->''I've heard there was a secret chord''
->''That David played, and it pleased the Lord''
->''But you don't really care for music, do ya?''
->''It goes like this, the fourth, the fifth''
->''The minor fall, the major lift''
->''The baffled king composing hallelujah''

->"I don't know. It has a good chorus."
-->--'''Leonard Cohen''', on why "Hallelujah" is so popular

Leonard Cohen (September 21, 1934 - November 7, 2016) was a Canadian poet and singer-songwriter. He was known for his wry, melancholic and frequently beautiful lyrics, his ever-present cluster of angelic back-up singers, his fascination with religion and spirituality, and that ''voice'', good lord. Cohen began his career as a writer, with two collections of poetry that received good reviews, but his later material didn't do as well, so he became a singer-songwriter due to his lack of financial success. His first album, the snappily titled ''Songs of Leonard Cohen'', was released in 1967; it met with critical acclaim, mediocre sales and a lasting cult status, something that could be said to hold true for the rest of his career. After a decline in popularity from the mid-1970s onward, he released the incisive, satirical ''I'm Your Man'' in 1988. Widely considered one of his best albums, it effectively rebooted his career and cemented his status as a cult figure.

Something of an acquired taste due to his minimalistic approach to music, often dark tone and average-to-middling ability to actually sing in tune, Cohen is nevertheless regarded as one of the finest and most influential songwriters of his time. His songs have been frequently covered by other artists, with "Hallelujah" - most famously covered by Music/JeffBuckley on ''Music/{{Grace}}'' - being the most prominent example, and he was inducted into the Rock 'n' Roll Hall of Fame in 2008.

Cohen was private and something of a hermit (he spent many years living in a Zen commune atop Mount Baldy, where he was known as ''Jikan,'' "The Silent One"), but after 2005, where his manager, Kelley Lynch, almost completely emptied his pension account and ran away with the money, Cohen started touring again in 2008 at age 73. The event triggered a new creative period for Cohen, who would continue touring into the early 2010s, and release three new albums two years apart, starting in 2012, with ''Old Ideas''. On October 21, 2016, he released what would turn out to be his last album, ''You Want it Darker'', which appropriately enough had acceptance of mortality as a central theme. Three weeks later, on November 7, he passed away.

Also, Music/PhilSpector once threatened him with a loaded gun. But that's not important.
* ''Music/SongsOfLeonardCohen'' (1967)
* ''Music/SongsFromARoom'' (1969)
* ''Music/SongsOfLoveAndHate'' (1971)
* ''Music/NewSkinForTheOldCeremony'' (1974)
* ''Death of a Ladies' Man'' (1977)
* ''Recent Songs'' (1979)
* ''Various Positions'' (1984)[[note]]a.k.a. ''TheOneWith "Hallelujah" On It''[[/note]]
* ''I'm Your Man'' (1988)
* ''The Future'' (1992)
* ''Ten New Songs'' (2001)
* ''Dear Heather'' (2004)
* ''Old Ideas'' (2012)
* ''Popular Problems'' (2014)
* ''You Want It Darker'' (2016)

