Now hugely successful, Cohen retreats to Mount Baldy to spend time with his guru. Concluded by Julian Barrett and Colin Stinton.
As Leonard Cohen turns 80, a new biography by Liel Leibovitz explores the life, work and passion of the poet-turned-musician. What makes Cohen such an enduring international figure in the cultural imagination?
Granted extraordinary access to Cohen's personal papers, Leibovitz evokes a complicated, sometimes contradictory figure. Born into a Canadian religious Jewish family, for years a reclusive lyricist on the Greek island of Hydra, known for his bold political commentary, his devotion to Buddhist thought and his later despair over contemporary Zionism, Cohen hardly follows the rules of a conventional rock star.
An intimate look at a man who, despite battles with stage fright and years spent in hermit-like isolation, is still touring and now seems to be reaching a new peak of popularity.
In the final episode, Cohen begins the 1990s as a hugely successful songwriter, poet and performer. Yet spiritual crises still plague him, and he retreats to the San Gabriel Mountains to spend time with his guru. By 2006, he's forced to start touring again when evidence emerges that a long-time employee and friend may have stolen millions of dollars from him.
Read by Julian Barratt, with Leonard Cohen quotes read by Colin Stinton.
Abridged by: Jo Coombs
Producer: Pippa Vaughan
A Loftus Media production for BBC Radio 4.
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