Leonard Cohen (b. 21st September 1934 in Montréal, Quebec) is a Canadian poet, novelist and musician. His musical career has largely overshadowed his prior work as a poet and novelist, although he continued to publish poetry sporadically after his breakthrough in the music industry.
In 1967, Cohen moved to the United States to pursue a career as a folk music singer-songwriter. During the 1960s, he was a fringe figure in Andy Warhol’s “Factory” crowd. Warhol speculated that Cohen had spent time listening to Nico in clubs and that this had influenced his musical style.
His song “Suzanne” became a hit for Judy Collins and was for many years his most covered song. After performing at a few folk festivals, he came to the attention of Columbia Records representative John H. Hammond who signed Cohen to a record deal.
Musically, Cohen’s early songs are based in folk music, in terms of both melody and instrumentation; from the 1970s, though, his work begins to show the influence of various types of popular and cabaret music. Since the 1980s he has typically sung in a deep bass register, accompanied by synthesisers and female backing vocals.
Cohen’s music has greatly influenced other singer-songwriters, and more than a thousand cover versions of his works have been recorded. He is also popular in his native land, having been inducted into the Canadian Music Hall of Fame and awarded the Order of Canada, the nation’s highest civilian honour.
Leonard Cohen – A Thousand Kisses Deep (Audio)