Leonard Cohen is the lyricist’s definition of a lyricist, the kind of artist you would rarely hear on the radio, but was honored by countless musicians as one of the greatest lyricists in the world. Before a prolific poet and novelist recorded his album, Cohen’s songs were lively and full of literature, politics, dark humor and open sex.
Although classic rock icons such as Billy Joel and James Taylor have covered him, and pentatonics have tried to turn “Hallelujah” into a Christmas standard, Leonard Cohen’s legacy is further enhanced when he is covered by artists who have checked Cohen’s destructive edge or name-check. Songs like “Penirial Tea” by Nirvana. November 7, 2016 marks the 5th anniversary of the death of the Canadian legend, so look back at the top 10 Cohen covers by indie and alternative artists here.
10. Pixie – “I Can’t Forget”
Leonard Cohen’s Tribute Album I am your fan Released a week later Deceives the earth Featuring the latest new Pixies tracks in September 1991 and before the band broke up. “I Can’t Forget” (originally from 1988) I am your man) Is also nicely covered by Jarvis Cocker, but there is something special about listening to Cohen’s songs on the roaring power chords of Black Francis and Kim Deal.
9. Buck 65 (Credit. Jane Grant) – “Who By Fire”
Nova Scotia rapper Buck 65 has slowly expanded his reach beyond hip hop since his career began in the 90s. And her 14th album, 2011 20 odd years, He and frequent collaborator Jane Grant have covered their fellow Canadian, Cohen has faithfully explained “Who by Fire” since 1974. New skin for the old ceremony.
8. Nick Cave – “Suzanne”
“Susan” began Leonard Cohen’s career as a widely covered lyricist when Judy Collins released her version in 1967, a year before Cohen’s debut single. 2005 documentary, Leonard Cohen: I’m your man.
7. Beck – “Winter Woman”
In 2009, Beck started the Record Club, a project for which he would one day gather a team of musicians in the studio to cover an entire album. The second album in the series was Cohen’s debut in 1967, Song by Leonard Cohen, Assisted by Devendra Banhart and MGMT members. Some of the record club’s performances, such as the hip-hop “Master Song”, were sportingly irrelevant, but Beck played it directly on “Winter Lady” with beautiful results.
6. Lana del Rey – “Chelsea Hotel No. 2”
Leonard Cohen’s songwriting was so far ahead of his time that “Chelsea Hotel No. 2” – a song he wrote in 1974 with a trist with Janice Joplin – could not sound more normal than the one sung by Lana del Rey in 2013.
5. Thalia Zedek Band – “Dance Me To The End Of Love”
“Dance to the End of Love” from 1984 Different terms Cohen was one of the biggest radio hits in Canada (and probably his most romantic song) and was covered by everyone from Sting to The Civil War. But Thalia Zedek, formerly the Boston band Com & Vizier, recovered some welcome grit in the song on her 2001 album, Here and gone.
4. Jesus and Mary Chain – “Tower of Song”
Jim and William Reid were at their peak when The Jesus and Mary Chain recorded a muscular, fuzzy-out cover of “Tower of Gun” for a Scottish band. Roller coaster EP in 1990. But “Tower of Gun” has been sung by a variety of artists, including Marian Faithful, Tom Jones, U2, and a 2017 live performance with Willie Nelson, Chris Martin, Peter Gabriel and Celine Dion.
3. Lee Ronaldo – “Famous Blue Raincoat”
A few months after Leonard Cohen’s death, artists including Richard Thompson and Joan of Police Women gathered for a concert in New York that produced the live album. Sincerely, L.A. Cohen: A live celebration of Leonard Cohen. One of the highlights of the night was the quiet, emotional performance of Sonic Youth guitarist Lee Ronaldo’s 1971 “Famous Blue Raincoat” Songs of love and hate.
2. REM – “First we take Manhattan”
“First We Take Manhattan” introduces Leonard Cohen’s new synth-driven term I am your man. But 3 years later (mentioned above) I am your fan Tribute album), crank amps for one of the few electric rockers from the REM band’s large acoustics Prematurely/Automatic for humans Era
1. Jeff Bakli – “Hallelujah”
Arguably the most important cover of “Hallelujah” is one of John Cal of Velvet Underground, which introduced the song with Jeff Buckley and features the first recording of a verse that Cohen only included in the live performance. But as much as Bakli’s 1994 debut edition, Please, is, and as much unnecessary cover as it inspires, it’s hard to find fault with the sensitivity of her serving and the unattractive beauty of her voice.