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Leonard Cohen attends the ‘Prince of Asturias Awards 2011’ ceremony at the Campoamor Theater on October 21, 2011 in Oviedo, Spain.Carlos Alvarez/Getty Images
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Leonard Cohen Wins His First Grammy

Another reminder that we need our man now more than ever

by
Liel Leibovitz
January 29, 2018
Carlos Alvarez/Getty Images
Leonard Cohen attends the 'Prince of Asturias Awards 2011' ceremony at the Campoamor Theater on October 21, 2011 in Oviedo, Spain.Carlos Alvarez/Getty Images

Leonard Cohen won a Grammy last night. He was awarded for his song “You Want It Darker,” the title track from his final studio album of the same name, winning in the Best Rock Performance category. He’d already won a Lifetime Achievement Award in 2010, and was honored in 2008 for a Joni Mitchell covers album in which he participated, but this is his first solo win.

It’s another of life’s bitter stings, more and more of them going around these days, that Cohen wasn’t around to accept this honor in person, having been called before the Lord of Song in November of 2016. Among his long list of talents was a penchant for giving award show speeches that were graceful and grateful and warm, perfect manifestations of the man himself. In 1991, for example, upon his indictment to the Canadian Music Hall of Fame, he had this to say:

If I had been given this attention when I was 26, it would have turned my head. At 36 it might have confirmed my flight on a rather morbid spiritual path. At 46 it would have rubbed my nose in my failing powers and have prompted a plotting of a getaway and an alibi. But at 56 — hell, I’m just hitting my stride and it doesn’t hurt at all.

Our man may be gone, but he will never be forgotten. And on this dreary Monday, there’s little better to do than listen to the eternal wisdom of our great priest:

Liel Leibovitz is editor at large for Tablet Magazine and a host of its weekly culture podcast Unorthodox and daily Talmud podcast Take One.

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