Nick Cave, John Cale, Donovan, Beck & more pay tribute to Leonard Cohen
The news yesterday of Leonard Cohen's death hit hard in what has been an especially bad week in an especially bad year. Tons of artists paid tribute to Cohen via social media, everyone from contemporaries like John Cale, Yusuf (Cat Stevens), Donovan, Judy Collins, Carole King and Elton John, to artists influenced by him like Nick Cave, Beck, Win Butler, Billy Bragg, and more.
Those are below, as is this heartfelt tribute from Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau on behalf of his country:
It is with deep sorrow that I learned today of the death of the legendary Leonard Cohen.
A most remarkable Montrealer, Leonard Cohen managed to reach the highest of artistic achievement, both as an acclaimed poet and a world-renowned singer-songwriter. He will be fondly remembered for his gruff vocals, his self-deprecating humour and the haunting lyrics that made his songs the perennial favourite of so many generations.
Leonard Cohen is as relevant today as he was in the 1960s. His ability to conjure the vast array of human emotion made him one of the most influential and enduring musicians ever. His style transcended the vagaries of fashion.
Leonard Cohen was made a Companion of the Order of Canada in 2003 and received many artistic honours during his lifetime, including being inducted into the Canadian Music Hall of Fame, the Canadian Songwriters Hall of Fame, and the American Rock and Roll Hall of Fame.
He received a Lifetime Achievement Grammy in 2010 and was awarded the Glenn Gould Prize for lifetime achievement in the arts in 2011. In 2013, with a career already spanning more than fifty years, he won Junos as Artist of the Year and Songwriter of the Year for his 2012 album Old Ideas. His music had withstood the test of time.
On behalf of all Canadians, Sophie and I wish to express our deepest sympathies to Leonard Cohen’s family, friends, colleagues and many, many fans.
Leonard, no other artist’s poetry and music felt or sounded quite like yours. We’ll miss you.
Robyn Hitchcock writes on The Talkhouse:
Leonard Cohen, like Bob Dylan, was a great Jewish sage, but one moved by love more than anger. His panoramic wisdom forgave, although it never turned a blind eye. The bleakness of human existence made him compassionate, not vengeful. And he made you cry.
Just before my gig in Atlanta last night, Emma Swift told me that Cohen had just died. I could certainly believe it, just as I could believe the Republican victory in the election, but I have yet to process or accept either.
I climbed onstage and shared the sad news with the already demoralized audience. At Amanda Palmer’s show, it was the audience who told her, apparently…
I opened my set with “Suzanne.”
Mr. Cohen, you were a romantic and a realist; you understood the way of tears, and you knew how to conjure them. For all this, for the company you kept with us by candlelight, and for the prism of serenity you gave us through which to see the world – thank you, Leonard.
Deerhunter co-frontman Bradford Cox writes to Pitchfork:
It is very difficult not to feel that we are headed for some sort of dark age, or rather, that we’ve arrived there and are only now realizing it. As we lose another artist whose work in the 20th century helped to shape not only how we view songwriting, but also how we view the world, there is a very clear sound of the hammer driving another nail into the coffin of authentic culture.
Leonard Cohen wrote what I believe to be the single greatest lyric I have ever heard:
“Even damnation is poisoned with rainbows.”
Read more of Bradford's eulogy HERE.