The consort of Janis Joplin and Rebecca De Mornay and one-time collaborator of Phil Spector, Leonard Cohen has for the last five years been a full-time resident of the Mount Baldy Zen Center near Los Angeles where he submitted to the rigors of zazen and communal living. He was officially ordained a Buddhist monk and given the name of Jikan (Silent One). Born in Montreal in 1934, Cohen received international recognition for his second collection of poems The Spice Box of the Earth in 1961, rising to prominence in 1967 with his debut album The Songs of Leonard Cohen. His most recent album, The Future, is his eleventh. He has written two novels including the cult classic Beautiful Losers, and eight volumes of poetry. Author David Sheppard explores Cohen's fifty year odyssey through Judaic mythology, drugs, alcohol, sex, and Buddhism. What he finds is a man with a unique ability to serve up bleak but heartfelt individual truth. "Cohen has always been a man of surprises, so much so that many take him to be a man of artful disguises (as he sometimes does himself). His life has always been dangerously mythic..." -- Pico Iyer
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David Sheppard writes for leading European music magazines Q and Mojo.From Library Journal:
Because the subjects of the publisher's "Kill Your Idols" series are "unafraid of experimentation," "hold nothing sacred," and "inspire skepticism of idol-making in their listeners" (for the most part), they are perhaps more magnetic than popular music's traditional gods and goddesses. These anti-idols may not have directly sprung from the pelvis of Elvis, but they are related to the Velvet One. Here, original research is not the point (rabid fans have frayed these musicians' yarns anyway); the authors relied on each performer's standard biography, documentaries, liner notes, and other sources to relate a condensed chronology of career and personal highs and lows. Rather, this is a chance for a "professional" fan (read: a music critic) to express his opinions on the roles that pompousness, vision, and circumstance played in his band's life. Each profile is under 150 pages and consists of three sections: "The Story," "The Music," and (often the most compelling section) "The Legacy." Quoth Quantick in his insightful closing: "People were inspired by The Clash not for what they actually achieved, but for what The Clash thought they might achieve." Much like Cliff Notes for frustrating music careers, these pocket-sized biographies contain indexes but no bibliographies. That absence, along with the personalized tone, recommends the series to comprehensive music collections. Johnny Green's A Riot of Our Own: Night and Day with the Clash (LJ 1/99) and Ira B. Nadel's Various Positions: A Life of Leonard Cohen (LJ 11/1/96) will well serve library patrons. [The standard Neil Young biography may end up being Shakey: The Biography of Neil Young by Jimmy McDonough, who spent eight years writing the tome. Right now, however, McDonough is suing Young for $1.8 million for prohibiting its publication after Young signed an agreement to cooperate with McDonough. Ed.] Heather McCormack, "Library Journal.
- Heather McCormack, "Library Journal"
Copyright 2000 Reed Business Information, Inc.
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