3 of Leonard Cohen’s Favorite Songwriters

Leonard Cohen is widely considered one of the greatest songwriters of all time. Needless to say, his opinion of his fellow songwriters held a lot of weight. Like all of us, he had his short list of favorites. Find three of them, below.

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[RELATED: Behind the Album: How Leonard Cohen Achieved a Breakthrough Recording in His Late 70s with ‘Old Ideas’]

3 of Leonard Cohen’s Favorite Songwriters

1. Tom Waits

Tom Waits and his smoky brand of folk earn the first spot on this list. Both songwriters hold similarities, yet their styles are completely unique. When putting together a playlist of mesmerizing lyricists, it wouldn’t be uncommon to see both Waits and Cohen on the list.

According to Cohen, however, Waits’ music was so much better than his own. In 2008, Cohen penned a poem that made a nod to Waits, titled Dream Brighton. His admiration for the folk singer was laid out in the lines, below.

My show went well – I can’t

see him – I’m in my dressing

room – but I can hear him –

his music begin – it is so

beautiful and original and

sophisticated – so much better

than mine – some mélange

of harshness and sweetness

2. Joni Mitchell

When compiling a list of a songwriter’s favorite songwriters, one can assume Joni Mitchell might make an appearance. The songstress is the envy of lyricists and melody makers everywhere. Cohen certainly admired her artistry–amongst other things.

The pair were romantically linked for a short time in the late ’60s. According to both artists, it was their respective musical talents that drew them together. Cohen once called Mitchell a “musical monster.”

“Joni was some kind of musical monster, that her gift somehow put her in another category from the other folksingers,” Cohen once said. “There was a certain ferocity associated with her gift. She was like a storm. She was a beautiful young woman who had a remarkable talent.”

3. Bob Dylan

We can’t imagine there is a single folk singer out there that doesn’t have an admiration for Bob Dylan. Any way you cut it, Dylan is a universal inspiration. Cohen certainly thought so.

“O.K., Bob, you’re Number 1, but I’m Number 2,” Cohen once told The Bard. “Dylan says to me, ‘As far as I’m concerned, Leonard, you’re Number 1. I’m Number Zero.’ Meaning, as I understood it at the time—and I was not ready to dispute it—that his work was beyond measure and my work was pretty good.”

(Photo by Mike Lawrie/Getty Images)

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