Leonard Cohen Receives Four 2015 Juno Nominations

Juno Award

Juno Award

Leonard Cohen has received nominations from the 2015 Juno Awards committee for JUNO Fan Choice, Album of the Year, Artist of the Year, & Adult Alternative Album of the Year.

Source: Junos 2015 nominations: Drake, Leonard Cohen, Chromeo, Hedley get nods for best in Canadian music (National Post: Jan 27, 2015)

Leonard Cohen Adds Songwriter Of The Year Title To Artist Of The Year At 2013 Juno Awards


Adam Cohen Accepts Award On Father’s Behalf

Veteran singer Cohen was given the honours for songwriter of the year Sunday, with the award citing three songs from his latest album Old Ideas Amen, Going Home and Show Me the Place. Cohen also was absent, but his son Adam Cohen accepted it on his behalf.

“I know he has a deep fondness for the love that Canada has always expressed toward him,” Adam Cohen said. “He refers to Canada as the beating heart of his career.”

On Saturday night, when the bulk of the prizes were handed out, Cohen scored another major prize — artist of the year.

From CBC News

Leonard Cohen Wins Hearts As Well As Glenn Gould Prize With Gracious Donation & Speech


The $50,000 Donation

Leonard Cohen accepted the Glenn Gould Prize last night, but donated the $50,000 that accompanied it to the Canada Council for the Arts.

The Speech

Note: Leonard Cohen’s complete acceptance speech may be viewed at Video: Leonard Cohen’s Acceptance Speech At 2012 Glenn Gould Prize Ceremony

The Speech: Leonard Cohen interviews Glenn Gould

In his acceptance speech, Cohen gave his account of interviewing Gould for Holiday magazine in the “late 1950s or early 1960s.” The pianist, having “apparently heard of a little book I [Cohen] had written, … accepted the interview.”

Cautioned not to shake his hand,1 Cohen met Gould in the lobby of Gould’s apartment building in Toronto.

“This was before the days of tape recorders,” explained Cohen, who soon became “so engrossed by what he [Gould] was saying, I stopped taking notes.”

The interview, scheduled for only a few minutes, lasted for a “couple of hours.”  Cohen thanked Gould and returned to his Montreal home to write the article, at which time those words he thought “were burned into my soul” dissipated. As Leonard Cohen put it,

I couldn’t remember a word that he said

After stalling his editors over the phone for some time, Cohen changed tactics:

Finally, I stopped answering the phone

And after the admonitory telegraphs from the editor began to arrive, his strategy once again shifted:

I finally joined the witness protection program.

DrHGuy Note:  This excerpt from Various Positions by Ira Nadel re-tells the same story, offering the benefit of identifying the year (1963) and some additional specificity about the topic of the article Cohen was to write. it also mentions the editor’s suggestion, inexplicably absent from Cohen’s speech last night, that Cohen and Gould do the interview while walking about Montreal wearing false beards. The “novel” in the first line is Cohen’s “The Favourite Game,” published in fall 1963.


The Speech: Cohen & Gould meet again

Cohen then segued into the second time he met Gould,  years after the first encounter, at a Columbia Records studio in New York.

He was recording something sublime, I was recording something otherwise.

Cohen, noting that he was, at the time,” infected with the new hip language,” animatedly informs the audience that he hailed Gould with

Hey man, what’s shaking?

To which Gould replied

I didn’t know you were from Memphis, Tennessee.

The Speech: Assuagement of performers’ anxieties

Cohen informed those about to perform in his tribute concert that they need not worry about singing his songs in front of him because, as he has pointed out several times in the past,

I go into an immediate, childish ecstasy and paroxysms of gratitude … whenever anyone covers one of my songs.


  1. “His fanatical fear of germs is part of the Glenn Gould legend. He refused to shake hands with people he met for fear of contracting illnesses or having his hand crushed.” From Variations On Glenn Gould – CBC []

Photos, Videos, Audio Of Leonard Cohen PEN New England Song Lyrics of Literary Excellence Award


  • This Post: Above: A happy Leonard Cohen accepts the first  PEN New England Song Lyrics of Literary Excellence Award Ceremony. Below: Shawn Colvin performs Leonard Cohen’s “Come Healing.” Both photos by Taylor Hill.
  • Videos:
    • Update: Maarten Massa has uploaded a video of the complete program:

Bonus: Who Was There, Who Sent Messages

  • Notables Present At The Ceremony included
    • Leonard Cohen
    • Chuck Berry
    • Salman Rushdie
    • Paul Simon
    • Caroline Kennedy
    • Al Kooper
    • Keith Richards
    • Elvis Costello
    • Shawn Colvin
    • Tom Perrotta
    • Bill Flanagan
    • Peter Wolf
    • Asa Brebner
    • Peter Guralnick
  • Notables MIA included
    • Bono1
    • Roseanne Cash2
    • Bob Dylan3

Credit Due Department: Photo by Michael Borkson. Used under Creative Commons license. Found at Wikipedia Commons.

