Leonard Cohen passed away.

Rolling Stone reports:

Leonard Cohen, the hugely influential singer and songwriter whose work spanned nearly 50 years, died Monday at the age of 82. Cohen’s label, Sony Music Canada, confirmed his death on the singer’s Facebook page Thursday evening.

“It is with profound sorrow we report that legendary poet, songwriter and artist, Leonard Cohen has passed away,” the statement read. “We have lost one of music’s most revered and prolific visionaries.

A memorial will take place in Los Angeles at a later date. The family requests privacy during their time of grief.” A cause of death was not given.

Of course I knew about Cohen, though I wasn’t an aficionado. Many of his songs were made famous by others, like Suzanne:

(This link has many of Cohen’s most famous songs.)

There is one Cohen song that stands out for me. Hallelujah is simply a masterpiece in words and melody.

Well 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 you?
Well it goes like this:

The fourth, the fifth, the minor fall and the major lift
The baffled king composing Hallelujah

Hallelujah
Hallelujah
Hallelujah
Hallelujah

Well your faith was strong but you needed proof
You saw her bathing on the roof
Her beauty and the moonlight overthrew ya
She tied you to her kitchen chair
And she broke your throne and she cut your hair
And from your lips she drew the Hallelujah

[chorus]

But baby I’ve been here before
I’ve seen this room and I’ve walked this floor
You know, I used to live alone before I knew ya
And I’ve seen your flag on the marble arch
And love is not a victory march
It’s a cold and it’s a broken Hallelujah

[chorus]

Well there was a time when you let me know
What’s really going on below
But now you never show that to me do ya
But remember when I moved in you
And the holy dove was moving too
And every breath we drew was Hallelujah

[chorus]

Maybe there’s a God above
But all I’ve ever learned from love
Was how to shoot somebody who outdrew ya
And it’s not a cry that you hear at night
It’s not somebody who’s seen the light
It’s a cold and it’s a broken Hallelujah

[chorus]

Here is Cohen singing Hallelujah:

It is such a brilliant song that it has been covered many times. Here are two of my favorite covers:

Less well known about Cohen is his strong connection to Israel. When Israel was invaded in 1973 he flew there to perform for the troops. In this image, to Cohen’s immediate right, is Ariel Sharon, taking a break from the fighting against the Egyptians in the Sinai desert:

One of the best renditions of Hallelujah, quite appropriately, is from the Israel Defense Forces choir:

Rest in Peace.