contact with this energy results in the exercise of a kind of balance in the chaos of existence. A saint does not dissolve the chaos; if he did the world would have changed long ago. I do not think that a saint dissolves the chaos even for himself, for there is something arrogant and warlike in the notion of a man setting the universe in order. It is a kind of balance that is his glory. He rides the drifts like an escaped ski. His course is the caress of the hill. His track is a drawing of the snow in a moment of its particular arrangement with wind and rock. Something in him so loves the world that he gives himself to the laws of gravity and chance. Far from flying with the angels, he traces with the fidelity of a seismograph needle the state of the solid bloody landscape. His house is dangerous and finite, but he is at home in the world. He can love the shape of human beings, the fine and twisted shapes of the heart. It is good to have among us such men, such balancing monsters of love.

„When it all comes down to dust I will kill you if I must, I will help you if I can.“

—  Leonard Cohen

"Story of Isaac"
Songs from a Room (1969)
Kontext: When it all comes down to dust I will kill you if I must, I will help you if I can.
When it all comes down to dust I will help you if I must, I will kill you if I can.

„But let's not talk of love or chains and things we can't untie,
your eyes are soft with sorrow,
Hey, that's no way to say goodbye.“

—  Leonard Cohen

"Hey, That's No Way To Say Goodbye" · Duet with Judy Collins on Soundstage (January 1976) https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=IVJImYNGqwk
Kontext: I loved you in the morning, our kisses deep and warm,
Your hair upon the pillow like a sleepy golden storm,
Yes many loved before us, I know that we are not new,
In city and in forest they smiled like me and you,
But let's not talk of love or chains and things we can't untie,
your eyes are soft with sorrow,
Hey, that's no way to say goodbye.

„I would like to say to you, to the leaders of the left, and the leaders of the right, I sing… I sing for everyone. My song has no flag, my song has no party.“

—  Leonard Cohen

Introducing "Who by Fire"
Warsaw concert (1985)
Kontext: I come from a country where we do not have the same struggles as you have. I respect your struggles. And it may surprise you, but I respect both sides of this struggle. It seems to be that in Europe there needs to be a left foot and a right foot to move forward. I wish that both feet move forward and the body moves towards its proper destiny. This is an intense country; the people are heroic, the spirit is independent. It is a difficult country to govern, it needs a strong government and a strong union. … I would like to say to you, to the leaders of the left, and the leaders of the right, I sing... I sing for everyone. My song has no flag, my song has no party. And I say the prayer, that we said in our synagogue, I say it for the leader of your union and the leader of your party. May the Lord put a spirit, a wisdom and understanding into the hearts of your leaders and into the hearts of all their counsellors.

„Well Marianne it's come to this time when we are really so old and our bodies are falling apart and I think I will follow you very soon.“

—  Leonard Cohen

"Leonard Cohen Penned Letter to 'So Long, Marianne' Muse Before Her Death" by Daniel Kreps, in Rolling Stone (7 August 2016) http://www.rollingstone.com/music/news/leonard-cohen-pens-final-letter-to-so-long-marianne-muse-w433144
Kontext: Well Marianne it's come to this time when we are really so old and our bodies are falling apart and I think I will follow you very soon. Know that I am so close behind you that if you stretch out your hand, I think you can reach mine. … And you know that I've always loved you for your beauty and your wisdom, but I don't need to say anything more about that because you know all about that. But now, I just want to wish you a very good journey. Goodbye old friend. Endless love, see you down the road.

„Goodbye old friend. Endless love, see you down the road.“

—  Leonard Cohen

"Leonard Cohen Penned Letter to 'So Long, Marianne' Muse Before Her Death" by Daniel Kreps, in Rolling Stone (7 August 2016) http://www.rollingstone.com/music/news/leonard-cohen-pens-final-letter-to-so-long-marianne-muse-w433144
Kontext: Well Marianne it's come to this time when we are really so old and our bodies are falling apart and I think I will follow you very soon. Know that I am so close behind you that if you stretch out your hand, I think you can reach mine. … And you know that I've always loved you for your beauty and your wisdom, but I don't need to say anything more about that because you know all about that. But now, I just want to wish you a very good journey. Goodbye old friend. Endless love, see you down the road.

„I have no program, I have no five-year plan.“

—  Leonard Cohen

Introducing "Chelsea Hotel #2"
Warsaw concert (1985)
Kontext: I have no program, I have no five-year plan. … It doesn’t mean that you shouldn't have one! I just move from hotel to hotel, and from bar to bar, and by the grace of the One above occasionally a song comes, and I remember sitting at this particularly obnoxious Polynesian restaurant where they served a kind of coconut drink that was particularly lethal and sinister which contained no alcohol but a certain chemical that demoralized you entirely. And I remember writing on one of their very badly designed napkins, "I remember you well at the Chelsea Hotel..." so I dedicate this song to one of the great singers, Janis Joplin.

„Now I've heard there was a secret chord
That David played, and it pleased the Lord
But you don't really care for music, do you?“

—  Leonard Cohen

"Hallelujah" - 1984 performance http://www.dailymotion.com/video/x3rwo0_leonard-cohen-hallelujah_music · Montreal Jazz Festival 2008 performance http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=2FpwjQLZTTs
Various Positions (1984)
Kontext: Now I've heard there was a secret chord
That David played, and it pleased the Lord
But you don't really care for music, do you?
It goes like this the fourth, the fifth
The minor fall, the major lift
The baffled king composing Hallelujah

„What is a saint? A saint is someone who has achieved a remote human possibility. It is impossible to say what that possibility is. I think it has something to do with the energy of love.“

—  Leonard Cohen, buch Beautiful Losers

Beautiful Losers (1966)
Kontext: What is a saint? A saint is someone who has achieved a remote human possibility. It is impossible to say what that possibility is. I think it has something to do with the energy of love. Contact with this energy results in the exercise of a kind of balance in the chaos of existence. A saint does not dissolve the chaos; if he did the world would have changed long ago. I do not think that a saint dissolves the chaos even for himself, for there is something arrogant and warlike in the notion of a man setting the universe in order. It is a kind of balance that is his glory. He rides the drifts like an escaped ski. His course is the caress of the hill. His track is a drawing of the snow in a moment of its particular arrangement with wind and rock. Something in him so loves the world that he gives himself to the laws of gravity and chance. Far from flying with the angels, he traces with the fidelity of a seismograph needle the state of the solid bloody landscape. His house is dangerous and finite, but he is at home in the world. He can love the shape of human beings, the fine and twisted shapes of the heart. It is good to have among us such men, such balancing monsters of love.

„Lorem ipsum dolor sit amet, consectetuer adipiscing elit. Etiam egestas wisi a erat. Morbi imperdiet, mauris ac auctor dictum.“

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