I'm your man The life of Leonard Cohen

Sylvie Simmons

Book - 2012

Simmons explores the facets of Cohen's life -- from his early childhood in Montreal, to his entree into the worlds of literature and music, his immersion in Jewish culture, obsession with Christian imagery, and deep commitment to Buddhist detachment -- including the five years he spent at a monastery outside of Los Angeles and his ordainment as a Rinzai Zen Buddhist Monk.

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Subjects
Published
New York : Ecco Press c2012.
Edition
1st ed
Language
English
Physical Description
vi, 570 p., [16] p. of plates : ill. ; 24 cm
Bibliography
Includes bibliographical references (p. [535]-558) and index.
ISBN
9780061994982
0061994987
Main Author
Sylvie Simmons (-)
  • Born in a suit
  • House of women
  • Twenty thousand voices
  • I had begun to shout
  • A man who speaks with a tongue of gold
  • Enough of fallen heroes
  • Please find me, I am almost 30
  • A long time shaving
  • How to court a lady
  • The dust of a long sleepless night
  • The tao of cowboy
  • O make me a mask
  • The veins stand out like highways
  • A shield against the enemy
  • I love you, Leonard
  • A sacred kind of conversation
  • The hallelujah of the orgasm
  • The places where I used to play
  • Jeremiah in Tin Pan alley
  • From this broken hill
  • Love and theft
  • Taxes, children, lost pussy
  • The future of rock 'n' roll
  • Here I stand, I'm your man
  • A manual for living with defeat.
Review by Booklist Reviews

*Starred Review* As a teenager in Montreal, Leonard Cohen learned six chords on a guitar from a young Spanish teacher that would form the foundation for all of his songs. In this compelling biography, Simmons chronicles the career of the courtly, elegant—"I was born in a suit"—singer-songwriter, poet, and novelist, from his first band in Montreal (a country-and-western trio, no less) to his early days in New York, where he lived at the famous Chelsea Hotel, to his most recent world tour, during which the seventysomething Cohen literally skipped onstage. Simmons includes fascinating anecdotes—Cohen meeting Judy Collins, who would later record one of his signature songs, "Suzanne"; encountering fellow Canadian Joni Mitchell in Greenwich Village (Mitchell's "A Case of You" was inspired by Cohen); scary recording sessions with the gun-toting record producer Phil Spector, and spending time at a Zen monastery. Simmons also discusses at length Cohen's impressive body of work, including poetry and prose as well as songs (his iconic "Hallelujah" has been covered by more than 300 artists), mentions his numerous bouts of depression, and recounts his unfortunate financial difficulties when his former manager stole funds from his retirement account. A must for anyone interested in one of the most influential songwriters of our time. Copyright 2012 Booklist Reviews.

Review by Library Journal Reviews

To craft this portrait of the man who gave us such immortal songs as "Suzanne," prolific music journalist Simmons conducted more than 100 interviews with Cohen's friends and fellow musicians. Audience potential: Cohen has just wrapped up a sold-out three-year world tour after a 15-year hiatus. [Page 61]. (c) Copyright 2012. Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted.

Review by Publishers Weekly Reviews

In this vibrant and enthusiastic chronicle of Leonard Cohen's life, music critic Simmons (Neil Young: Reflections in Broken Glass) draws extensively on interviews with Cohen's friends and associates, as well as on his private archives, his unpublished writings, and his published stories and poetry. The author narrates Cohen's life from his childhood and youth in Montreal—where he started writing poetry and stories when he was 15—through his aborted college career to his move to Manhattan in pursuit of music; his rise to fame with such songs as "Suzanne," "Bird on a Wire," and "Hallelujah" (one of pop music's most recorded songs); his often difficult relationships with women; and his search for tranquility and order in his embrace of Buddhism. Carefully weaving the threads of all of his songs and albums through the patterns of his life, Simmons craftily explores the themes that regularly mark Cohen's work: desire, regret, suffering, love, hope, and hamming it up. Cohen emerges from this definitive biography as a sensitive and intensely serious artist whose reverence for the word and deep love and respect for his audiences continues "to dissolve all the boundaries between word and song, between the song and the truth, and the truth and himself, his heart and its aching." (Oct.) [Page ]. Copyright 2012 PWxyz LLC

Review by Publisher Summary 1

Exploring the many facets of Cohen's life, this intimate portrait of one of the most important and influential songwriters of our time draws upon his private archives and a wealth of interviews with many of his closest associates, colleagues and other artists whose work he has inspired. 40,000 first printing.

Review by Publisher Summary 2

Exploring the many facets of Cohen's life, an intimate portrait of the influential songwriter draws upon his private archives and interviews with many of his closest associates, colleagues, and other artists whose work he has inspired.

Review by Publisher Summary 3

Singer/songwriter Leonard Cohen is one of the most important and influential musical artists of the past fifty years'and one of the most elusive. In I'm Your Man, journalist Sylvie Simmons, one of the foremost chroniclers of the world of rock 'n' roll and popular music, explores the extraordinary life and creative genius of Leonard Cohen.I'm Your Man is an intimate and insightful appreciation of the man responsible for 'suzanne," 'Bird on a Wire," 'Hallelujah," and so many other unforgettable, oft-covered ballads and songs.  Based on Simmons's unparalleled access to Cohen'and written with her hallmark blend of intelligence, integrity, and style'I'm Your Man is the definitive biography of a major musical artist widely considered in a league with the great Bob Dylan.Readers of Life by Rolling Stone Keith Richards and Patti Smith's phenomenal Just Kids will be riveted by this fascinating portrait of a singular musical icon.

Review by Publisher Summary 4

Singer/songwriter Leonard Cohen is one of the most important and influential musical artists of the past fifty years'and one of the most elusive. In I'm Your Man, journalist Sylvie Simmons, one of the foremost chroniclers of the world of rock 'n' roll and popular music, explores the extraordinary life and creative genius of Leonard Cohen.I'm Your Man is an intimate and insightful appreciation of the man responsible for 'suzanne," 'Bird on a Wire," 'Hallelujah," and so many other unforgettable, oft-covered ballads and songs.  Based on Simmons's unparalleled access to Cohen'and written with her hallmark blend of intelligence, integrity, and style'I'm Your Man is the definitive biography of a major musical artist widely considered in a league with the great Bob Dylan.Readers of Life by Rolling Stone Keith Richards and Patti Smith's phenomenal Just Kids will be riveted by this fascinating portrait of a singular musical icon.