Sunday, July 19, 2009

Leonard Cohen - Cohen Says Enough

by Brent Warnken

Canadian singer Leonard Cohen has had enough of other artists covering his song "Hallelujah." Although Cohen admitted he was pleased when the track landed at numbers one and two on the U.K. singles chart last Christmas, with versions from X Factor winner Alexandra Burke and singer Jeff Buckley, he told Canadian Broadcasting Service that he feels there are too many versions of his song.

Said Cohen, "I was reading a review of a movie called Watchmen that uses it, and the reviewer said 'Can we please have a moratorium on 'Hallelujah' in movies and television shows?' and I kind of feel the same way. I think it's a good song, but too many people sing it."

Cohen also revealed that he felt vindicated because his record label nearly stopped him from releasing the song. "I was happy the song was being used, of course. There were certain ironic and amusing sidebars, because the record that it came from which was called Various Positions - [a] record Sony wouldn't put out (it was eventually released on indie label Passport). They didn't think it was good enough. It has songs like 'Dance Me To The End of Love,' 'Hallelujah,' 'If It Be Your Will.' So there was a mild sense of revenge in my heart," the singer explained.

By the time Leonard Cohen emerged as a singer in the 1960's, the Montreal native was well into his thirties and was already a critically acclaimed novelist and poet. Cohen released his debut album, Songs of Leonard Cohen, in 1967 and the now-classic album yielded hits like "Suzanne," "So Long, Marianne," "Sisters of Mercy" and "Hey, That's No Way to Say Goodbye."

Cohen's subsequent two albums, Songs From a Room (1969) and Songs of Love and Hate (1971) continued to cement his status as one of the most talented singer-songwriters of the late '60s and early '70s and he began to expand his musical horizons from pure folk to include traces of country, jazz and R&B on such albums as 1974's New Skin for the Old Cemetery.

It was in the mid-80s that Cohen released Various Positions (1984), the album the spawned one of his biggest hits, "Hallelujah," which has since been covered by Bono, Willie Nelson and countless others. Following the release of Various Positions, Cohen churned out two of his most lauded albums, I'm Your Man (1988), which drew on the AIDs crisis, and The Future (1992), in which he describes himself as "the little Jew who wrote the Bible" on one track, thus confronting his interest in Christian imagery, practice of Buddhist exercises and immersion in Judaism.

Cohen continued to release albums into the new millennium, such as 2001's Ten New Songs, 2004's Dear Heather and 2006's Blue Alert. In 2008 Cohen was inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame and that same year the musician, author and poet performed for a Canadian audience for the first time in some 15 years. Don't miss your chance to see him live, get your Leonard Cohen tickets online.

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