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Leonard Cohen Through the Years

This past Friday, Leonard Cohen died in his sleep in his Montreal home, just weeks after the release of his 14th and final studio album, You Want It Darker. Leonard recorded the songs with his son Adam; himself a distinguished songwriter, despite the severity of his cancer, and excruciating back pain. The final result is being praised by critics as some of his best work in a career spanning sixty years. To pay homage to the Canadian master, we’ve assembled some iconic pictures from his incredible life.

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Leonard’s yearbook photo from McGill, where he completed his undergraduate studies, and was captain of the debate team. 

 

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Leonard hard at work on his second novel, Beautiful Losers, in his house in Hydra, Greece, where he lived for six years.

 

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Leonard at a poetry reading in Montreal, after returning from Hydra, having lived there many years. 

 

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Leonard performing ‘Hey That’s No Way to Say Goodbye’, with Judy Collins, who encouraged Leonard to make his first album after he played ‘Suzanne’ for her: the opening song on his debut, Songs of Leonard Cohen.

 

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Leonard performing for the IDF in Israel during the Yom Kippur War

 

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Leonard pausing from meditation at Mt. Baldy Zen Center to play with a dog. Leonard spent six years at the Monastery studying under guru, Sasaki Roshi, and was later ordained a Zen Monk. 

 

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After leaving Mt. Baldy, Cohen discovered his manager had stolen virtually all of his money. To rectify his situation, he embarked on a four-year tour, performing his first ever stadium shows, in his mid-70’s. 

 

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Leonard posing after being inducted to the Rock n Roll Hall of Fame in 2008, where he recited lines from ‘Tower of Song’, for his acceptance speech. 

 

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Leonard Cohen expressing gratitude for his family in one of his last interviews.

 

Leonard Cohen was one of the largest looming figures in popular music from the sixties to present day. Countless prominent musicians have brought his obscure and lyrically ambitious music to the mainstream, rendering him one of the most frequently covered artists of all time. He was perhaps best known to the world as the creator of ‘Hallelujah’, a song that was overlooked upon its release, but has gone on to assume an almost traditional status. Throughout his career, Cohen explored love, personal defeat, shame, God, and death – all with his signature wit that makes the grotesque seem bearable, and the divine seem approachable. Needless to say, he will be missed. 

 

Featured image courtesy of Mojo