The definitive biography of one of the most emigmatic, beloved, and celebrated artists of our time. Leonard Cohen's extensive and successful recent worldwide tour has demonstrated that his popularity across generations and borders has never been greater. Cohen's life is one of singular mystique. This major in-depth biography is the book Cohen's fans have been waiting for. Acclaimed writer/journalist Sylvie Simmons has interviewed more than 100 figures from Cohen's life and work, including his main muses; the women in his life -- from Suzanne and Marianne to Rebecca de Mornay and Anjani Thomas; artists such as Rufus Wainwright, Nick Cave, David Crosby, Judy Collins, and Philip Glass; his record producers; his closest friends, from childhood to adulthood; and many of the spiritual figures who have influenced his life. Cohen, notoriously private, has granted interviews himself. Thoroughly researched and thoughtful, penetrating and lively, fascinating and revealing of stories and facts never read before, I'm Your Man offers new perspectives on Cohen and his life. It will be one of the most talked-about books of the season, and for years to come. From the Hardcover edition.
Author: Sylvie Simmons
Publisher: Random House
Release Date: 2012-11-01
Genre: Biography & Autobiography
WITH A NEW AFTERWORD BY THE AUTHOR The definitive biography of the late Leonard Cohen - singer-songwriter, musician, poet, and novelist. The genius behind such classic songs as Suzanne, So Long, Marianne, Bird on the Wire and Hallelujah, Leonard Cohen has been one of the most important and influential songwriters of our time, a man of spirituality, emotion, and intelligence whose work has explored the definitive issues of human life - sex, religion, power, meaning, love. I'm Your Man explores the facets of Cohen's life. Renowned music journalist Sylvie Simmons draws on Cohen's private archives and a wealth of interviews with many of his closest associates, colleagues, and other artists whose work he has inspired. Containing exclusive material and interviews, this is the biography to buy on Leonard Cohen.
In “Pussy,” the girl singer of the eponymous band cracks up after her lover and the band’s creative center dies. When her manager tracks her down she is living anonymously in an East Village tenement, rarely going outdoors, and hoarding her own discarded hair, dead skin and other physical castoffs. In “Greetings from Finsbury Park,” a British rock star comes home from L.A. only to find that the customs agent going through his suitcase is an embittered ex-schoolmate whose wife once slept with the star before he was famous. In “A Happy Ending,” a deeply shell-shocked ex-superstar (think Brian Wilson) struggles to keep the voices in his head quiet during a meeting with a hot new producer for a comeback album the A&R boss envisions as an unholy alliance of Neil Young and Public Enemy. “Love Stain” charts the emergence of devotional offerings, cottage industries, and a pecking order of proximity to the spot where an up and coming young rocker dropped dead on speedballs outside a London club—and his best friend chats up a rock journalist about the tragedy and the conspiracy to murder his friend, all while trying to get her to cover his own band. In “Rhinestone Tombstone Blues,” country music singer-songwriter LeeAnn Starmountain copes with the disappearance of her inspiration—the violent fantasies of her abusive mother’s death, which she can no longer indulge in after her mother actually perishes, cooked to death by her electric blanket after a stroke. In “Close to You,” a cult devoted to Karen Carpenter springs up after the singer’s image appears in the paint on the wall of a London kebab shop. In “From a Great Height,” controversy erupts when the frontman of America’s biggest rock band urinates off his hotel balcony, soaking a crowd of adoring fans. In “And Alien Tears,” a California limo driver with a gift for Jim Morrison impersonation becomes a star in his own right in Germany, hosting a talk show as “Jim.” The hottest band of cock-rockers in America finds their tour going off the rails in “Allergic to Kansas” when the misogynist lead singer starts growing breasts. In “Diet Cola Cancer” Pussy, the lead character in the first story, returns—post-breakdown, and racking up the younger boyfriends—and even gets sued when one of said boyfriends commits an indiscretion at an LA rock club, and Pussy douses the paramour in “carcinogenic” Diet Coke. In “I Kissed Willie Nelson’s Nipple,” LeeAnn visits England on command performance for the Queen, and tells the story of her many marriages, the “greatest hits” of her abusive relationships, and the self-explanatory Willie Nelson film role that put her career back on track. In “Spitting Image (The ‘80s Retro Track),” the famous British television show (they made the puppets for Genesis’s famous “Land of Confusion” video) agrees to sell one of their puppets to the star it comically represents—but when the puppet is “kidnapped” on the way to its new home, and someone sends the star the puppet piece by violently detached piece, he finds himself cracking up. In “Too Weird for Ziggy (A Dream of Holes),” a famous rock god is dead, and MTV isn’t content to