Leonard Cohen started out as a novelist and poet in the early 60s, having graduated from McGill and Columbia Universities in English Literature. He gained recognition as a singer-songwriter with his remarkable debut album in 1967, which clearly set out his trademark style of gentle, touching, sometimes chilling, folk-style acoustic songs, sung in his distinctive, deep, almost-spoken voice. His lyrics often deal with subjects such as sex, love, religion, and depression. He released albums of a consistently high standard, often with intervals of around four or five years, until 1994 when he vanished from the public eye, retreating to the Mount Baldy Zen Centre in California, where he would seclude himself for five years. He has since returned to the studio in the new millennium (rumoured for him to be able to pay an outstanding tax bill), and has performed some memorable shows to increasingly appreciative audiences, including an appearance on the renowned Pyramid Stage at the 2008 Glastonbury Festival. He is undoubtedly one of Canada’s finest and most influential songwriters of all-time, and his music continues to touch and inspire both fans and artists alike all over the world.
Followers: Jeff Buckley, Suzanne Vega, Nick Cave, David Ford, Echo And The Bunnymen, Will Oldham, Richard Hawley, Antony And The Johnsons, Lou Reed, Patti Smith
Influenced By: Bob Dylan, Nico, Buddy Holly...