Cohen's Loss is the World's Gain

It's the tour those of us younger Leonard Cohen fans -- the ones who discovered his music through the Natural Born Killers soundtrack, covers of "Hallelujah," or when we walked into a tiny used CD store in Gainesville and heard "Take This Waltz" playing -- never thought would happen.

After gaining fame and respect in the literary world, Cohen began his singing career in the late 1960s, issuing the most brilliantly erudite, sad-sack folk stuff ever penned. Then, with 1988's I'm Your Man album, he introduced humor to his work -- while still exploring sex and spirituality better than any of his peers. Cohen's masterful 1992 album The Future teemed with darkness but, again, cynical smiles and wonderful romanticism are there as well. Having released about a dozen, mostly acclaimed, studio records and a couple terrific live albums, Cohen called it quits -- to live as a monk. But, then, like in a bad movie twist, a former business manager stole his money, forcing Cohen back on the road. Sounds like a perfect situation for the angry artist to drag his ass through the motions just to bank some much needed retirement cash. Judging by the CD/DVD Live in London, though, culled from a show last year, Cohen's craggy croon sounds delightfully expressive, as does his illustrious band and sultry backup singers.

It has been said before but it's worth repeating, Cohen's loss has become the world's gain. In honor of popular music's supreme poet performing Saturday in Sunrise, here's a highly subjective list of his finest songs.
Sat., Oct. 17, 8 p.m., 2009

 
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