let him rest. So in an unprecedented live television séance at the palatial home of one of LA’s most overcompensated rock managers, they hire a voodoo practitioner to raise him from the dead, on live television. In “Jeremiah 18:1-10” the band from “From a Great Height” returns and now the drummer has a stalker, who claims God has commanded her to become his wife. The trouble is, she seems so innocent and naïve, no one takes her seriously until the drummer’s stripper fiancée suddenly turns up dead. In “The Audience Isn’t Listening,” the bass player and guitarist from the same band cope with the rumor that the megalomaniacal singer is planning to dissolve the band and keep the name—while the guitarist’s wife has secret designs of her own on the singer. In “Baudelaire’s Dog” the cracked-up Brian Wilson type from “Happy Ending” is back with the album in the can and a press conference to get through—but he is having a hard time keeping quiet about his constant visions of the brother he secretly murdered during his years of madness. In “Autograph,” Spike, the rockstar from “Finsbury Park” and Pussy’s second new boyfriend in “Diet Cola,” has a new problem to contend with: the ex-girlfriend he dumped as soon as his band got big. She’s a nurse with ready access to narcotics, and when he goes home for his mother’s funeral she gets a junkie to help her kidnap him, and gives him her autograph—with a tattoo gun, on his privates. Unfortunately, her name is Minerva (Mini) Smallwood. Finally, in “Patron Saint of Amputees,” Pussy returns, waking up in the bed of a much-younger MTV VJ the morning after the séance/party, to drag herself to a meeting with her record company about making a comeback album. Only they have news for her. It’s Pussy (her plus her ex-backing band) or nothhhhhing and Taylor, the supposedly dead ex-love-of-her-life? Alive and well. She’s not sticking around to find out more—she bolts and asks her limo driver (recognizable as the ex-Jim Morrison impersonator) to take her “the fuck out.”
One of the best-known experimental novels of the 1960s, Beautiful Losers is Leonard Cohen’ s most defiant and uninhibited work. As imagined by Cohen, hell is an apartment in Montreal, where a bereaved and lust-tormented narrator reconstructs his relations with the dead. In that hell two men and a woman twine impossibly and betray one another again and again. Memory blurs into blasphemous sexual fantasy--and redemption takes the form of an Iroquois saint and virgin who has been dead for 300 years but still has the power to save even the most degraded of her suitors. First published in 1966, Beautiful Losers demonstrates that its author is not only a superb songwriter but also a novelist of visionary power. Funny, harrowing, and fiercely moving, it is a classic erotic tragedy, incandescent in its prose and exhilarating for its risky union of sexuality and faith.
Author: Jeff Burger
Publisher: Chicago Review Press
Release Date: 2014-04-01
“A treasure trove for Leonard Cohen fans—the dazzling, wide-ranging collection of interviews that Jeff Burger has unearthed not only offers the songwriter’s story in his own words but reveals that Cohen’s language in conversation can be every bit as magnificent as his lyrics.” —Alan Light, author of The Holy or the Broken This book collects more than fifty interviews with Leonard Cohen, one of the most admired performers of the last half century, conducted worldwide between 1966 and 2012, and also includes a foreword by singer Suzanne Vega and eight pages of rarely seen photos. In it, the artist talks about “Bird on the Wire,” “Hallelujah,” “Famous Blue Raincoat,” and his other classic songs. He candidly discusses his famous romances, his years in a Zen monastery, his ill-fated collaboration with producer Phil Spector, and his long battle with depression. He also comments on his sometimes controversial poetry and novels, the financial crisis that nearly wiped out his savings, and his remarkable late-career resurgence. Here you’ll find interviews that first appeared in the New York Times and Rolling Stone, but also conversations that have not previously been printed in English, as well as many illuminating reminiscences that contributors supplied specifically for this definitive anthology. Jeff Burger is the editor of Springsteen on Springsteen. He has contributed to Barron’s, Family Circle, GQ, the Los Angeles Times, Reader’s Digest, and more than seventy-five other magazines, newspapers, and books. He lives in Ridgewood, New Jersey.
In 1966, Neil Young drove a battered funeral car two thousand miles from his native Toronto to Los Angeles to seek his fortune in the music business. Nearly forty years of continuous writing and performing later, he is firmly established as one of the most influential and idiosyncratic singer-songwriters of his generation. His restless and innovative spirit ensures that he is one of the few rock veterans as vital in his old age as he was in his youth. Simmons provides fresh insights into Young's life so far. She also uncovers new facts about his friendship with Charles Manson, and closely examines his schizophrenic eighties output and musical return to form as the "Godfather of Grunge" in the nineties.
