The Holy or the Broken: Leonard Cohen, Jeff Buckley, and the Unlikely Ascent of "Hallelujah" by Alan Light“A venerated creator. An adored, tragic interpreter. An uncomplicated, memorable melody. Ambiguous, evocative words. Faith and uncertainty. Pain and pleasure.” Today, “Hallelujah” is one of the most-performed rock songs in history. It has become a staple of movies and television shows as diverse as Shrek and The West Wing, of tribute videos and telethons. It has been covered by hundreds of artists, including Bob Dylan, U2, Justin Timberlake, and k.d. lang, and it is played every year at countless events—both sacred and secular—around the world.
Yet when music legend Leonard Cohen first wrote and recorded “Hallelujah,” it was for an album rejected by his longtime record label. Ten years later, charismatic newcomer Jeff Buckley reimagined the song for his much-anticipated debut album, Grace. Three years after that, Buckley would be dead, his album largely unknown, and “Hallelujah” still unreleased as a single. After two such commercially disappointing outings, how did one obscure song become an international anthem for human triumph and tragedy, a song each successive generation seems to feel they have discovered and claimed as uniquely their own?
Through in-depth interviews with its interpreters and the key figures who were actually there for its original recordings, acclaimed music journalist Alan Light follows the improbable journey of “Hallelujah” straight to the heart of popular culture. The Holy or the Broken gives insight into how great songs come to be, how they come to be listened to, and how they can be forever reinterpreted.
Leonard Cohen / Jeff Buckley, Hallelujah - Behind The Song #8
What did Leonard Cohen really mean when he sang ‘Hallelujah’?
Buckley's version is the most enduringly popular and critically acclaimed cover of the song to date. John Cale selected the verses by Leonard Cohen which most covers have since followed. Cohen wrote around 80 draft verses for "Hallelujah", with one writing session at the Royalton Hotel in New York where he was reduced to sitting on the floor in his underwear, banging his head on the floor. Since , "Hallelujah" has been performed by a wide variety of singers: over , and in various languages. I think it's a good song, but I think too many people sing it. Must we have it at the end of every single drama and every single Idol? And once or twice I've felt maybe I should lend my voice to silencing it but on second thought no, I'm very happy that it's being sung.
Read the inside story of the writing and recording of Leonard Cohen's oft-covered masterpiece "Hallelujah. Related Leonard Cohen Dead at Bob Dylan was one of the first to recognize its brilliance, playing it at a couple of shows in Here is an excerpt. A group of musicians from Tulsa provided the backbone of the arrangements.
"Hallelujah" is a song written by Canadian singer Leonard Cohen, originally released on his album Various Positions (). Achieving little initial success, the.
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John Cale - Hallelujah (Lyrics) (best version)
Make sense of a disrupted world. David Cheal. Report a mispronounced word. He was spending much of his time with his children in the south of France, but eventually a collection of songs came together. When Cohen took the album to his record company, Columbia, the suits were not impressed, judging that the album was not good enough to merit release in the US.
Hallelujah is the song we will all be singing this Christmas, although not necessarily in praise of the Lord. For all its air of religious devotion, Leonard Cohen's Hallelujah is a very secular ballad of desire and rejection, failure and transcendence. It is set to become the most philosophically complex Christmas number one in the history of the pop charts. Three versions are currently competing for that honour, Cohen's stately original at a lowly number 34 , the late Jeff Buckley's towering recording currently at three, driven by an internet campaign to save the song from the clutches of Simon Cowell and the firm favourite from X Factor winner Alexandra Burke. Leonard Cohen and the X Factor is not an obvious union. For one thing, if the veteran singer-songwriter had ever auditioned, he wouldn't have got past the first round. One can only imagine Cowell's withering contempt for Cohen's bassy, fragile and idiosyncratic vocal style.