Why Leonard Cohen’s Touching Song Hallelujah is my Favourite and Why I Prefer the KD Lang Version
Leonard Cohen’s version of Hallelujah may be raw, rough and ready, but for a number of performers it has been delivered in the true spirit of everything Cohen meant it to be when he wrote it. Leonard Cohen is first and foremost a poet. He will be the first to stand in line to proclaim he is not a singer. Personally, I find his voice hauntingly realistic and have enjoyed the infamous ‘Hallelujah’ for many years. But my appreciation for the song changed when I witnessed KD Lang performing her version at the Winter Olympics in 2010.
It was certainly appropriate for Ms Lang to stand up and face an audience of billions in a country where she had spent many years as a resident. The fact that Leonard Cohen and his song ‘Hallelujah’ hailed from Canada may not have been coincidental but the result was ethereal. KD Lang’s voice, Leonard Cohen’s lyrics and composition resonated with a world audience and the best acoustics of our generation. The combination brought a new life to an old favourite and sent chills up the spine and leaves me with goosebumps every time I hear it.
The debut album Songs of Leonard Cohen was first released in 1968. Leonard Cohen was well into his thirties by then but had published poetry and prose in his earlier years. He was born in Montreal in 1934. Hallelujah can be found on his Essential Leonard Cohen album.
Leonard Cohen Singing From Helsinki
This video clip from Helsinki shows Leonard at his best. He lets the song, lyrics and music enfold him so we become enraptured by his delivery. He feels it, so we feel it. Hallelujah.
Leonard Cohen's Version - After All it is His Song
Hallelujah is on the Hymns of the 49th Parallel
KD Land's Version of Hallelujah
I apologise for not being able to bring you live footage of KD Lang’s version as performed at the Olympics but the recording is live. Apparently downloads are restricted to iTunes visitors. I'm sure you will be able to feel the power of KD’s voice and appreciate her interpretations of a classic from one of the master song writers – Leonard Cohen.
KD Lang - You be the Judge
What do the Lyrics Mean?
The lyrics to Hallelujah have changed since the original version from Leonard Cohen on his studio album Various Positions. The song has been performed by many including John Cale, Jeff Buckley, Bon Jovi and Justin Timberlake. It seems each performer puts their own mark on the song and the lyrics all of which amuses Leonard Cohen, given that his first recording was rejected by his record company. It has been reported there were 82 verses in the original lyrics. Some say it is biblical with mentions of Samson and Delilah, David and Goliath while others say it has sexual references or a touch of melancholy that could relate to relationships.
When interviewed Leonard Cohen refers to Hallelujah and says, "I can't sing and I can't play the guitar and I don't know if this is a song..." When he was inducted into the songwriter's Hall of Fame in 2008 he said there was a verse from the song he wanted to share.
I did my best, it wasn't much
I couldn't feel so I learned to touch
I told the truth, I didn't come to fool you.
And even though it all went wrong
I'll stand before the Lord in song
With nothing on my tongue but Hallelujah
- LEONARD COHEN LYRICS - Hallelujah
Lyrics to "Hallelujah" song by LEONARD COHEN: Now I've heard there was a secret chord That David played, and it pleased the Lord But you don't rea...
Song 1 Challenge My Favourite Song
This Hub has come about as part of a challenge set up by afunda. Instead of the usual 30 Hubs in 30 Days Challenge he has suggested writing about songs. The idea came from Facebook and you can read his introduction to the challenge in the link below followed by his favourtie song. Hallelujah is certainly up there with my favourite songs. I have too many to pick just one. Song 2 of the challenge will be my least favourite song. It would be wonderful to have you all follow this journey into the world of music through my ears and from the heart.
- 30 Day Song Challenge
It seems that in the past few years people got bored of the vast amount of things they can do on the world wide web. Perhaps not bored, just in a need of more challenges, new games which would keep them...
© 2011 Karen Wilton
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