Entertainment & Arts

'I met Leonard Cohen and cried'

Andrew Gryn and Leonard Cohen in their local bagel cafe in 2007 Image copyright Joe Morena
Image caption Andrew Gryn and Leonard Cohen in their local bagel cafe in Montreal in 2007

As the world mourns the death of Canadian singer, songwriter and poet Leonard Cohen, tributes have been pouring in.

His lyrics had a profound effect on many people's lives - from meeting him on a beach on a Greek island, to bursting into tears in his presence.

Here are some of your memories:

"He changed the way I sang"

Nick Garrie is a singer-songwriter who opened for Leonard Cohen in Spain in 1985.

"He was a mentor and completely changed the way I sang. He told me I needed to listen to the audience. It's uncanny that I wrote about him only recently on my Facebook page.

"He was wearing the black suit even then and was unfailingly polite and solicitous. He saw our little changing room and was horrified and moved us to his enormous dressing room.

"After the show, which he said was his best ever, he asked me how I got to be number one in Spain. I said I didn't know and he said he didn't either. His albums just washed up on different seashores in Europe.

"He came to the Spanish guitarist with some champagne. When I told him he didn't drink, he replied 'He does now' and poured it down his throat!

"It's funny to think that the man with the golden voice taught me how to sing and listen to an audience."

"I asked him what he did for a living. He said: 'I write a little, I sing a little'"

Denise Hayes in Stourport-on-Severn met Leonard on holiday on the Greek island Hydra.

"It was the early 70s. He would sunbathe on rocks close to where I was with my friends. He'd quietly arrive with his towel, a book and sometimes a beautiful woman or two.

"I was only in my early 20s and wasn't aware of how famous he was. As a joke, my older friends sent me to talk to him and ask him what he did for a living.

"He took my interruption with good grace and - with a wry smile and a twinkle in his eye - said in his very distinctive languorous and low voice: 'Oh, I write a little, I sing a little'."

Image copyright Denise Hayes
Image caption Denise Hayes (L) and friends before speaking to Leonard Cohen who was sunbathing nearby

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"I cried and mumbled how much I liked his work"

Jordan Peers was 21 years old when he met Leonard Cohen in a Leeds supermarket four years ago.

"I spoke to him and he was incredibly polite and humble. I'd like to say I said something deeply profound and meaningful to him but instead I cried and mumbled how much I loved his work.

"He shook my hand gave me an autograph to give to my mother. I saw him play live the next day and he was incredible."

"I was in awe - it was like meeting God"

Image copyright Al MacDonald
Image caption "I was in awe." Al MacDonald took this photo in 1970

Al MacDonald, in Largs, Scotland, who was an art student, took a photo of the singer when he was invited into his dressing room after his concert in Glasgow in 1970.

"There was virtually no security back then. He was busy with his band and backing singers smoking and drinking. Leonard saw me, came over and introduced himself.

"He wanted to know about me. I was in awe. It was like meeting God. I still remember his quiet charisma and gentle vibe. It was spiritual.

"He was an incredible wordsmith. He put a lot of complex emotions in simple phrases. The man is a legend who touched many lives."

"Kind and polite beyond belief"

Paul Baker, from Stenning in West Sussex, works for a company that arranges world tours and met Leonard when he was touring in Denmark.

"I'm really sad to hear the news. I joined him for three sections of his world tour in 2012. You could not wish to meet a kinder, gentler and funnier man.

"He invited me on board his tour bus and I chatted with him and the band, who all made me very welcome, on the way to the hotel in Denmark.

"He had time for everyone, the fans waiting outside the hotel and the people at the airport. He was kind and polite beyond belief. He did not do 'celebrity'. A true gentleman in every way."

"Let me hold the door for you"

Andrew Gryn attended an auction at Joe Morena's St-Viateur Bagel Shop in Montreal where Leonard Cohen was signing everything anyone requested.

"The money raised was going to the Montreal Children's hospital Foundation. My collection of Leonard Cohen CDs was autographed and donated. I kept the vinyl.

"As Joe and I said goodbye, Leonard got up and said 'Let me hold the door for you'. It might have been a normal act of a gentleman, but to the two of us it felt very spiritual and mystical.

"May your body rest and your spirit fill the hearts of mankind. May you hold the door open for many a soul."

Compiled by Sherie Ryder, UGC and Social News team

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