Legend’s That Are Leonard Cohen & Leon Russell




The music community has been in mourning the past few days, with the passing of both Leonard Cohen and Leon Russell within a few days of each other. It seems that 2016 is not shaping up to be a good year for the Music and Acting Industry, with the year almost over I hoping it doesn’t take any more of our legends.

Leonard Cohen passed away at age 82, The Canadian was a legendary singer, songwriter, poet and novelist, Cohen’s work often explored religion, politics, isolation, sexuality and personal relationships, he was inducted into both the Canadian Music Hall of Fame and the Canadian Songwriters Hall of Fame as well as the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame. Cohen was also a Companion of the Order of Canada, which is the nation’s highest civilian honour. In 2011, Cohen received one of the Price of Asturias Awards for literature and the ninth Glenn Gould Prize.


Literary Career

In the 1950s and early 1960s Cohen perused a career as a poet and novelist, in 1951 Cohen enrolled at McGill University, he won the Chester MacNaghten Literary competition for his poems “Sparrows‘ and “Thoughts of a Landsman“. March of 1954 Cohen published his first poems in the magazine CIV/n. This issue also included poems by Cohen’s poet-professors, Irving Layton and Louis Dudek, who were also on the editorial board. Cohen later graduated McGill the following year was a B.A. degree, his literary influences during this time included William Butler Yeats, Irving Layton (Professor at McGill who taught political Science and became both Cohen’s mentor and friend), Walt Whitman, Federico Garcia Lorca and henry Miller. Cohen’s first published book of poetry Let Us Compare Mythologies came in 1956 and was published by Dudek as the first book in the McGill Poetry Series the year after his graduation. Cohen’s second book, The Spice-Box of Earth came in 1961 and was the first book published through the Canadian publishing company McClelland & Stewart. 1964 Cohen published the poetry Collection Flowers for Hitler and his novels The Favorite Game in 1963 and Beautiful Losers in 1966.


Music Career

It wasn’t till 1967 at the age of 33 that Cohen turned his has at songwriting and launched his music career, with his first album, Songs of Leonard Cohen, it was followed by three more albums of Folk music: Songs from a Room in 1968, Songs of Love and Hate in 1971 and New Skin for the Old Ceremony in 1974. Cohen’s 1977 album Death of a Ladies’ Man was co-written and produced by Phill Spector and was different to his previous minimalist sound. In 1979 Cohen released the more traditional Recent Songs, which was a blend of his acoustic style with a jazz, oriental and Mediterranean influences.

In 1984 Cohen released the studio album Various Positions in which “Hallelujah” was first released. In 1988s I’m Your Man made Cohen turn to synthesised productions and still remains on of his most popular albums. Cohen released its follow-up, The Future in 1992, which had dark lyrical overtones, with references to political and social unrest. In 2002 Cohen returned to music with the release of Ten New Songs, it was a huge hit and Canada and Europe, his eleventh album, Dear Heather followed in 2004 and with a string of successful tours under his belt between 2008 and 2010, Cohen released three albums in the final four years of his life: Old Ideas was released in 2012, Popular problems were released in 2014 and finally You Want It Darker the last of which was released three weeks before his death.

If you have not read or heard his works then you have been missing out, I highly recommend you hear or read some of the legends work.


Leonard Cohen


Leon Russell

Leon Russell

Leon Russell died in his sleep at his home in Nashville at age 74 on November 13, he was an American singer- songwriter, guitarist, pianist and session musician, he wrote songs including “Delta Lady” which was recorded by Joe Cocker and organized Cocker’s “Mad Dogs and Englishman” tour in 1969. Over 100 artists have recorded Russell’s 1970‘s song “A Song for You“, in the early years as a pianist he played on albums by the Beach Boys and Jan and Dean. On his first 1970 album, Leon Russell, the musicians included John Lennon, Ringo Starr and George Harrison. During the 1960s and early 1970s, Russell owned then Church Recording Studio on 3rd Street in Tulsa which was later renamed Leon Russell Road in 2010 by The Pearl District Association.


Leon Russell & Elton John

Russell produced some tracks for Bob Dylan in March 1971 at the time when Dylan was experimenting with his new sound, The sessions produced the singles “Watching the River Flow” and “When I Paint My Masterpiece” both of which prominently featured Russell’s gospel-flavored piano. One of Russell’s biggest early fans was Elton John, John said Russell was a “mentor” and “inspiration”, the pair recorded The Union in 2010, John’s only duet album, which was later nominated for a grammy.


George Harrison – Bob Dylan – Leon Russell

Russell later turned his had to Producing and played during recording sessions for many musicians, which included Bob Dylan, Frank Sinatra, Ike & Tina Turner, and the Rolling stones. Russell’s own hits that he wrote and recorded included “Tight Rope” and “Lady Blue“. In 1971 he performed at the Concert for Bangladesh, along with Dylan and Eric Clapton. In 2011 Russell was inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame, where he was introduced by Elton John.



Leonard Cohen a literary and Musical Legend and Leon Russell a musical and instrumental legend, like the rest of the 2016 departed legends, the world will be a little less bright without them. Rest Easy Leonard Cohen and Leon Russell you will be missed.


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