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1967: Embarks on a new phase of his career by releasing his first album as a singer-songwriter, "Songs of Leonard Cohen".

"It is with profound sorrow we report that legendary poet, songwriter and artist, Leonard Cohen has passed away", the statement said. Throughout it all, Cohen was constructing songs that were filled with themes and lyrics unlike any most of us had heard: "Seems So Long Ago, Nancy" with its "It seems so long ago / Nancy was alone / A 45 beside her head / An open telephone"; his unforgettable "Avalanche", later covered by Nick Cave: "When I am on a pedestal, you did not raise me there".

The grandfather later qualified his comments in another interview, saying: "I think I was exaggerating".

Earlier this year, our own Steven Hyden asked listeners not to send Cohen off to his grave too soon, even if the elderly songwriter had made it clear he was ready to go. The latter featured Bird on the Wire, one of his most iconic songs.

Cohen was laid to rest beside his parents, grandparents and great-grandparents after a service conducted by the Congregation Shaar Hashomayim in Westmount, Que., where he had maintained "a lifelong spiritual, musical, and familial connection to the synagogue of his youth", Rabbi Adam Scheier and Cantor Gideon Zelermyer said in a statement.

After moving to New York City in the '60s, he got swept up in the folk music scene and his new career path began.

Reaction to Cohen's death was swift online. Bette Midler said on Twitter

He published his own book of poetry, Let Us Compare Mythologies, to critical acclaim, in 1956, while still at university. While he never won a Grammy, Cohen received numerous other honors, including being named a companion of the Order of Canada in 1991, his native country's highest civilian honor. "Yet his work resonated across generations". After a successful string of tours between 2008 and 2010, Cohen released three albums in the final four years of his life: Old Ideas (2012), Popular Problems (2014) and You Want It Darker (2016), the last of which was released three weeks before his death.

Me: Leonard, it's my birthday today and I'm having a few friends around.

One for scorned lovers, this song is a letter to a man who supposedly had an affair with Cohen's lover. I couldn't tell so I learned to touch. Cohen was well known for his wandering ways, and his most stable relationships were with backing singers Laura Branigan, Sharon Robinson, Anjani Thomas, and, most notably, Jennifer Warnes, who he wrote with and produced. He wrote a song called "Suzanne" that appeared on Collins' album.

"When people talk about Leonard, they fail to mention his melodies, which to me, along with his lyrics, are his greatest genius", Dylan said. Over the next five years, the singer would perform 387 shows to packed houses across the states. For part of the 1990s, Cohen lived in a Zen Buddhist monastery in the San Gabriel Mountains just outside Los Angeles, where he handled tasks as menial as cleaning toilets.

"I have to finish it to know whether it deserves to survive in the song".


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