So many people have covered Leonard Cohen. His popularity with musicians is comparable to Elvis, or the Beatles, to Jacques Brel or Brecht and Weil. So to try to come up with a top five Cohen covers is going to be hard, perhaps harder than picking a top five of his own tracks. Difficult or not, let's have a go
Beautiful though it is, 'HALLELUJAH' is not one of my top five Leonard Cohen tracks... his own version is special and so is Jeff Buckley's but listening to IMOGEN HEAP's breathy acapella version, it becomes something new, something that is entirely her own. Beautiful.
When she first came to the notice of the media, I decided I didn't like TORI AMOS without even really giving her a listen. That was wrong of me, as I realised when I heard her singing along with Maynard from Tool in their version of Mohammed My Friend. After that, I listened to much of her stuff and among her lovely covers was a cover of Mr Cohen's "FAMOUS BLUE RAINCOAT"
NICK CAVE's version of I'M YOUR MAN is so firmly fitted into his own ouevre that for a moment, one might forget it's Leonard Cohen's. And yet it's one of Cohen's finest songs as well. Both bring something wonderful to the party. I love it. What more can I say?
BUFFY SAINTE-MARIE doing "THE PARTISAN" is something wholly different. A free woman of the Piapot Cree Nation singing of resistance to the invaders has a different ring to it. And of course, Buffy's voice is something extraordinary, partaking as it does of the prairie winds themselves.
Sorry that Mr Cohen is speaking over this, but it's lovely. I love Antony's voice and it feels so, so very right for this song. ANTONY HEGERTY of Antony and the Johnsons singing "IF IT BE YOUR WILL".
Hurts to leave out. Loads including multiple versions of Hallelujah, The Partisan, and Famous Blue Raincoat.... And if anybody asks, I may add a link to the one I forgot.