Leonard Cohen Covers Leonard Cohen's Hallelujah

It appears we are again  in the midst of another infatuation with a cover of Hallelujah.  This time, it’s the version performed by Justin Timberlake and Matt Morris at Hope For Haiti.  According to Idolator,

As of yesterday, Justin Timberlake and Matt Morris’ take on “Hallelujah” from the Hope For Haiti Now telethon was the most downloaded track on iTunes from the charity event. Now it’s simply the most downloaded song on iTunes, period.

Readers may recall the Christmas 2008 Hallelujah Hullabaloo that saw Alexandra Burke’s cover of Hallelujah move into the highly valued and highly profitable Christmas No 1 position in Britain, based in large part on the publicity generated by Ms Burke’s appearance on X-Factor. 1

Just to keep things in perspective, I invite you to compare those efforts  with this 1985 performance of Hallelujah by Leonard Cohen – one of several versions he has sung over the years.

No one covers Cohen like Cohen.

Leonard Cohen – Hallelujah (Montreux 1985)

Video from messalina79

  1. Guardian []

One response to “Leonard Cohen Covers Leonard Cohen's Hallelujah

  1. Morris: “…the melody of this song doesn’t need much. It hardly needs anything.”
    A powerful song indeed, and a simple one. Their voices together remind me of the dynamic of the Webb sisters. It is such a pleasure to hear male voices in this style.

    Remember the ice skaters who used it? The mingled simplicity and complexity of the song itself carried them, as Gene Kelly’s genius was in making difficult dance moves look simple (while Astaire made them look difficult).

    At Thanksgiving my eighty-something year old father played a TV recording of Jack Imel doing “Old Bones”:

    [Old bones inside an old raincoat,
    old bones inside of old shoes
    ….But I love life, I’d like to do it again.
    Though I might not be much more than I’ve ever been.
    Just to have the chance to turn back the hands
    And let my life begin.
    Oh yeah, I’d like to do it again.]

    When someone asked him, “What would you do differently if you could do it again?”, he answered “Not much, really.”
    Who in our baby-boomer generation can say that? We have had one heartache after another. It brought tears to my eyes, not just because my father is dying of Shy-Drager syndrome, but because his generation had rules to follow, and when they followed them their lives turned out perfectly. But my generation, while having choices that generation never had, with one broken thing after another. Then I thought of Leonard singing Hallelujah–our lives may not be happy by our parent’s standards, but it means something to hear him sing with such conviction that it was indeed worth it.