I did my best, it wasn’t much
I couldn’t feel, so I tried to touch
I’ve told the truth, I didn’t come to fool you
And even though it all went wrong
I’ll stand before the Lord of Song
With nothing on my tongue but Hallelujah
“Hallelujah”, Leonard Cohen
I love you in a place where there’s no space or time
I love you for in my life you are a friend of mine
And when my life is over
Remember when we were together
We were alone and I was singing this song for you
“A Song for You”, Leon Russell
Now, I ask you: Have there ever been any lyrics written to surpass the two examples I just presented?
Two songwriting giants no longer roam the earth.
We lost Leonard Cohen and Leon Russell in quick succession, recently. Each lived a life long and full – Cohen died at the age of 82, Russell at 74 – yet it still feels like they both departed too soon. But, boy, were we lucky to have ’em with us for awhile.
This has been a tough year for music fans.
It started with the one-two gut punch of David Bowie and Glenn Frey’s passing, followed by Maurice White of Earth, Wind and Fire, the loss of country music legend Merle Haggard, the tragic, untimely death of Prince, along with several more of their brilliantly talented fellowship.
And now, these two legendary figures.
If you’re not familiar with the works of Leonard Cohen and Leon Russell, do yourself a big favor, and get acquainted. If you want to learn about songwriting, these gentlemen are the Master Class. You might discover you know more of their songs than you thought; you just never knew these guys wrote them.
Vocally, each of them is, putting it kindly, an acquired taste. Just warning you, in case you’ve never heard them before. But don’t listen to their voices; listen to their words.
And appreciate the two peerless craftsmen who graced us with them.
Rest in peace, gentlemen. Thanks for what you shared with us.
P.S. – Russell’s “Tightrope” features one of my all-time favorite lines:
Like a rubbernecked giraffe, you look into my past.
Gotta love it.