So long, Leonard

Leonard Cohen has died. His music won't. 

To get some idea of just how great the now-departed Leonard Cohen's musical legacy is, you can't just listen to his recordings. You have to look at how his works were standards for so many other artists. His songs were genius, and everyone wanted to make them their own.

Here's a sample to review over the weekend, as a sonic tonic in a world that increasingly seems to make very little sense.

We start here at home, with the Straitjacket Fits turning "So Long, Marrianne" into an alternative guitar band anthem. By the time I was old enough to start seeing them, they'd stopped playing it live. Bastards.

And almost as cool, The Pixies, covering "I Can't Forget".

Nick Cave's epic, 33 minute long version of "Tower of Song" (with condensed version here) ... along with his much more restrained (and, I suspect, sober) renderings of "Suzanne" and "I'm Your Man".

And speaking of "Suzanne", here's REM rewriting it as "Hope" (seriously - they gave Cohen a writing credit for it). Then there's their actual cover of "First We Take Manhattan".

Rufus Wainwright making "Chelsea Hotel" a torch song all of his own. And sister Martha with "The Traitor".

Lhasa De Sala, with "Who By Fire".

Johnny Cash playing "Bird on a Wire" on the second ever night of (oh my God - so young!) Jon Stewart's chat show. Obviously a bit of a favourite with outlaw country singers, because here's Willie Nelson's version.

And, of course, the inevitable (but only because it is so gorgeous) John Cale cover of "Hallelujah" ... with Jeff Buckley's OK, but never as good, attempt here.

So - so long, Leonard. Gone, but never forgotten.