Author: Leonard Cohen
Publisher: Farrar, Straus and Giroux
Release Date: 2018-10-02
Genre: Literary Collections
“There are very, very few people who occupy the ground that Leonard Cohen walks on.” —BONO The Flame is the final work from Leonard Cohen, the revered poet and musician whose fans span generations and whose work is celebrated throughout the world. Featuring poems, excerpts from his private notebooks, lyrics, and hand-drawn self-portraits, The Flame offers an unprecedentedly intimate look inside the life and mind of a singular artist. A reckoning with a life lived deeply and passionately, with wit and panache, The Flame is a valedictory work. “This volume contains my father’s final efforts as a poet,” writes Cohen’s son, Adam Cohen, in his foreword. “It was what he was staying alive to do, his sole breathing purpose at the end.” Leonard Cohen died in late 2016. But “each page of paper that he blackened,” in the words of his son, “was lasting evidence of a burning soul.”
Author: Leonard Cohen
Publisher: McClelland & Stewart
Release Date: 2008-11-19
Leonard Cohen is one of the great writers, performers, and most consistently daring artists of our time. Book of Longing is Cohen’s eagerly awaited new collection of poems, following his highly acclaimed 1984 title, Book of Mercy, and his hugely successful 1993 publication, Stranger Music, a Globe and Mail national bestseller. Book of Longing contains erotic, playful, and provocative line drawings and artwork on every page, by the author, which interact in exciting and unexpected ways on the page with poetry that is timeless, meditative, and at times darkly humorous. The book brings together all the elements that have brought Leonard Cohen’s artistry with language worldwide recognition. From the Hardcover edition.
In this, the first English biography to capture Gainsbourg in all his contradiction and gleeful outrageousness, Simmons tells the fascinating story of the Gallic star. Drawing on hours of new interviews with his intimates-among them Jane Birkin, Sly & Robbie, Marianne Faithfull, and celebrated producer Philippe Lerichomme-Simmons describes in crackling prose the scope of Gainsbourg's achievement while doing full justice to his complicated emotional life. Simmons's work will stand as the definitive take on a dizzying genius.
Author: Liel Leibovitz
Publisher: W. W. Norton & Company
Release Date: 2014-04-14
Brings to life a passionate poet-turned-musician and what compels him and his work. Why is it that Leonard Cohen receives the sort of reverence we reserve for a precious few living artists? Why are his songs, three or four decades after their original release, suddenly gracing the charts, blockbuster movie sound tracks, and television singing competitions? And why is it that while most of his contemporaries are either long dead or engaged in uninspired nostalgia tours, Cohen is at the peak of his powers and popularity? These are the questions at the heart of A Broken Hallelujah, a meditation on the singer, his music, and the ideas and beliefs at its core. Granted extraordinary access to Cohen’s personal papers, Liel Leibovitz examines the intricacies of the man whose performing career began with a crippling bout of stage fright, yet who, only a few years later, tamed a rowdy crowd on the Isle of Wight, preventing further violence; the artist who had gone from a successful world tour and a movie star girlfriend to a long residency in a remote Zen retreat; and the rare spiritual seeker for whom the principles of traditional Judaism, the tenets of Zen Buddhism, and the iconography of Christianity all align. The portrait that emerges is that of an artist attuned to notions of justice, lust, longing, loneliness, and redemption, and possessing the sort of voice and vision commonly reserved only for the prophets. More than just an account of Cohen’s life, A Broken Hallelujah is an intimate look at the artist that is as emotionally astute as it is philosophically observant. Delving into the sources and meaning of Cohen’s work, Leibovitz beautifully illuminates what Cohen is telling us and why we listen so intensely.
Author: Harvey Kubernik
Publisher: Omnibus Press
Release Date: 2017-11-07
The death of Leonard Cohen in 2016 struck the world a hard blow; he was a fruitful, thoughtful and tragic talent, with his critically-acclaimed You Want it Darker entering the world only three weeks before his death. Cohen's work is now finished and represents and oeuvre of near unparalleled majesty. Everybody Knows is a detailed examination of the journey that Leonard Cohen wove, from his beginnings as a novelist and poet, his critically acclaimed ‘cult-classic’ albums of the sixties through to his triumphant tours of the new millennium. Every stage of Cohen's remarkable life up until his 80th birthday in September 2014 is expertly analysed, including thoughts, memories and comments from those who have worked with him and from the open-hearted many who have been inspired by his art. This Omnibus Enhanced edition includes a Digital Timeline of his life, allowing you to experience his music, live performances and memorabilia through audio, video and imagery.
