“If I knew where the great songs came from,” Leonard Cohen famously said, “I would go there more often.” In fact, during his 82 years of life, he went there a whole lot more than most humans ever do, and with a devotion to songwriting almost religious in its fervor, resulting in a bounty of miracle songs. That songwriting for him was more of a calling than a job was never more evident than in this final year of his life when, immobilized, in great pain, knowing the end was near, he devoted himself to one final task: writing and recording a new album of songs. It’s a mission accomplished, as he released the remarkable You Want It Darker earlier this year in the final month of his life. Produced with his beloved son, Adam Cohen, it’s his ultimate masterpiece, the final brick in his Tower of Song. Weakened by illness, rather than do a series of interviews to promote the album, he decided to do one single press event to which journalists from around the world, including a few lucky Americans like this writer, were invited. Held at the beautiful Canadian Consulate in the stately Hancock Park neighborhood of Los Angeles, it was a remarkable night of reverence and love for Cohen, peopled only by those writers who have been devoted to him for decades, as well as a few famous friends and collaborators. “There was something holy about it,” said the Anglo-Greek singer-songwriter Athena Andreadis, who sang the haunting background vocals on “Traveling Light,” a track from the new album. “I have never felt anything quite like it. It was his final gift to us, and such a beautiful one. Just to be in his presence was a great privilege, and to share this delivery of his final work. I will never forget it.” The... Sign In to Keep Reading
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