“It is with profound sorrow we report that legendary poet, songwriter and artist, Leonard Cohen has passed away,” a statement from Cohen’s record label reads. “We have lost one of music’s most revered and prolific visionaries.”
Emerging from the late sixties singer/songwriter scene that gave us Bob Dylan and Joni Mitchel, Cohen came to public prominence by performing a duet with Judy Collins in 1976 on her television variety show. But his greatest success came with the classic song “Hallelujah.” Originally released on the 1984 album Various Positions, the song found widespread acclaim after a cover version by John Cale inspired another recording by Jeff Buckley. “Hallelujah” is said to have been covered by more than 200 musicians around the world. It is even the subject of a book, The Holy or the Broken: Leonard Cohen, Jeff Buckley & the Unlikely Ascent of “Hallelujah” by Alan Light and was used awkwardly in the soundtrack to Zack Snyder’s blockbuster comic book movie, Watchmen.
After nearly 50 years in the music business, at the age of 82, Cohen continued his creative output. Just weeks ago he released You Want it Darker. Considered by many reviewers to be a carefully constructed last testament, concluding a lifetime of artistic work, Cohen’s final album debuted at number ten on the Billboard charts. Douglas Heselgrave of Paste Magazine called You Want it Darker “the best music he has created since Various Positions.”