A multimedia perspective on the Canadian poet/songwriter.
Created by hannahclassen on Mar 14, 2011
Last updated: 04/04/11 at 01:06 PM
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Cohen is awarded a lifetime achievement prize at the 2010 Grammy Awards. The lifetime achievement award celebrates performers for their valuable artistic contributions to the recording industry.
Leonard Cohen is inducted into the Songwriters Hall of Fame, an arm of the National Academy of Popular Music in the U.S.
Cohen's world tour stretches well into 2010. The final concert takes place on December 11. It is his 246th show since setting out in 2008.
Leonard Cohen: Everybody Knows is a musical tribute to Leonard Cohen. Renowned Canadian and international acts are featured, including Garou, Zachary Richard, Lhasa de Sela, Serena Ryder, Steven Page and Adam Cohen.
Cohen is awarded the highest civilian honour given to citizens of Quebec.
Cohen is inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame. "This is a very unlikely occasion for me," said Cohen, in his acceptance speech. "It is not a distinction that I coveted or even dared dream about."
Cohen embarks on his first tour in 15 years, starting in Fredericton, New Brunswick. The tour would prove to be a true marathon, stretching through Europe, Australia, New Zealand and Israel.
Cohen releases his first new collection of poetry since 1984's "Book of Mercy." The intensely personal collection of poems and free-form musings on life was largely written during his time at a Zen monastery in California. It is the first Canadian poetry volume to become a national bestseller.
Five of Cohen's songs are inducted into the Canadian Songwriters Hall of Fame. The songs are "Ain't No Cure For Love," "Bird on the Wire," "Everybody Knows" (co-written with Sharon Robinson), "Suzanne" and "Hallelujah."
Cohen alleges that his long-term manager Kelley Lynch had mismanaged his retirement savings. In 2004, Cohen fired Lynch, his one-time lover and manager of 17 years, after discovering his retirement savings had been reduced to US$150,000 from more than $5 million. Cohen wins a civil suit against Lynch and is awarded $9 million. Lynch ignores the suit and any attempts to claim her financial records. It is widely speculated that Cohen will never be able to collect his winnings.
This album marks a further departure from Ten New Songs, with an increased emphasis on poetry, rather than singing, and a female voice taking the lead on many of the songs.
Cohen is awarded Canada's highest civilian honour.
Cohen's tenth studio album, Ten New Songs, was co-written and produced by American songwriter Sharon Robinson.
Cohen is ordained as a Rinzai Zen Buddhist monk. He takes the name "Jikan," which means "silence."
Cohen begins 10 years of seclusion at the Mount Baldy Zen Center in California. He has been visiting head abbot Kyozan Joshu Sasaki regularly since the 1970s.
A wide-ranging collection of Cohen's work, including song lyrics and poetry.
In the 1990s, Cohen enjoys a resurgence in popularity in North America. In 1991, he is inducted into the Juno Hall of Fame for his contribution towards "the greater international recognition of Canadian artists and music." In 1993, Cohen receives the Juno for male vocalist of the year, following the success of his 11th record The Future. Upon accepting the award he quips that only in a country like Canada could he get the male vocalist of the year.
Cohen also receives the Governor General's Performing Arts Award in 1993.
With The Future, Cohen releases an album that is noted for both its breadth and it's accessibility. It contains the hits "Closing Time," "Waiting for a Miracle" and "Democracy," among others.
Cohen continues to move towards a more modern sound with increased use of synthesizers. This album includes the hit songs "First We Take Manhattan," "Ain't No Cure for Love" and "Everybody Knows," among others.
Cohen plays the character Francois Zolan in this episode of Miami Vice. It's rumoured that this unexpected appearance was to treat his children, who were fans of the show.
Cohen co-writes a musical with composer Lewis Furey. It becomes a cult hit in Montreal.
This album marked Cohen's entry into more electric music. Long-time Cohen collaborator Jennifer Warnes plays a strong role, and is given equal credit with Cohen as a vocalist on all tracks.
