Sneak Preview From “Leonard Cohen Master Of Song” By Sylvie Simmons – MOJO #279

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“The Life Of Leonard Cohen Was A Series Of Radical Departures”

Graciously acceding to my request, Sylvie Simmons provides an excerpt from her forthcoming 5000 word essay on Leonard Cohen that will appear in The next issue of MOJO (#279), which should be in the hands of subscribers and on newsstands the end of Dec 2016 or early Jan 2017.

“I was always going off the deep end”, said Cohen, smiling. “So it was no radical departure.” True, when you think about it, the life of Leonard Cohen was a series of radical departures.

Cohen was 33 when his debut album came out. Another radical departure, this being when you weren’t to trust anyone over thirty. Like his poems, his lyrics were sophisticated and dense. Although he had consumed copious amounts of acid and speed, his songs showed no evidence of either. His songs were like nothing else being made in the late 60s, he was unique, at the same time ancient and fresh. John Hammond had a hard time getting Columbia to sign an “old poet”. 

From the outset, Cohen’s relationship with the music business had ranged from dismal to conflicted.