Cover image for I'm your man : the life of Leonard Cohen
I'm your man : the life of Leonard Cohen
Simmons, Sylvie.
Personal Author:
1st ed.
Publication Information:
New York : Ecco Press/HarperCollins Publishers, c2012.
Physical Description:
vi, 570 p., [16] p. of plates : ill., ports. ; 24 cm.
Born in a suit -- House of women -- Twenty thousand voices -- I had begun to shout -- A man who speaks with a tongue of gold -- Enough of fallen heroes -- Please find me, I am almost 30 -- A long time shaving -- How to court a lady -- The dust of a long sleepless night -- The tao of cowboy -- O make me a mask -- The veins stand out like highways -- A shield against the enemy -- I love you, Leonard -- A sacred kind of conversation -- The hallelujah of the orgasm -- The places where I used to play -- Jeremiah in Tin Pan alley -- From this broken hill -- Love and theft -- Taxes, children, lost pussy -- The future of rock 'n' roll -- Here I stand, I'm your man -- A manual for living with defeat.
In this biography the author explores the facets of Cohen's life from his early childhood in Montreal, to his entree into the worlds of literature and music, his immersion in Jewish culture, obsession with Christian imagery, and deep commitment to Buddhist detachment, including the five years he spent at a monastery outside of Los Angeles and his ordainment as a Rinzai Zen Buddhist Monk.
Personal Subject:


Call Number
Material Type
Elmira - Steele Memorial Library 1 BC6788S Adult Fiction Book
Watkins Glen Public Library 1 B COHEN Adult NonFiction Book

On Order



Singer/songwriter Leonard Cohen is one of the most important and influential musical artists of the past fifty years--and one of the most elusive. In I'm Your Man, journalist Sylvie Simmons, one of the foremost chroniclers of the world of rock 'n' roll and popular music, explores the extraordinary life and creative genius of Leonard Cohen.

I'm Your Man is an intimate and insightful appreciation of the man responsible for "Suzanne," "Bird on a Wire," "Hallelujah," and so many other unforgettable, oft-covered ballads and songs. Based on Simmons's unparalleled access to Cohen--and written with her hallmark blend of intelligence, integrity, and style--I'm Your Man is the definitive biography of a major musical artist widely considered in a league with the great Bob Dylan.

Readers of Life by Rolling Stone Keith Richards and Patti Smith's phenomenal Just Kids will be riveted by this fascinating portrait of a singular musical icon.

Reviews 3

Booklist Review

*Starred Review* As a teenager in Montreal, Leonard Cohen learned six chords on a guitar from a young Spanish teacher that would form the foundation for all of his songs. In this compelling biography, Simmons chronicles the career of the courtly, elegant I was born in a suit singer-songwriter, poet, and novelist, from his first band in Montreal (a country-and-western trio, no less) to his early days in New York, where he lived at the famous Chelsea Hotel, to his most recent world tour, during which the seventysomething Cohen literally skipped onstage. Simmons includes fascinating anecdotes Cohen meeting Judy Collins, who would later record one of his signature songs, Suzanne ; encountering fellow Canadian Joni Mitchell in Greenwich Village (Mitchell's A Case of You was inspired by Cohen); scary recording sessions with the gun-toting record producer Phil Spector, and spending time at a Zen monastery. Simmons also discusses at length Cohen's impressive body of work, including poetry and prose as well as songs (his iconic Hallelujah has been covered by more than 300 artists), mentions his numerous bouts of depression, and recounts his unfortunate financial difficulties when his former manager stole funds from his retirement account. A must for anyone interested in one of the most influential songwriters of our time.--Sawyers, June Copyright 2010 Booklist

Publisher's Weekly Review

In this vibrant and enthusiastic chronicle of Leonard Cohen's life, music critic Simmons (Neil Young: Reflections in Broken Glass) draws extensively on interviews with Cohen's friends and associates, as well as on his private archives, his unpublished writings, and his published stories and poetry. The author narrates Cohen's life from his childhood and youth in Montreal-where he started writing poetry and stories when he was 15-through his aborted college career to his move to Manhattan in pursuit of music; his rise to fame with such songs as "Suzanne," "Bird on a Wire," and "Hallelujah" (one of pop music's most recorded songs); his often difficult relationships with women; and his search for tranquility and order in his embrace of Buddhism. Carefully weaving the threads of all of his songs and albums through the patterns of his life, Simmons craftily explores the themes that regularly mark Cohen's work: desire, regret, suffering, love, hope, and hamming it up. Cohen emerges from this definitive biography as a sensitive and intensely serious artist whose reverence for the word and deep love and respect for his audiences continues "to dissolve all the boundaries between word and song, between the song and the truth, and the truth and himself, his heart and its aching." (Oct.) (c) Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved.

Library Journal Review

At age 78, iconic musician Leonard Cohen is enjoying a remarkable comeback. The singer, songwriter, poet, and novelist has started his fourth major tour in five years and released the highly acclaimed album Old Ideas in January. Veteran music journalist Simmons (Neil Young: Reflections in Broken Glass) spent three years tracking Cohen's life, career, and travels. The result is the most extensive biography of the man to date-more substantial and insightful than Anthony Reynolds's 2010 Leonard Cohen: A Remarkable Life. Simmons covers every aspect of Cohen's fascinating life, the highs and the lows (and Cohen had many lows). She interviewed the musician at length, as well as his friends, lovers, and associates (including Judy Collins, Lou Reed, and Philip Glass). The book discusses Cohen's creative process and his endless search for enlightenment at length. Simmons also provides a revealing account of Cohen's five years in a Zen Buddhist monastery and the financial and legal woes that propelled him back on the road as a performer. Verdict Die-hard fans will appreciate the many details of album production and business deals, while casual fans will enjoy the personal drama and the origins of Cohen's best-known songs, such as "Suzanne," "Hallelujah," "Sisters of Mercy," and "Famous Blue Raincoat."-Thomas Karel, Franklin & Marshall Coll. Lib., Lancaster, PA (c) Copyright 2012. Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted.

Table of Contents

Prologuep. 1
One Born in a Suitp. 3
Two House of Womenp. 16
Three Twenty Thousand Versesp. 32
Four I Had Begun to Shoutp. 51
Five A Man Who Speaks with a Tongue of Goldp. 72
Six Enough of Fallen Heroesp. 91
Seven Please Find me, I Am Almost 30p. 110
Eight A Long Time Shavingp. 135
Nine How to Court a Ladyp. 155
Ten The Dust of a Long Sleepless Nightp. 179
Eleven The Tao of Cowboyp. 198
Twelve O Make me a Maskp. 222
Thirteen The Veins Stand out Like Highwaysp. 245
Fourteen A Shield Against the Enemyp. 267
Fifteen I Love you, Leonardp. 294
Sixteen A Sacred Kind of Conversationp. 314
Seventeen The Hallelujah of the Orgasmp. 334
Eighteen The Places Where I Used to Playp. 355
Nineteen Jeremiah in Tin Pan Alleyp. 375
Twenty From this Broken Hillp. 398
Twenty-one Love and Theftp. 427
Twenty-two Taxes, Children, Lost Pussyp. 448
Twenty-three The Future of Rock 'n' Rollp. 472
Twenty-four Here I Stand, I'm your Manp. 488
Twenty-five A Manual for Living with Defeatp. 509
Epiloguep. 526
Author's Notep. 529
Notesp. 535
Indexp. 561

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