Leonard Norman Cohen (September 21, 1934 – November 7, 2016) was a Canadian singer, songwriter, musician, painter, poet, and novelist, whose work dealt with religion, politics, isolation, sexuality, and relationships.
He was born into a middle-class Jewish family who told him, when he was a child, that he was “a descendant of Aaron, the high priest“.
When a teenager, he became interested in the poetry of Federico García Lorca, learned to play the guitar and formed a country–folk group. But, when he met a young Spanish flamenco guitar player who taught him “a few chords and some flamenco“, he switched to classical guitar
He had various jobs but focused on the writing of fiction and poetry, and went to live in quasi-reclusive conditions in his house on Hydra, a Greek island. In 1967, disappointed with his lack of financial success as a writer, he moved to the United States to pursue a career as a folk music singer and songwriter.
In 1994, Cohen retreated to a Zen Centre near Los Angeles, where he became a Zen Buddhist monk and spent five years of seclusion.
Among his most famous songs: “Hallelujah”, “Famous Blue Raincoat”, “Bird on the Wire”.