SYLVIE SIMMONS / I’M YOUR MAN: The Life of Leonard Cohen
“There’s a crack in everything. That’s how the light gets in.” –Leonard Cohen
Singer. Songwriter. Poet. Icon. Leonard Cohen is undoubtedly one of the most influential music figures of the 20th century. The legend behind songs such as "Suzanne", "Bird on the Wire" and "Hallelujah" and groundbreaking literary works such as Beautiful Losers and Book of Mercy, Cohen is one of the most important and influential artists of our era, a man of powerful emotion and intelligence whose work has explored the definitive issues of human life -- sex, religion, power, meaning, love.
Even before he began recording music, Cohen was already an accomplished novelist and poet. There are few popular music artists who can truly be called poets -- that exclusive company includes Bob Dylan, Lou Reed, and Joni Mitchell. Cohen’s academic training in literature and pursuit of writing before his music career set him apart from his pop contemporaries when it came to setting lyrics to music. His dual careers in music and literature have transformed one another -- his songs revealing a rich, rare literary quality, and his poetry and prose informed by a rich musicality. He is truly an unmatched artist.
I’M YOUR MAN, by acclaimed music journalist Sylvie Simmons, is based on a wealth of research, including exclusive interviews with Cohen himself. This is the definitive work on Cohen’s life and career. Simmons also spoke to over a hundred key figures in Cohen’s life -- among them Cohen’s main muses, the women in his life, close childhood friends, producers and artists who have worked on his albums, and contemporary artists that have worked with Cohen or have been influenced by his work (such as David Crosby, Philip Glass, Judy Collins, Rufus Wainwright, Jackson Browne and many more).
Starting in Montreal, Cohen's birthplace, and where he first found fame as a poet in the fifties, I'M YOUR MAN follows his trail, via London and the Greek island of Hydra, to New York in the sixties, where Cohen launched his career in music. From there it traces the arc of his prodigious achievements to his remarkable retreat, when in the mid-nineties, on the cusp of marriage to a beautiful actress and enjoying the success of his best-selling album to date, he entered a monastery on a rocky mountaintop -- returning to find his bank accounts bled dry and forced back onto the road, at age seventy-three, for a wildly successful three-year world tour.
Whether navigating Cohen's journeys through the backstreets of Mumbai or his countless hotel rooms along the way, Simmons explores with equal focus every complex, contradictory strand of Cohen's life -- from the halls of academia to the arenas of rock 'n roll, she presents a deeply insightful portrait of both the artist and the man whose vision, spirit, depth and talent continue to move people like no one else.
Sylvie Simmons is one of the foremost journalists chronicling rock ’n’ roll. A winner of the ASCAP Deems Taylor Award for her liner notes to Leonard Cohen Live at the Isle of Wight 1970, she is the author of the biographies Serge Gainsbourg: A Fistful of Gitanes and Neil Young: Reflections in Broken Glass, and the short story collection Too Weird for Ziggy. She was born and raised in London and currently lives in San Francisco.