This time last year, it was 5 Things AXS Thinks You Didn’t Know About Leonard Cohen and Sony Legacy listing 12 Things You Need To Know About Leonard Cohen. Now it’s American Blues Scene’s 10 Things You Didn’t Know About Leonard Cohen by JD Nash (American Blues Scene: May 3, 2017). In this case, many of the 10 “Things” are composites. Cohencentric readers who are unfamiliar with any of this items just haven’t been paying attention. I’ve included one to give a sense of what to expect. The full list can be found at the link.
2. Cohen had a habit of living as a semi-recluse. In the 1960s, he purchased a house on the Greek island of Hydra. With intermittent electricity, he shared the house with his girlfriend, and muse, Marianne Ihlen. During this time, Cohen wrote more books of poetry, at least one novel, and music for his first two albums. Songs From a Room, contained the tune, “Bird on a Wire”, which became one of his most covered songs. At least 78 versions of the song have been recorded by other artists. When he and Ihlen broke up, he wrote the song, “So Long Marianne”. Ihlen died of leukemia on July 28th, 2016. Upon news of her illness, he wrote her a letter saying, “Know that I am so close behind you that if you stretch out your hand, I think you can reach mine.” Cohen died just over three months later, on November 7th.
DrHGuy Note: I’m not convinced Leonard’s behavior while residing on Hydra qualifies him as a “semi-recluse,” given that he lived with Marianne and her son during most of that time, spent much time with other friends, such as Charmian Clift and George Johnston, and was often found socializing in the local community. Heck, Leonard even gives a shout-out to his friends at Bill’s Bar on the island in Night Comes On:
I’ll go down to Bill’s Bar
I can make it that far
And I’ll see if my friends are still there
These residents of Hydra remember Leonard Cohen as a part of the community.
And, check out these photos of Leonard et al in Hyidra.
Finally, during that same period, he made several trips back home to Montreal to earn money working in various jobs.
Mighty odd behavior for a semi-recluse.