  1. Writing songs in South America []
  2. Celebrating what would have been her father’s 80th birthday; sent a letter saying that if Cohen had only written the one line — “There’s a crack in everything, that’s how the light gets in” — he’d have been worthy of the honor []
  3. Sent letter of congratulations: “To Chuck, the Shakespeare of rock and roll, congratulations on your award, that’s what too much monkey business will get ya . . . and give my regards to Leonard Cohen, the Kafka of the blues, and Lord Byron Keith if he shows up.” []

Leonard Cohen Is Only Musician Ever Honored With The Prince Of Asturias Award For Letters

Leonard Cohen’s “Oeuvre Of Immutable Merit” Merits Most Important Spanish Prize For Literature

At its June 1, 2011 meeting in Oviedo, the Jury for the 2011 Prince of Asturias Award for Letters voted

… to confer the 2011 Prince of Asturias Award for Letters on the Canadian poet and novelist Leonard Cohen for a body of literary work that has influenced three generations of people worldwide through his creation of emotional imagery in which poetry and music are fused in an oeuvre of immutable merit. The passing of time, sentimental relationships, the mystical traditions of the East and the West and life sung as an unending ballad make up a body of work associated with certain moments of decisive change at the end of the 20th and beginning of the 21st century.1

In response, Leonard Cohen  issued this statement from New York on June 2, 2011:

I am most grateful to be recognized by the countrymen of Machado and Lorca, and my friend Morente, and the incomparable companions of the Spanish guitar.2

The 2011 Prince Of Asturias Award For Letters

It is particularly significant that Leonard Cohen won the 2011 Prince Of Asturias Award in the Literature (Letters) category rather than  in the Arts classification.  It is hardly surprising, however, to find that Cohen is the only musician to win the Prince Of Asturias Award For Letters; one is hard pressed to name a single other singer-songwriter, especially a singer-songwriter  of popular music, that might be considered a viable candidate for the Award.

In winning out over 31 other nominees, including English novelist Ian McEwan (Solar, Black Dogs) and Canadian writer Alice Munro (Runaway, Too Much Happiness), Cohen joins previous prize-winners in the Literature category such as Arthur Miller, Margaret Atwood, Susan Sontag, Günter Grass, Doris Lessing, Amos Oz, and Paul Auster.Winners in other categories include Woody Allen (Arts) , Bob Dylan (Arts), UNICEF (Concord),  JK Rowling (Concord), Umberto Eco  (Communications and Humanities), Google (Communications and Humanities), World Health Organization (International Cooperation), The Tour de France (Sports),  Jane Goodall (Technical and Scientific Research), and David Attenborough (Social Science).

The press release from the The Prince of Asturias Foundation goes on to note

According to the Statutes of the Foundation, the Prince of Asturias Awards aim “to reward the scientific, technical, cultural, social and humanistic work performed at an international level by individuals, institutions or groups of individuals or institutions”. As part of this spirit those “whose creative work or research represents a relevant contribution to universal culture in the fields of Literature or Linguistics” may be nominated for the Prince of Asturias Award for Letters.

This year a total of 32 candidatures from Argentina, Austria, Australia, Bosnia, Brazil, Canada, Czech Republic, Cuba, Chile, China, France, Guatemala, Georgia, Iran, Italy, Lebanon, Netherlands, Macedonia, Mexico, Portugal, Rumania, South Africa, United Kingdom, United States and Spain ran for the award.

… Each Prince of Asturias Award, which date back to 1981, comprises a diploma, a Joan Miró sculpture representing and symbolising the Awards, an insignia bearing the Foundation’s coat of arms, and a cash prize of 50,000 Euros.3 The awards will be presented in the autumn in Oviedo at a grand ceremony chaired by H.R.H. the Prince of Asturias.

Update 18 October 2011: See also Now Online: Official Video – Leonard Cohen Prince of Asturias Award for Letters


Editor’s Note On The Timing Of This Post: Yes, Leonard Cohen won this award almost two months ago. Yes, DrHGuy knew about it at the time. But, if Leonard Cohen is going to persist in winning awards – and it appears he is – he should do so at some time other than DrHGuy’s vacation. In any case, by the time DrHGuy returned from his annual Hilton Head Hiatus, this was old news (OK, that’s an argument somewhat attenuated by the recent publication of posts like Leonard Cohen Plays The Bottom Line, 1974 – Judy Collins & Janis Ian Visit  and Leonard Cohen On Touring, Work, Inspiration, & His Right Wing Interior Life – 1980, but you know what he means). In fact, were it not for the perseverance of the Spanish Cohen Brigade and Valerio Fiandra, this acknowledgement of Leonard Cohen being bestowed with The Prince Of Asturias Award For Letters might not have ever taken place, thus placing the official sanctioning of the prize in jeopardy.

  1. The Prince of Asturias Foundation web site, accessed 28 July 2011 []
  2. Ibid []
  3. (About 71,500 USD []