This collection wins the Canadian Author's Association Award for poetry. It contains 50 pieces of poetic prose, influenced by a variety of religious ideas.
With this album, Cohen returns to his folk roots.
This is Cohen's fifth studio album, a collaboration with Phil Spector. This is Cohen at his most experimental.
Cohen releases his fourth studio album. Again, it is much more successful in Europe than in North America. This album has a much fuller sound than his previous recordings, and contains the song "Who By Fire?"
Cohen's sixth collection of poetry.
Cohen releases his third album, containing the hit song "Famous Blue Raincoat."
Cohen releases his second album, which includes the hit song "Bird on a Wire." The album reaches #63 on the Billboard list and #2 on UK charts. That song would also be the inspiration for a 1972 film of Cohen's European tour. Cohen was unhappy with the film, and it wasn't released widely until 2010.
Cohen is awarded the Governor General's Literary Award for this collection. He declines the honour.
Cohen releases his first album, Songs of Leonard Cohen. It introduces audiences in Canada and around the world to such classic songs as “Suzanne,” “Sisters of Mercy,” “So Long, Marianne” and (the song presented here) "The Stranger Song." The album also set the tone for Cohen's musical career; it was much more successful in Europe than in the United States.
Cohen moves to the United States to pursue a musical career.
Leonard Cohen's second novel, Beautiful Losers, is described on its dust jacket as "a disagreeable religious epic of incomparable beauty." It would become one of the most radical and extraordinary works of fiction ever published in Canada. Upon the publication of Beautiful Losers, The Boston Globe declares, "James Joyce is not dead. He is living in Montreal under the name of Cohen." But not everyone is a fan.
Back home, critic Robert Fulford calls it "the most revolting book ever written in Canada," and a review in the Globe and Mail describes it as "verbal masturbation."
Many of the poems in this slim collection will later become songs, most notably "Suzanne Takes You Down."
A young Leonard Cohen explores the roots of his poetry with CBC-TV host Adrienne Clarkson. In this excerpt from Take 30, Cohen rejects the notion of artistic posterity and says: "I'm not interested in an insurance plan for my work."
Despite his success as a writer, Leonard Cohen finds it hard to pay the rent. He decides to give music a try because Cohen thought he could make more money as a musician. "The song seized me and the appetite for reaching many people seized me." Cohen has always loved music. At 17, he belonged to a country and western trio called the Buckskin Boys. "I always thought of myself as a singer," he tells Beryl Fox in this 1966 interview on CBC's This Hour Has Seven Days, adding, "and kind of got side-tracked to literature." He leaves the Greek island of Hydra in 1966 for Nashville and by Christmas of 1967, Cohen releases his remarkable debut album, The Songs of Leonard Cohen.
Cohen wrote his third collection of poetry while living on the Greek island of Hydra. The house Cohen bought on Hydra cost him $1,500 – an inheritance from his grandmother – in 1960. It had no plumbing or electricity. Of the house, he wrote to his mother: "It has a huge terrace with a view of dramatic mountains and shining white houses. The rooms are large and cool with deep windows set in thick walls. I suppose it's about 200 years old and many generations of seamen must have lived here." After Cohen had been living there a while, telephone service came to Hydra. He was inspired to write the song Bird on a Wire because of the birds that would gather on the new telephone wire.
"You have to be very charitable to reviewers," says Leonard Cohen, who has just released The Favourite Game, a new novel. "They're very unhappy people who have generally failed at an art they would like to excel in." Cohen's book, about a young Jewish man from Montreal, gets mixed reviews in Canada, but he doesn't seem perturbed by the critics. What's irritating, he says, is the perception that the book is about him: "I cringe before the tyranny of fact, but it is not autobiographical. I made it up."
The Favourite Game won the Quebec Literary Competition in 1964.
Cohen's second book of poetry, published by McClelland & Stewart, brings him a certain amount of acclaim in Canadian and international literary circles.
Shortly after leaving McGill University, Cohen publishes his first collection of poetry.