Leonard Cohen deserves to be remembered for more than 'Hallelujah'

He left this world with an amazing number of profound songs. Don't go for the easy one.

Leonard Cohen is dead at 82
(Image credit: Joel Saget/AFP/Getty Images)

"Ring the bells that still can ring, forget your perfect offering," Leonard Cohen sings in "Anthem," a song that took him a decade to write. "There is a crack in everything — that's how the light gets in."

Cohen's death, at age 82, was announced on Thursday night, and "Anthem" isn't the song he will be most remembered by — though its lyrics are certainly a salve. No, Leonard Cohen is now eternally joined to "Hallelujah," his 1984 pop hymn dusted off in 1991 by John Cale, immortalized by Jeff Buckley in 1994, then recorded by almost literally everybody else — Newsweek's Zach Schonfeld ranked the Top 60 versions of the song, and that was almost two years ago. There are hundreds more. "Hallelujah" was reprised so often that Cohen once half-jokingly called for a moratorium on new recordings of it. No one person can claim the song anymore.

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