Happy birthday Leonard Cohen!

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Leonard Cohen (born September 21, 1934) is a Canadian, singer-songwriter, musician, poet, and novelist. He has won a Canadian Juno Award, a Prince of Asturias Award for literature, and many other honors for his influence as a folk songwriter in the late 1960s. He is widely regarded as one of the best lyricists of the last century, and often compared to Bob Dylan and Paul Simon.

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Cohen was born in Montreal, Quebec, Canada to Marsha (Masha) Klonitsky and Lyon Cohen. He lived an English-speaking part of Montreal. His family is Jewish; his mother was the daughter of a Talmudic writer and his father was the founding president of the Canadian Jewish Congress.

As a teenager, he became interested in music and poetry. He was particularly interested in the poetry of Federico Garcia Lorca. He learned to play guitar and formed the folk music group The Buckskin Boys.

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Cohen studied at McGill University. He published his first poems in 1954 in the magazine CIV/n. After graduating with his undergraduate degree and spending a year in McGill's law school, Cohen moved to New York City.

He published several books, both poetry collections and novels, over the next decade including Let Us Compare Mythologies (1956), The Spice-Box of Earth (1961), Flowers for Hitler (1964), The Favourite Game (1963), and Beautiful Losers (1966).

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Finding little financial success in writing, he began writing music while socializing on the peripheries of Andy Warhol's "Factory" crowd. Before long, producer John Hammond signed Cohen to Columbia Records. In 1966, folk singer Judy Collins released her album In My Life, which included her rendition of "Suzanne," a song written by Cohen. The song was later covered by Noel Harrison, and it has remained one of Cohen's most covered songs. By 1967, Cohen released his first album Songs of Leonard Cohen (1967), which included his version of the song.

 

 

He followed with Songs from a Room (1969) and Songs of Love and Hate (1970).

Beginning in 1974, Cohen began to collaborate with pianist and arranger John Lissauer. Their live performances were well received by critics.

In the early 1980s, Cohen co-wrote music for the musical film Night Magic (1985). Soon after, he released the album Various Positions (1984), which included what is perhaps his most famous song to date: "Hallelujah."

 

 

Albums he has produced since his peak popularity include I'm Your Man (1988), The Future (1992), Ten New Songs (2001) and Dear Heather (2004).

Over the last few decades, Cohen has performed at many festivals and even appeared on an episode of Miami Vice. He has also toured extensively.

 

 

Additional Info

  • Birthday Date: Sunday, 21 September 2014
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