!!Selected Bibliography
* ''Let Us Compare Mythologies'' (Poetry) (1956)
* ''The Spice-Box of Earth'' (Poetry) (1961)
* ''The Favourite Game'' (Novel) (1963)
* ''Flowers For Hitler'' (Poetry) (1964)
* ''Beautiful Losers'' (Novel) (1966)
* ''The Book of Mercy'' (Poetry) (1984)
* ''The Book of Longing'' (Poetry) (2006)
!!Tropes about this musician include:
* AsTheGoodBookSays: He frequently references Literature/TheBible.
* BadassLongCoat: Wore one in the music video for "First We Take Manhattan" and on the cover of ''Songs From The Road''.
* BassoProfundo: One of the best-known examples, though it only started to set in during the eighties; his voice on his seventies records is noticeably higher. He remarked that when he started recording 1984's ''Various Positions'' after a five year break, his voice had deepened almost an octave, and it only got deeper.
* BilingualBonus: In "The Partisan" some lines are in French.
* CardCarryingVillain: The narrator of ''Beautiful Losers''.
-->''Le triomphe du Mal sur le Bien.''
* CoolOldGuy: Among other things, he skipped on and off-stage at concerts and donated $200,000 to the Australian bushfire appeal.
* CrapsackWorld: A frequently-occurring trope in his work:
** "The Future":
--->''I've seen the future, baby; it is murder''
** "Everybody Knows":
---> ''Everybody knows that the war is over''\\
''Everybody knows the good guys lost''\\
''Everybody knows the fight was fixed''\\
''The poor stay poor, the rich get rich''
* CreatorThumbprint: Just try to find a Leonard Cohen song that ''doesn't'' describe a bittersweet romantic/sexual situation while making use of intricate (occasionally [[TrueArtIsIncomprehensible incomprehensible]]) symbolism and copious religious imagery.
* TheCynic: His songs are frequently pessimistic, such as in "Everybody Knows".
* DeadpanSnarker: His interviews are frequently hilarious.
** From an interview with Music/SuzanneVega, 1992:
--->'''Cohen''': Do you have your band put together yet?\\
'''Vega''': No.\\
'''C''': Can I play in it?\\
'''V''': What would you like to play?\\
'''C''': I don't know.\\
'''V''': You could sing; you could be a back-up singer.\\
'''C''': Congas!\\
'''V''': It's like I always go see you perform, you always have two very beautiful women standing by you.\\
'''C''': I could be one of the beautiful women standing beside you.
** When ''The Future'' (his most successful album in Canada) gained him a Juno Award for Best Male Vocalist, he mentioned in his acceptance speech that "Only in Canada could somebody with a voice like mine win Vocalist of the Year."
** When he played Edinburgh Castle in 2008, it was a cold and windy outdoor show and keyboardist Neil Larsen dropped a couple of minor but noticeable clams during a solo. As Cohen introduced the band a few minutes later, he gave the tiniest bit of emphasis to "the ''impeccable'' Neil Larsen."
** When held at gunpoint by Phil Spector for the master tapes to ''Death of a Ladies' Man''
--> '''Spector''': I love you, Leonard.
--> '''Cohen''': I ''hope'' you love me, Phil.
* DoNotGoGentle: He released his fourteenth album less than a month before his death.
* FloweryElizabethanEnglish: "Bird on the Wire" uses "thee" a couple times, as an ironic reflection of the line "Like a knight from some old fashioned book".
* ForWantOfANail: His music saved Creator/RogerEbert's life. Ebert was in the hospital for cancer treatment, and it looked like the surgery had been a success. He and his wife were getting ready to leave, but Cohen's song "I'm Your Man" starting playing on his iPod and Ebert chose to linger for a bit so he could listen to his song. Just after it ended, though, Ebert's carotid artery burst and he collapsed in the room. Lucky for him, he was already in the hospital, so his life was saved. Had he not waited to listen to Cohen, Ebert would have been in a car, bleeding profusely, with a much slimmer chance of reaching his doctors again.
* GodIsLoveSongs: Numerous songs, but the most direct example is "Coming Back To You". It starts "Baby, I'm still hurting, and I can't turn the other cheek/You know that I still love you, it's just that I can't speak" - and it soon becomes clear that the "Baby" in question is God (or possibly Judaism in general).
* GratuitousFrench: In "The Partisan" some lines are in French.
* GrayRainOfDepression: "Last Year's Man"
* IWasQuiteALooker: While his songwriting probably did more for him in the romance department than his appearance ever did, it's hard to deny that he had some [[http://blog.careco.co.uk/wp-content/uploads/2016/11/Leonard-Cohen-2.jpg pretty]] [[https://www.room-digital.com/wp-content/uploads/2016/03/Image-4-Photograph-by-Jack-Robinson-Jack-Robinson-Archive-LLC.jpg rugged]] good looks in his younger days.
* IntentionallyAwkwardTitle: "Don't Go Home With Your [[RagingStiffie Hard-On]]"
* IntercourseWithYou: He has a reputation.
** From Cohen's translation of a [[Creator/FedericoGarciaLorca Garcia Lorca]] poem:
--->''Oh, I want you, I want you, I want you''\\
''On a chair with a dead magazine''\\
''In [[DoesThisRemindYouOfAnything the cave at the tip of the lily]]''\\
