I was shocked on Thursday when I heard that Leonard Cohen had died, at 82. Sure, I had read a recent interview where he said “I am ready to die. I hope it’s not too uncomfortable. That’s about it for me.” I knew that he suffered severe back pain and was unable to get around much anymore. However, he just released his newest album, You Want It Darker. So it was hard to believe that this wonderfully talented man was gone.
Wind the clock back to the 70’s. My good friends and I are in high school and then university/college/working. You could have found us babysitting at least one night of the weekend, at one particular home. The parents who employed us were young and cool; they were fine with us having friends visit while we babysat. They had Songs of Leonard Cohen and we played it over and over again. In fact, that’s the only album I remember us playing.
Leonard Cohen’s music has been a constant companion since that introduction, more than 40 years ago. I have other favourite artists – Elton John, Stones, Michael Jackson, Dixie Chicks and Elvis, to mention a few. The difference for me is that I need to be in a certain mood to play their music. I don’t always want rock or twang or oldies. But, I can always listen to Leonard Cohen. Sometimes I focus on the lyrics; other times the music’s just there, in the background. Constant and reliable, soothing.
In concert, Leonard Cohen was funny, humble and tireless. I’ve seen him twice recently and he and his intimate band played over three hours. No flash, no fireworks or fancy clothes, just stories and wonderful music.
It’s sad to think that this era has ended. Thank you Leonard, for the gift of your music. You will be missed.
Music, podcasts, books – all great options in the background while I’m sewing or running. I grew up surrounded by music, mostly classical. My parents both played the piano and my dad loved listening to opera. I tried the piano, several times, and even got my Royal Conservatory of Music Grade 7 certificate, but I was just never comfortable playing in front of people. I was definitely not a natural! When we moved from Ontario to British Columbia in 2007 I donated our piano to the Conservatory to be used as a practice instrument.
In spite of, or maybe because of, my lack of musical skill, I love listening to all kinds of music. I have several playlists on my MacBook and I’m constantly updating my library with iTunes purchases. My choices include: gospel, country, oldies, movie tunes, rock and classical. Some of my current faves are: Nathaniel Rateliff and The Night Sweats, The National, Taylor Swift and Ed Sheeran. On the iPod are custom playlists with tempos for LSD – (Long, Slow, Distance) – runs and for faster runs. Truckin‘ by The Grateful Dead and Bat Out Of Hell by Meatloaf can really help the legs turn over faster, as can Lose Yourself my Eminem. Nothing like a little angry rap music to speed things up!
So, here’s one of those questions that I both love and hate. (love because it makes me stop and think, but hate because it’s so hard) If you could choose only 10 songs to listen to, what would they be? Here’s my list, in no particular order:
- Hallelujah by Leonard Cohen
- Don’t Give Up by Peter Gabriel
- We Shall Overcome by Pete Seeger
- Lose Yourself by Eminem
- You Can’t Always Get What You Want by The Rolling Stones
- Sacrifice by Elton John
- Free Fallin’ by Tom Petty and The Heartbreakers
- This Love by Taylor Swift
- Will You Be There by Michael Jackson
- Messiah by Handel
Like I said, my choices are mixed! What would you have on your top ten list? Care/dare to share?
Thanks for reading.