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5 Leonard Cohen Songs That Might Save Your Sanity

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Seven years ago I was standing in the crowd under the arcades in St. Mark’s Square in Venice, waiting for the storm to pass. It was a warm August night and I don’t remember if rain had been forecast. The crowd grew restless, more rain could mean that Leonard Cohen, who we came to see, would not appear on stage. Which, obviously, would have been a tragedy – I’d pass the square earlier in the day during the sound check and the atmosphere was … sublime.

Luckily, it was decided that the rain was light enough a simple delay would do. So, together with the rest of the people, I squeezed into one of the many tourist shops nearby, handed over 9 Euros and put on a plastic blue raincoat (they had yellow ones, too, but nobody seemed interested) then returned to the square and waited. And then he came. And sang. For three hours.

I remembered the night this morning when I heard Leonard Cohen, 82, has died. Just as we thought the week couldn’t possibly get any worse.

He had a song for every occasion. Here are five to help you through the weekend.

1. Democracy

The heart has got to open in a fundamental way.

2. Anthem

That’s how the light gets in.

3. Hallelujah

… a minor fall, a major lift.

4. Take This Waltz

It’s yours now. It’s all that there is.

5. Closing Time

… looks like freedom but it feels like death … it’s something in between, I guess …

And an extra one, because it’s my favourite.

6. Alexandra Leaving

Thank you, Mr Cohen, for years of reminding us that no one is ever completely alone in this life. Secret or not. Goodbye now, master of dark and light. Safe travels.

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