Leonard Cohen

Sylvie Simmons' wonderfully thorough new biography of Leonard Cohen, I'm Your Man, could be read as a tragic tale. Cohen always disliked the rigors of touring, but because his records were rarely commercial successes, touring was his most profitable means of making money. In 2005, when he was 71-year-old legend and had socked away more than enough to retire on, he discovered his manager had robbed him of over $5 million dollars; Cohen found himself forced to hit the road again to rebuild his bank account. It's tempting to create a sorrowful picture of a tired and persecuted old man, but Simmons writes that Cohen found new life and inspiration in traveling: He's continued to tour even after amply restocking his retirement account, and his twelfth album, this year's Old Ideas, became the highest-charting record of his career. It's a resurgence that makes the words to his most famous song seem almost prophetic: "And even though it all went wrong/I'll stand before the Lord of Song/With nothing on my tongue but Hallelujah." ERIN K. THOMPSON

Fri., Nov. 9, 8 p.m., 2012

 
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