''In [[NatureAdoresAVirgin some hallway where love's never been]]''...
** "Light as the Breeze", a lovely little song about the technique one should employ when performing oral sex.
** In "Chelsea Hotel #2", a lovely song written for Music/JanisJoplin, he so lovingly sings
--->''I remember you well in the Chelsea Hotel''\\
''You were talking so brave and so sweet''\\
''Giving me head on the unmade bed''\\
''While the limousine is waiting in the street''
* {{Irony}}: ''Songs of Love and Hate'' have some of Cohen's bleakest and most depressing lyrics in his whole catalogue. It's one of the only album covers to show him smiling.
* IsntItIronic:
** "Hallelujah" is probably the worst offender. It's not supposed to be a happy song!
** Cohen was reportedly greatly amused by the non-ironic use of "Democracy" (a scathing, wry little statement about American society) as a patriotic ballad. I mean, for heaven's sake:
--->''I'm sentimental, if you know what I mean''\\
''I love the country, but I can't stand the scene''\\
''And I'm neither left nor right, I'm just staying home tonight''\\
''Getting lost in that hopeless little screen.''\\
''But I'm stubborn as those garbage bags that time cannot decay'',\\
''I'm junk, but I'm still holding up this little wild bouquet.''\\
''Democracy is coming to the U.S.A.''
* ItsPersonal:
--> ''I don't like your fashion business, mister''\\
''I don't like these drugs that keep you thin.''\\
''I don't like what happened to my sister.''\\
''First we take Manhattan, then we take Berlin.''
* LyricalDissonance:
** "Heart with No Companion" has a bouncy, jaunty melody and introduction. And then the first line...
--->''So I greet you from the other side''\\
''Of sorrow and despair!''
** "The Captain" has an upbeat, bouncy tune and a rather dark subject matter.
* LongRunner: His first album came out in 1967. That's a whole eleven years after the publication of his first book of poetry.
%%* ManicPixieDreamGirl: Suzanne from "Suzanne".
* MindScrew: Cohen's lyrics can sometimes be...opaque. ''Music/SongsOfLoveAndHate'' is probably the worst offender, "Avalanche" in particular.
* NewSoundAlbum: ''I'm Your Man'' has elements of synth-pop with his normal folk-rock.
* NiceHat: As the page image shows, he could sure rock a charcoal fedora.
--> ''"It was the hat, after all."''
* [[NiceJewishBoy Nice Jewish Old Man]]
* NotChristianRock: Scriptural and religious imagery appears often in Cohen's lyrics, but not always as a statement of faith. The best-known example is "Hallelujah," which dwells on the biblical stories of David and Samson but is really more of a BreakupSong.
* OffingTheOffspring: "The Story of Isaac", which retells... well, [[ExactlyWhatItSaysOnTheTin the story of]] [[Literature/TheBible Isaac]].
* OutdoorBathPeeping: In "Hallelujah":
-->''Well, your faith was strong but you needed proof''\\
''You saw her bathing on the roof''\\
''Her beauty and the moonlight overthrew ya''
%%* RageAgainstTheReflection: "Dress Rehearsal Rag".
* SanitySlippageSong: "Dress Rehearsal Rag" and "Diamonds In The Mine". But several other songs from the album ''Songs Of Love And Hate'' could qualify.
* SelfDeprecation: Cohen is well aware of his vocal limitations, and occasionally pokes fun at them himself. Besides the above-mentioned snark about how "only in Canada" he could win a prize for Best Male Vocalist, he sings in "Tower of Song" that he was "born with the gift of a golden voice" and in "A Singer Must Die" that its sound makes the ladies "moist".
** He once told a story about the beginning of his musical career, when he was about to go on stage at some festival in the late 60s and he suddenly had an attack of stage fright. He turned to his manager and said "Listen, I don't know what I'm doing here, this is ridiculous -- I can't sing." His manager replied "[[BrutalHonesty None of you guys can sing. If I want to hear singing, I go to the opera.]]"
* SopranoAndGravel: The majority of his songs are sung with a back-up chorus of female sopranos.
* StylisticSuck: The vocals in "Diamonds in the Mine" are ragged and off-key.
* ThisIsASong:
** "Hallelujah" spells out its own chord progression (see the page quote).
** "Bird on the Wire"
--->''But I swear by this song''\\
''And by all that I have done wrong''\\
''I will make it all up to thee.''
* TitleOnlyChorus: "Hallelujah".
* VillainSong: "First We Take Manhattan".
* VocalEvolution: He started out as a middling nasally tenor. His earlier records were soprano compared against his later ones - over forty years, his voice dropped to a distinctive rumble, and it got deeper with every album. ''Dear Heather'' was positively subsonic.
* AWorldHalfFull:
%%** "Anthem", definitely. He has some similar songs that veer more into CrapsackWorld, but might still have the requisite sense of beauty and empowerment simply by virtue of being stirring music.
** From "The Old Revolution":
--->''Even damnation is poisoned with rainbows.''
* WorldOfSymbolism: Absolutely ''every'' song Cohen wrote operates on a symbolic level first and foremost.
--> ''I'm ready, my lord...''