LIFE, UNEDITED: Lonesome Hero

5 must-know songs by legendary singer-songwriter Leonard Cohen.

Leonard Cohen

While I was sitting in my home office on a cold March Minnesota morning, dogs at my side, cup of warm tea in hand, reading Pico Iyer’s The Art of Stillness for the adaptation featured in the October 2016 issue, I was inspired to break out my Leonard Cohen albums.

This wasn’t a new thing, as the legendary singer-songwriter’s Songs of Love and Hate can often be found playing on my turntable. But reading about Iyer’s encounter with Cohen at a Buddhist monastery, I couldn’t help but want to wander once again into the wisdom of my Canadian elder.

Even if you don’t own a dog-eared copy of Beautiful Losers, and aren’t a vinyl-collecting music geek like me, you’re probably familiar with Cohen’s quiet, humble ballad, Hallelujah, that has been covered by the likes of Bono, Jeff Buckley, and k.d. lang and been featured in (far too) many films. Seriously, Cohen asked for a moratorium on it back in 2009.

Leonard Cohen Essentials

In honor of a man who has helped folk-music listeners of multiple generations through countless breakups, existential crises, and bouts of depression, and in who’s work I find a tremendous amount of stillness, here’s my list of essential Cohen recordings.

  1. So Long, Marianne
  2. Born in Chains
  3. Famous Blue Raincoat
  4. Waiting for The Miracle
  5. Come Healing

Heidi Wachter is an Experience Life staff writer.

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