Leonard Cohen’s 3 most Memorable Songs

Most people are familiar with Cohen’s hit songs like “Hallelujah,” “Suzanne,” “Bird on a Wire.” But just like other artists, Cohen had his share of memorable songs without the awards.

In this post, we take a closer look at Leonard Cohen’s masterful songwriting skills as we pay homage to some of his most memorable songs.

Who by Fire

Cohen tackled different religions with his music. “Who by Fire” from his fourth studio album “New Skin for the Old Ceremony” was inspired by a Jewish prayor or prayer. The song was Cohen’s own version of the Hebrew prayer titled “Unetanneh Tokef.”

Cohen heard this prayer when he was young. The song is not the length but it truly made its mark throughout Cohen’s fans.

Cohen’s performance of this track in London back in 2008 opened, played and ended with its signature twelve-string guitar arrangement.

Please don’t Pass by me (A Disgrace)

Cohen through his music was a storyteller. This is evident with his song “Please Don’t Pass by me (A Disgrace).” Cohen talked about a homeless man in New York and he even mentioned the Jews and Gypsies that were killed in concentration camps and then burned. In the song, Cohen said he sang for those poor souls and for the smoke they made after suffering a horrific death.

Some people said this song was the most painful song Cohen ever wrote.

Dance Me to the End of Love

“Dance Me to the End of Love” is truly one of Cohen’s best and most memorable songs. Cohen first played the song in 1984 for his album “Various Positions.” Cohen’s life at the Greek Island of Hydra played yet a big role for this song. The song follows the Greek dance path “Hasapiko.”

It may sound crazy but the song was actually inspired by one of mankind’s greatest tragedy, the Holocaust. Cohen thought about the presence of music during those dreaded times of pain and death.

This song opened up a whole new world for Cohen in the mainstream industry. The song was covered by a number of artists including Sting, Mark Seymour, The Civil Wars and more.

Cohen’s songs are truly a gift to mankind. Find out more about his craft by finding out his top three albums.

Leonard Cohen’s Top 5 Live Performances

Cohen on tour is an experience you can’t miss that is why millions of people all over the globe went to his concerts no matter if they were miles away. Unlike in his early days, Cohen would take care of most of the acoustic guitar melodies and parts for most of his songs.

But, even at an old age, Cohen was still able to play his acoustic guitar perfectly in live performances.

He was still able to bring the fingerpicking finesse everyone cheered about when he was young. The melodic plucking for example from a “Suzanne” performance that was posted on YouTube is more than enough to tell you that Cohen was a beast with an acoustic guitar.

Chelsea Hotel No. 1 (Europe, 1972)

Before the “Chelsea Hotel No. 2,” there was No. 1. In 1972, Cohen roams around Europe and Israel.

He performed in several countries including Ireland, England, Germany, Austria, Holland France, Israel and more. People were always excited when he starts talking and singing about his experience at the Chelsea Hotel in New York City.

Everybody Knows (Dublin, 2013)

During his three-hour concert at The O2 Arena in Dublin, the audience was mesmerized when drum beat led to the intro melody of his hit song “Everybody Knows.” Despite his age, Cohen delivered yet another magnificent performance of the show with flawless guitar riffs and background melodies.

There is a video of that performance on YouTube and on the comment section, people would say “Everybody Knows” Leonard Cohen is the best or something like that. Throughout the performance, Cohen did little movement but his passion and love for music took the entire arena.

Hallelujah (London, 2008)

Cohen took the stage earlier on another O2 Arena in London, England. Cohen’s performance of his iconic song “Hallelujah” didn’t disappoint and it never did.

From “I’ve heard there was a secret song” all the way to the last “Hallelujah” the audience was cheering and some are probably crying to witness Cohen on stage.

 At the end of this song performance, Cohen tipped his hat and gave thanks to his band, the background singers and of course to the crowd as they applauded.

Suzanne (England, 1970)

In most of his performances, Cohen only needed a guitar on his hand, a little backup singing and melody. For most, that’s all he needed and yet, he always got it on target.

In 1970 at the Isle of Wight, an adult Cohen serenaded the crowd with his hit song “Suzanne” from his debut album “Songs of Leonard Cohen.” At the end of the performance, the audience clapped and whistled. Truly one of Cohen’s memorable live performances.

Full concert (Israel, 2009)

For the last leg of his 2009 tour, Cohen came back to Israel at the Ramat Gan Stadium. Cohen proved that his old age didn’t get in the way of his passion to perform.

Cohen traveled the world and played in front of millions. Up to this day, videos of his live performances keep on popping up one after another.