Wednesday, February 9, 2011


The song, Hallelujah,  comes pretty close to being the perfect song. Lyrics by Leonard Cohen.  Here are several performances of this beautiful, haunting love song.

My favorite rendition is the powerful version by k.d.lang:

The classic version from the late Jeff Buckley:

Rufus Wainwright's version was used in the movie Shrek:

Then there is the original by the great LEONARD COHEN:


Lyrics by Leonard Cohen

Now I've heard there was a secret chord
That David played, and it pleased the Lord
But you don't really care for music, do you?
It goes like this
The fourth, the fifth
The minor fall, the major lift
The baffled king composing Hallelujah

Your faith was strong but you needed proof
You saw her bathing on the roof
Her beauty and the moonlight overthrew you
She tied you
To a kitchen chair
She broke your throne, and she cut your hair
And from your lips she drew the Hallelujah

Baby I have been here before
I know this room, I've walked this floor
I used to live alone before I knew you.
I've seen your flag on the marble arch
Love is not a victory march
It's a cold and it's a broken Hallelujah

Hallelujah, Hallelujah
Hallelujah, Hallelujah

There was a time you let me know
What's really going on below
But now you never show it to me, do you?
And remember when I moved in you
The holy dove was moving too
And every breath we drew was Hallelujah

Hallelujah, Hallelujah
Hallelujah, Hallelujah

Maybe there’s a God above
But all I’ve ever learned from love
Was how to shoot at someone who outdrew you
It’s not a cry you can hear at night
It’s not somebody who has seen the light
It’s a cold and it’s a broken Hallelujah

Hallelujah, Hallelujah
Hallelujah, Hallelujah

You say I took the name in vain
I don't even know the name
But if I did, well really, what's it to you?
There's a blaze of light
In every word
It doesn't matter which you heard
The holy or the broken Hallelujah

Hallelujah, Hallelujah
Hallelujah, Hallelujah

I did my best, it wasn't much
I couldn't feel, so I tried to touch
I've told the truth, I didn't come to fool you
And even though
It all went wrong
I'll stand before the Lord of Song
With nothing on my tongue but Hallelujah

Hallelujah, Hallelujah
Hallelujah, Hallelujah
Hallelujah, Hallelujah
Hallelujah, Hallelujah
Hallelujah, Hallelujah
Hallelujah, Hallelujah
Hallelujah, Hallelujah
Hallelujah, Hallelujah
Here's John Cale's version:

Kurt Nilsen, Espen Lind, Askil Holm, Alejandro Fuentes harmonize so finely with their version:

Flavored with county western by Willie Nelson:

So, who is your favorite artist for singing Hallelujah?


  1. That song always gives me goosebumps!

    I didn't know there were so many different 'versions' of it either.

    I didn't think I'd like Willie Nelson's version, but wow! It was great! And the cover was funny...naughty, considering the song, but fun!

    But my favorite was the John Buckley's classic version, followed by John Cale's version. I love the orchestra background!


  2. What I've always liked about Cohen's lyrics is that they cover the edges. He's aware that life is never so simple as we think it ought to be...especially the life of love. I find myself writing increasingly about the shades of love in my lyrics. My music guy has trouble sometimes trying to get his music to sound like the edges.

  3. K D Lang for sure. She sang it at our Olympics last year in British Columbia (local girl makes it big) and I can listen to her version over and over and over and over again. I will close my eyes and just feel that voice of hers.