Oregon Music News: Oregon’s all-genre music magazine since 2009

11/14/2016

Reactions to passing of Leonard Cohen

By SCOTT CUNNINGHAM // "There is a crack in everything, that's how the light gets in." - Leonard Cohen

The music world was once again rocked last week by the passing of renowned poet, author, and songrwriter Leonard Cohen.

It is difficult to overstate his impact and importance in these fields. Cohen had a gift with words that few could equal. Bob Dylan recently won the first Nobel Prize in literature by a songwriter; it would be not be surprising to see Cohen be named the second at some point.

Cohen was beloved across the world and reactions to his death have continued to pour in over the past several days. I've embedded several notable tweets later in this piece as a representation of the words that continue to be spoke in his honor.

On Friday, I reached out to several people in my circles to ask them to contribute a thought or two about Cohen. Here's some of what I received.

Canadian singer-songwriter and actress Jill Hennessey

At the age of 18, my friend served me tea & oranges & sat me down 2 listen 2 "Suzanne"...Leonard Cohen was an artist adept w/indelible, divine imagery & an appreciation of the power of the feminine & human connection. Divinely poetic. Beautiful Canadian son.

Alyssa and Doug Graham of The Grahams

In a week of heartbreak, the passing of one of our great poets and most inspired voices leaves us searching for hope. Luckily, Mr. Cohen leaves behind words of bravery to help us through these uncertain and imperfect times. “Ring the bells that still can ring/Forget your perfect offering/There is a crack in everything/That's how the light gets in.” R.I.P.

Beehive Queen Christine Ohlman

The gold standard in emotive songwriting. Cohen knew how to tap into the dark and the light, and he moved effortlessly between them, illuminating the entire range of human feeling in the process.

James McMurtry

It's hard to think of Leonard Cohen being gone. He was in my world since I can remember. My father had a vinyl 45 of "Suzanne" when I was maybe four years old and the song was a radio hit. No one ever mentioned the singer's name to me, but I hated that song and that voice. I was a Johnny Cash fan and nothing else would do. I didn't get into Cohen's work until the eighties. "First We Take Manhattan" changed the world for me. Cohen's voice and technique had improved and someone had really figured out how to record that voice. The bland monotone of "Suzanne" had become the whisper of a god. I began to meet people who worked with Cohen. One day, the late Bill Ginn told me he had talked to Leonard on the phone the day before, and when Bill had asked him what he was up to, Cohen had replied,"I've been slaving over a hot word." I was sure I would someday meet the man with the big whisper. A couple of years ago, I was invited to play on a concert honoring Leonard Cohen at Massey Hall in Toronto. I took along my friend,pianist Steven Barber, and we performed "Closing Time". I should have hung with Steven after the show. Steven had done some arranging for Cohen some years back. Steven says Cohen came down the hall toward his dressing room, recognized Steven and said,"Good gig". I don't know where I had wandered off to. The train passed and I was not on the platform. Now it's rolled off into the night, leaving us a little more lonely, empty, and cold.

Other reactions from Twitter

James McMurtry: Leonard Cohen's Closing Time

Save

Save

Save

Save

Save

Post a comment:

Your Name:

Your Email Address:

Comment:

2000 characters remaining

Captcha:

Web Design & Web Development by LVSYS