Tuesday, November 15, 2016

Leonard Cohen

Usually it takes me a long time to pay attention to the lyrics of a song. I can hear a popular song one hundred times before the words sink in.

But I remember the first time I heard Leonard Cohen's Dance Me to the End of Love.  I was out on my deck listening to WERS which is a college radio station in the Boston area. On Sunday mornings they have a program that features Jewish and Israeli music.  My parents used to listen to WEVD on Sunday mornings in New York. WEVD was a station dedicated to Jewish music and themes so when I, on occasion, tune into WERS I am reminded, fondly, of those Sunday mornings with my family.

So, I was listening this one day to WERS--perched on the deck, reading the paper, no doubt sipping some coffee when I first heard Dance Me to the End of Love.   Immediately, and atypically, I was engaged on the first listen.

Leonard Cohen passed last week. Cohen influenced many of we boomers.  Since his passing, his work has been praised and played quite a bit. Saturday Night Live, instead of their recent political satires, began their show on the Saturday after the election with a rendition of the Cohen song Hallelujah--performed, I'll assume, for two reasons: to honor Cohen and to soothe an audience emotionally distraught because of the election results.

I have been fond of Cohen since the early seventies. I bought The Songs of Leonard Cohen in the fall of 1971 and still have the album. I played the CD so often that it is now damaged.  Despite my fondness for Sisters of Mercy, Suzanne, So Long Marianne, Hey That's No Way to Say Goodbye, the song that I sought to play after I heard of Cohen's passing is one that was not on the album I played incessantly. The song I wanted to hear was Dance Me to the End of Love.  I went to youtube and found this version of it.   https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=NGorjBVag0I

Leonard Cohen was a special person. For those emotionally bruised by a disturbing national decision, listening to Cohen now provides a temporary balm.

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