Leonard Cohen receives lifetime achievement Grammy
The 75-year-old poet was not the only one honored, with Michael Jackson receiving a posthumous nod.
Canadian poet and musician Leonard Cohen was honored for his lifetime achievement at the 52nd annual Grammy music awards, during a seperate ceremony at the Wilshire Ebell Theater in Los Angeles on Saturday.
The 75-year-old poet was not the only one honored with the prize, however, with Michael Jackson receiving a posthumous nod.
An unshaved Cohen, sporting a fedora and bolo tie, wryly noted that he never won a Grammy for any of his recordings.
"As we make our way toward the finish line that some of us have already crossed, I never thought I'd get a Grammy award. In fact, I was always touched by the modesty of their interest," he said to loud applause.
The 75-year-old Canadian folk poet did receive a Grammy two years ago as one of the featured artists on Herbie Hancock's surprise album of the year winner.
As a bonus, he recited the lyrics of his comic tune "The Tower of Song" featuring such lines as "I was born like this, I had no choice. I was born with the gift of a golden voice."
Aside from Cohen and Jackson, this year's ceremony also saw other lifetime achievement honorees, with country music star Loretta Lynn, Bobby Darin, guitarist David "Honeyboy" Edwards, trumpeter Clark Terry and classical pianist, as well as conductor and composer Andre Previn receiving the prize as well.
Last September, Cohen took to the stage at Ramat Gan stadium after breaking an Israeli record when all 50,000 tickets for his show were sold out in less than 12 hours, despite costing between NIS 1,000 and 1,200.
Before the concert, an event was held in the VIP section of the stadium for the Leonard Cohen Fund for Reconciliation, Tolerance and Peace, which gives support to bereaved Israeli and Palestinian families. At this event, grants were given to people who have suffered personally from the Israeli-Palestinian conflict but continue to believe in peace and work to achieve it.
Around 200 bereaved Israeli and Palestinian families attended the concert, among them renowned novelist David Grossman..
Cohen had announced about two months prior to the concert that the proceeds from his performance in Israel would go toward the reconciliation fund, after his plan to perform in Israel sparked opposition.
A pro-Palestinian group had called "Academic and Cultural Boycott of Israel" urged the singer to cancel the show and launched a protest campaign. And some Palestinian activists called for a boycott because of Israel's invasion of Gaza, which was aimed at stopping daily rocket attacks.
Cohen, who is Jewish but was ordained as a Buddhist monk, responded by offering to perform in the West Bank city of Ramallah. However, that offer was rejected by the Palestinian protesters. He then said all proceeds would go to Israeli-Palestinian peace organizations.
Initially, Cohen asked Amnesty International to help him distribute the funds, which he hoped would help smaller groups that work for coexistence between Israelis and Palestinians. But Amnesty backed out of that arrangement, so Cohen started his own charity to distribute money to community groups. The charity is run by a board of Israelis and Palestinians.