Skip to main content

What's Your Favorite Version of the Leonard Cohen Song Hallelujah?

Lately, I've been hearing more and more covers of the Leonard Cohen song "Hallelujah". This includes adaptations for TV, the movies, and special events, like the last Olympics and the recent Hope for Haiti fundraiser. The song was also performed by two recent American Idol finalists, Jason Castro (in 2008) and Lee DeWyze (this season, 2010). According to a Wikipedia article summarizing the song and the website The Leonard Cohen Files, the song has been covered by different artists almost 200 times. There's also a great awmusic.ca blog post that goes into more detail about the many covers of Hallelujah, and suggests that it is now "the most overused song ever". Good stuff.

Anyway, after hearing DeWyze attempt the song last month, it got me thinking about the different versions of the song, and which interpretation I like the best.

For my part, while I appreciate the emotional intensity of the the Jeff Buckley version, I favor the controlled sincerity in the John Cale treatment, and I was really impressed when I heard Kate Voegele's version a short time ago. She brings a lot of fresh energy to the song, and I think helps make it accessible for a new, younger audience.


What about you? What's your favorite version of the song? To help you think through some of the options, I've listed some of the more famous cover versions below.

Hallelujah - The Original
Leonard Cohen - Various Positions (1984)

Hallelujah - Famous Versions
John Cale - I'm Your Fan (1991)
Jeff Buckley - Grace (1994)
k.d. lang - Hymns of the 49th Parallel (2004)
Kate Voegele - Don't Look Away (2007)
Jason Castro - American Idol (2008)
Justin Timberlake & Matt Morris - Hope for Haiti Now (2010)
Lee DeWyze - American Idol (2010)

Comments

  1. I like (besides Cohen) Buckley and lang. But I also love Rufus Wainwright's version. You should check it out.

    ReplyDelete
  2. Thomas - Thanks for the song nods and for stopping by. I've heard the Lang version but not the Wainwright one. Wasn't that one originally slated for Shrek?

    ReplyDelete
  3. I actually like Lang's the best (also, besides Cohen) and Rufus Wainwright's version is beautiful. I haven't heard one yet that I have absolutely hated, though.

    ReplyDelete
  4. Halahblue, yes, we're fortunate that there are so many varied and heartfelt versions of the song. I wonder if any other Cohen songs could stand more covers. Time for a new "Everybody Knows" remake?

    ReplyDelete

Post a Comment

Popular posts from this blog

The Business Model Innovation Factory by Saul Kaplan (Book Review)

As a culture, we strive for personal transformation. Whether it's eating better and getting fit, redefining our professional value proposition through training and education, or simply trying to be kinder and gentler, we're constantly reinventing who we are and what we can do. We may not be successful all the time, or achieve breakthroughs like those featured on The Biggest Loser or facilitated by Tony Robbins , but millions of people successfully transform and reinvent themselves every year. Unfortunately, the very organizations where we work generally do not do the same. As Saul Kaplan elaborates in The Business Model Innovation Factory , most organizations struggle to transform from their core, initial business models and tend to become stagnant and vulnerable to disruptive competitors. The example Kaplan leads with is Blockbuster, which for a time owned the brick and mortar video and DVD rental space, until they were "netflixed" by a disruptive competitor (

2014 IBM Digital Experience Conference

In July, I will be presenting at the 2014 IBM Digital Experience Conference, an event focused on the latest technologies, best practices, and the business benefits of delivering great digital experiences. Below is the description for my session: Session:  BUS-S20 Date/Time:   Monday, July 21, 10:30 AM - 11:30 AM Successfully Enabling Enterprise Content Management, Cloud, Mobile, and Social Business at Superior Group Superior Group focuses on the agile delivery of people, process and project outsourcing solutions. Our session will detail how this organization accelerated its content management and social business needs by implementing a combination of content management, cloud, mobile, and collaboration solutions. Attend this session and you will have an opportunity to learn from Frank Gullo, Director of Digital and Mobile Strategy at Superior Group and IBM Social Business Insights blog contributor, on how a mid-sized organization transformed its digital capabilities a

10 Suggestions for Reopening Gyms in NY State

It’s been over 90 days since gyms were closed in NY State to help slow the spread of COVID-19, and this past week Governor Andrew Cuomo addressed the issue with the following update: "We are still looking at the science and the data. There has been information that those situations have created issues in other states. If we have that information we don't want to then go ahead till we know what we're doing. Right? This is a road that no one has traveled on before. And logic suggests that if you see a problem in other states then you explore it before you move forward in your state." Cuomo also suggested the exercisers in gyms would likely not wear masks which could spread more of the virus. While we all can applaud anchoring policy to science and data, it’s questionable if this has been done here. Despite literally months to research and formulate a plan, NYS has not offered any definitive science backed information tied to re-opening gyms. More troubling, NY has