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Sunday, 13 November 2016

A Little Tribute to Leonard Cohen

In an essay on 'Cultural Appropriation' included in a book Silence Is So Accurate, due out in 2017, I wrote this about one of his most famous songs: 

Released in 1984 to little initial success, Leonard Cohen’s Hallelujah now exists in over 300-and-counting known cover versions. You can be any nationality, any ethnicity, maybe any religion, any age, any sex, any sexual orientation and most definitely any hairstyle – I did a thorough check - and you can still put your soul into this song brought into the world by someone white, male, patriarchal, heteronormative …mon semblable, mon frère - who worked incredibly hard on it (over eighty verses drafted for possible inclusion) and who says that he finds the appropriation of his song “ironic and amusing” in view that his recording label had no enthusiasm for it. They allowed it as an album track, that’s all, and without appropriation, there it would have stayed. For vinyl collectors. 


I am pretty sure that I sing more snatches of Leonard Cohen songs to myself than of any other song-writer. Some of the more recent songs are very moving.  Did I Ever Love You gutted me the first time I heard it. I only heard him live on one occasion, in Brighton back in the 1980s,

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