Leonard Norman Cohen, CC, GOQ (born September 21, 1934) is a Buddhist Canadian singer-songwriter, musician, poet, novelist, and artist, born into a Jewish family. Cohen published his first book of poetry in Montreal in 1956 and his first novel in 1963. His work often deals with the exploration of religion, isolation, sexuality and complex interpersonal relationships.
Musically, Cohen's earliest songs (many of which appeared on the 1967 album, Songs of Leonard Cohen) were rooted in European folk music. In the 1970s, his material encompassed pop, cabaret and world music. Since the 1980s his high baritone voice has evolved into lower registers (bass baritone and bass), with accompaniment from electronic synthesizers and female backing singers.
Over two thousand renditions of Cohen's songs have been recorded. He has been inducted into both the Canadian Music Hall of Fame and the Canadian Songwriters Hall of Fame and is also a Companion of the Order of Canada, the nation's highest civilian honour. While giving the speech at his induction into the American Rock and Roll Hall of Fame on March 10, 2008, Lou Reed described Cohen as belonging to the "highest and most influential echelon of songwriters."
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