Photo Credit: Photo courtesy of Paul Bergen European Pressphoto Agency
It’s hard to write a definitive biography of an artist with as many career and relationship arcs as Leonard Cohen has experienced in his 78 years on earth. But that’s exactly what celebrated music journalist Sylvie Simmons has done with I’m Your Man: The Life of Leonard Cohen.
Cohen’s iconic stature as singer, songwriter, novelist and poet certainly merits a definitive work on his life and career. After spending a decade as one of the most critically acclaimed voices in Canadian poetry, Cohen moved to the United States to pursue a career as a folk singer-songwriter and achieve more financial success.
Cohen then became one of the most influential music figures of the 20th century, establishing a musical career based on powerfully emotional songwriting.
Simmons is just the writer to chronicle Cohen’s dual careers in music and literature, having a rich writing history of her own that spans over 35 years. Her work has appeared in Rolling Stone, The Guardian, San Francisco Chronicle, and MOJO, for which she is Contributing Editor and Americana columnist. She also authored the biographies Serge Gainsbourg: A Fistful of Gitanes and Neil Young: Reflections in Broken Glass.
Simmons covers Cohen’s complex love life, extravagant drug and alcohol use and the financial swindle that led to his remarkable comeback as a septuagenarian live performer.
Listen to Author Sylvie Simmons talk with World Cafe host David Dye about her new book. From his early days as a poet, then as songwriter and performer, simmons discusses Cohen's charming yet elusive manner as an interview subject, his famous work with Phil Spector, and Cohen's years-long labor of writing the song, "Hallelujah."
Leonard Cohen / Sisters of Mercy / Songs of Leonard Cohen
Judy Collins / SUZANNE/ The Very Best Of Judy Collins
Leonard Cohen / Hallelujah / Various Positions
Leonard Cohen / I'M YOUR MAN / I’m Your Man