Leonard Cohen – Dear Heather
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Leonard Norman Cohen, CC GOQ (born 21 September 1934) is a Canadian singer, songwriter, musician, painter, poet, and novelist. His work has explored religion, politics, isolation, sexuality, and personal relationships.
Cohen has been inducted into both the Canadian Music Hall of Fame and the Canadian Songwriters Hall of Fame as well as the American Rock and Roll Hall of Fame. He is also a Companion of the Order of Canada, the nation’s highest civilian honor. In 2011, Cohen received a Princess of Asturias Awards for literature.
The critic Bruce Eder assessed Cohen’s overall career in popular music by asserting that “[he is] one of the most fascinating and enigmatic … singer/songwriters of the late ’60s … [and] has retained an audience across four decades of music-making….
Second only to Bob Dylan (and perhaps Paul Simon) [in terms of influence], he commands the attention of critics and younger musicians more firmly than any other musical figure from the 1960s who is still working at the outset of the 21st century.”
One of his notable novels, Beautiful Losers (1966) received attention from the Canadian press and was considered controversial because of a number of sexually graphic passages.
The Academy of American Poets has commented more broadly on Cohen’s overall career in the arts, including his work as a poet, novelist, and songwriter, stating that “Cohen’s successful blending of poetry, fiction, and music is made most clear in Stranger Music: Selected Poems and Songs, published in 1993, which gathered more than 200 of Cohen’s poems … several novel excerpts, and almost 60 song lyrics…
While it may seem to some that Leonard Cohen departed from the literary in pursuit of the musical, his fans continue to embrace him as a Renaissance man who straddles the elusive artistic borderlines.”
Cohen’s first album was Songs of Leonard Cohen (1967) followed by Songs from a Room (1969) (featuring the often-recorded “Bird on the Wire”) and Songs of Love and Hate (1971).
His 1977 record Death of a Ladies’ Man was co-written and produced by Phil Spector, which was a move away from Cohen’s previous minimalist sound. In 1979 Cohen returned with the more traditional Recent Songs, which blended his acoustic style with jazz and Oriental and Mediterranean influences.
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