Leonard Cohen is a modern-day renaissance man–musician, poet, philosopher, mystic. He’s both a practicing Buddhist and an observant Jew. And, as we have previously noted on Jewniverse (read it here), some of his songs are so intricately based on Bible texts, that he’s practically authored his own midrash.
He’s also been incredibly influential to countless musicians, from small-town singer-songwriters to A-list bands such as R.E.M. and Nick Cave and the Bad Seeds. The 2005 film Leonard Cohen: I’m Your Man is a collection of these artists paying tribute to Cohen, sharing stories about how they discovered Cohen’s work and performing his songs. Cohen’s music is sparse and intense, and the performances in the film are a testament to it–Cave’s version is spooky and funereal, while Rufus Wainwright gives a cabaret take on Cohen’s work, and Beth Orton gives a 1960s soul rendition. As a sort of finale, the band U2 performs “Tower of Song,” one of Cohen’s greatest songs, and Cohen himself accompanies them.
This just proves that the 77-year-old musician’s career is nowhere close to concluding–he can’t even stay out of his own tribute. You can now watch the entire film for free, online, right here.