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.