In the same year that we lost David Bowie and Prince, another legendary singer-songwriter in the name of Leonard Cohen was also put to rest. Leonard Cohen was the famous Canadian singer from Montreal who was also a novelist at some point of his career. Popular for being ahead of his time in discussing sexuality and religion, Leonard Cohen is up there among the greats with hits like “Suzanne”, “So Long Marianne”, and “Dance Me To The End of Love”.
In honor of his legacy, we at The Level would like to list down the best five covers of his finest work, covered by big-name artists with their own renditions of Cohen’s masterpiece. Here are the best five Leonard Cohen covers:
- “Chelsea Hotel No.2” by Lana Del Rey
Leonard Cohen was almost an unknown name to the young and naive Lana Del Rey crowd due to the generation gap. But Lana Del Rey, who thought highly of Cohen, knew that he deserved to be known and credited by the young music fans, thus performed this emotional cover of Chelsea Hotel No.2.
- “Suzanne” by Nick Cave
Nick Cave is Australia’s favorite solo rock darling dubbed the “Prince of Darkness”. The Prince admitted that Leonard Cohen was one his biggest inspirations and has performed a couple of Cohen’s songs, including this beautifully haunting cover of Leonard Cohen’s Suzanne, that went on to be one of his most memorable tunes.
- “So Long, Marianne” by Russian Red
Russian Red was all the craze when her songs were on replay on MTV circa 2011 – 2012. Her album “I Love Your Glasses” was critically-acclaimed that led her to producing her breakthrough album “Fuerteventura” that made her MTV Espana’s best artist of the year. On the same month of the accolade, Russian Red covered “So Long, Marianne” as a tribute to her idol Leonard Cohen, who has inspired her to write songs and perform.
- “Bird On The Wire” by Father John Misty
Father John Misty has never hid his admiration towards Leonard Cohen. His songwriting style is similar to Cohen’s, as the Maryland-based indie singer-songwriter attempted to bring the spotlight back to powerful songwriting and lyricism. Father John Misty was also the drummer for indie giant Fleet Foxes before the band’s inevitable break up, and then went solo. John Misty covered “Bird On The Wire” in a radio show as it was his favorite song from Cohen, though he has covered other songs in later shows.
- “Hallelujah” by Jeff Buckley
There were many others who covered “Hallelujah” with Internet sensation Susan Boyle leading that list. But it was Jeff Buckley’s cover of the song that led to the song’s overwhelming popularity in the 90s. The cover was recognised as “one of those great songs” by TIME and was included in the “500 Greatest Songs Of All Time” by Rolling Stone. Unfortunately, Jeff Buckley died while taking a swim in the Mississippi River, cutting what could only have been a legendary career short.
Rest in peace Leonard Cohen, your songs will always be remembered.