Fred Mogul, Reporter, WNYC News
Fred Mogul has been covering healthcare and medicine for WNYC since 2002.
Thoughts on the Hardest Working (and most Self-Serious) Septuagenarian in Showbiz
To watch Bruce Springsteen is to marvel at his physical energy and hope you can move half so good at age 60. To listen to Leonard Cohen is to be in awe of his pipes and hope that at age 75 your voice could have a fraction of his timbre and vitality. His bass still rumbles fierce, the edges are there, and those deep, rich tones seem NOT to have softened and mellowed over time the way people are always describing fine wine and Scotch.
And then there's the songs.
It's still tough for me to take a whole bunch of Leonard Cohen songs at one sitting. He just doesn't have the emotional range or the sudden, surprising imagery of a Paul Simon or Bob Dylan, or even a Springsteen or Elvis Costello. And this comes from someone who's a sucker for a certain kind of coming-of-age self-flagellation. Don't tell anyone, but I still have a soft spot for J.D. Salinger.
But the die-hard Leonard Cohen fans who surrounded me at the Beacon -- man, they must be in a whole different league, when it comes to the morose self-seriousness that, forgive me, I associate with adolescence.
One Aussie sitting near me told an ecstatic thirty-something woman with a vast, unruly Jewfro that he wept during the song "Everybody Knows."
Said the Aussie, of Cohen: "He must be one of the coolest cats ever."