Author: Ira B. Nadel
Publisher: Vintage Canada
Release Date: 2010-10-29
Genre: Biography & Autobiography
Reissued with a new afterword Leonard Cohen is back! With a #1 bestselling poetry collection, The Book of Longing, flying off bookshelves; Lian Lunson’s acclaimed documentary, Leonard Cohen: I’m Your Man, in theatres this summer (the DVD will release this fall); and the superb soundtrack in music stores everywhere, Leonard Cohen proves he is Canada’s most enduring icon. Now, in the newly reissued Various Positions, Ira Nadel peels back the many layers to reveal the man and explain the fascinating relationship between Leonard Cohen’s life and his art. This book is a remarkable and rare look at Leonard Cohen, up close and personal. For nearly forty years, Leonard Cohen has endured the ups and downs of an international career that has alternately identified him as the "Prince of Bummers" and Canada's most respected poet and performer. Now, author Ira Nadel brings us closer to understanding these conflicting descriptions and allows us to enter Cohen's private world. He peels back the many layers to reveal the man and explain the fascinating relationship between Cohen's life and his art. This is a remarkable and rare look at Leonard Cohen, up close and personal. From the Trade Paperback edition.
In this unforgettable novel, Leonard Cohen boldly etches the youth and early manhood of Lawrence Breavman, only son of an old Jewish family in Montreal. Life for Breavman is made up of dazzling colour – a series of motion pictures fed through a high-speed projector: the half-understood death of his father; the adult games of love and war, with their infinite capacity for fantasy and cruelty; his secret experiments with hypnotism; the night-long adventures with Krantz, his beloved comrade and confidant. Later, achieving literary fame as a college student, Breavman does penance through manual labour, but ultimately flees to New York. And although he has loved the bodies of many women, it is only when he meets Shell, whom he awakens to her own beauty, that he discovers the totality of love and its demands, and comes to terms with the sacrifices he must make.
"Lands of Lost Borders carried me up into a state of openness and excitement I haven’t felt for years. It’s a modern classic." —Pico Iyer A brilliant, fierce writer makes her debut with this enthralling travelogue and memoir of her journey by bicycle along the Silk Road—an illuminating and thought-provoking fusion of The Places in Between, Lab Girl, and Wild that dares us to challenge the limits we place on ourselves and the natural world. As a teenager, Kate Harris realized that the career she craved—to be an explorer, equal parts swashbuckler and metaphysician—had gone extinct. From what she could tell of the world from small-town Ontario, the likes of Marco Polo and Magellan had mapped the whole earth; there was nothing left to be discovered. Looking beyond this planet, she decided to become a scientist and go to Mars. In between studying at Oxford and MIT, Harris set off by bicycle down the fabled Silk Road with her childhood friend Mel. Pedaling mile upon mile in some of the remotest places on earth, she realized that an explorer, in any day and age, is the kind of person who refuses to live between the lines. Forget charting maps, naming peaks: what she yearned for was the feeling of soaring completely out of bounds. The farther she traveled, the closer she came to a world as wild as she felt within. Lands of Lost Borders is the chronicle of Harris’s odyssey and an exploration of the importance of breaking the boundaries we set ourselves; an examination of the stories borders tell, and the restrictions they place on nature and humanity; and a meditation on the existential need to explore—the essential longing to discover what in the universe we are doing here. Like Rebecca Solnit and Pico Iyer, Kate Harris offers a travel account at once exuberant and reflective, wry and rapturous. Lands of Lost Borders explores the nature of limits and the wildness of the self that can never fully be mapped. Weaving adventure and philosophy with the history of science and exploration, Lands of Lost Borders celebrates our connection as humans to the natural world, and ultimately to each other—a belonging that transcends any fences or stories that may divide us.
Author: Steven Hyden
Release Date: 2018-05-08
“A wise meditation on why classic rock stars keep trucking, both on the road and in our dreams. Every page is an irresistible argument starter.”—Rob Sheffield, Rolling Stone The author of the critically acclaimed Your Favorite Band is Killing Me offers an eye-opening exploration of the state of classic rock, its past and future, the impact it has had, and what its loss would mean to an industry, a culture, and a way of life. Since the late 1960s, a legendary cadre of artists—including the Rolling Stones, Bob Dylan, Neil Young, Bruce Springsteen, Fleetwood Mac, the Eagles, Black Sabbath, and the Who—has revolutionized popular culture and the sounds of our lives. While their songs still get airtime and some of these bands continue to tour, its idols are leaving the stage permanently. Can classic rock remain relevant as these legends die off, or will this major musical subculture fade away as many have before, Steven Hyden asks. In this mix of personal memoir, criticism, and journalism, Hyden stands witness as classic rock reaches the precipice. Traveling to the eclectic places where geriatric rockers are still making music, he talks to the artists and fans who have aged with them, explores the ways that classic rock has changed the culture, investigates the rise and fall of classic rock radio, and turns to live bootlegs, tell-all rock biographies, and even the liner notes of rock’s greatest masterpieces to tell the story of what this music meant, and how it will be remembered, for fans like himself. Twilight of the Gods is also Hyden’s story. Celebrating his love of this incredible music that has taken him from adolescence to fatherhood, he ponders two essential questions: Is it time to give up on his childhood heroes, or can this music teach him about growing old with his hopes and dreams intact? And what can we all learn from rock gods and their music—are they ephemeral or eternal?