A Broken Hallelujah - Leonard Cohen's Secret Chord

Episodes

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052014060620190329 (BBC7)
20190330 (BBC7)

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.

Now hugely successful, Cohen retreats to Mount Baldy to spend time with his guru.

Serialised book readings, featuring works from various genres

012014060220190325 (BBC7)
20190326 (BBC7)

The loss of Cohen's father, when he was just nine years old, shaped the musician forever.

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 depression and years spent in hermit-like isolation, is still touring and now seems to be reaching a new peak of popularity.

Read by Julian Barrett, with Leonard Cohen quotes read by Colin Stinton.

Abridged by: Jo Coombs

Producer: Pippa Vaughan

A Loftus Media production for BBC Radio 4.

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?

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.

An early loss for the passionate poet-turned-musician.

Serialised book readings, featuring works from various genres

022014060320190326 (BBC7)
20190327 (BBC7)

Despite success as a poet, Cohen feels the need to escape to the Greek island of Hydra.

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 episode 2, despite success as a poet, Cohen feels the need to escape to the Greek island of Hydra.

Read by Julian Barrett, with Leonard Cohen quotes read by Colin Stinton.

Abridged by: Jo Coombs

Producer: Pippa Vaughan

A Loftus Media production for BBC Radio 4.

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.

Serialised book readings, featuring works from various genres

032014060420190327 (BBC7)
20190328 (BBC7)

In the Chelsea Hotel in New York, Cohen turns his talents to songwriting.

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 third episode, having altered the course of his life with the decision to start writing music, Cohen faces a creative struggle with those around him in the recording studio. Will the release of Bird on the Wire change his fortunes?

Read by Julian Barrett, with Leonard Cohen quotes read by Colin Stinton.

Abridged by: Jo Coombs

Producer: Pippa Vaughan

A Loftus Media production for BBC Radio 4.

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.

Serialised book readings, featuring works from various genres

042014060520190328 (BBC7)
20190329 (BBC7)

Disaster threatens Cohen's first European tour, but in Buddhism he finds spiritual solace.

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.

Today, disasters threaten Cohen's first European tour, but in Buddhism he finds the spiritual solace which enables him to write the groundbreaking Hallelujah.

Read by Julian Barrett, with Leonard Cohen quotes read by Colin Stinton.

Abridged by: Jo Coombs

Producer: Pippa Vaughan

A Loftus Media production for BBC Radio 4.

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.

Serialised book readings, featuring works from various genres

05 LAST20140606

Now hugely successful, Cohen retreats to Mount Baldy to spend time with his guru.

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 Barrett, with Leonard Cohen quotes read by Colin Stinton.

Abridged by: Jo Coombs

Producer: Pippa Vaughan

A Loftus Media production for BBC Radio 4.