Video: The Most Entertaining Performance Of That Other Hallelujah

In 2008, DrHGuy discovered that there existed a musical work bearing “Hallelujah” in the title that was not only performed by someone other than Leonard Cohen but was also composed by someone other than Leonard Cohen. Heck, it turns out it wasn’t even based on Leonard Cohen’s “Hallelujah.”

I know. What are the odds?

Consequently, the Heck Of A Guy Blog is positively giddy about presenting for your entertainment, edification, and even a long shot at salvation, Handel’s Hallelujah Chorus performed by the Boston Gay Men’s Chorus, featuring les freres de St. Francis de la Sissies,  from Stars: A Holiday Celebration. (December 2008 At Jordan Hall at New England Conservatory.)

K.D. Lang Performs Leonard Cohen’s Hallelujah – 2006 Canadian Songwriter’s Hall of Fame

K.D. Lang & Leonard Cohen at the 2006 Canadian Song Writers Hall of Fame

After hearing KD Lang perform that song [Hallelujah] at the Canadian Songwriter’s Hall of Fame in 2006 we [Anjani Thomas & Leonard Cohen] looked at each other and said, “Well, I think we can lay that song to rest now! It’s really been done to its ultimate blissful state of perfection.” Anjani Thomas1

This post is offered in appreciation of the graciousness extended me by the Duchess’s family at holiday celebrations in Greensboro and Chapel Hill.

KD Lang – Hallelujah
  1. Anjani Thomas, Leonard Cohen’s backup singer & partner, quoted in Interrupting Yr Broadcast: Anjani Thomas  by Alan Pedder (Wears the Trousers Magazine. 8 July 2008) []

KD Lang’s “Hallelujah” Is On Leonard Cohen’s Jukebox


Leonard Cohen’s Jukebox

Biggest Influence on My Music – The jukebox. I lived beside jukeboxes all through the fifties. … I never knew who was singing. I never followed things that way. I still don’t. I wasn’t a student of music; I was a student of the restaurant I was in — and the waitresses. The music was a part of it. I knew what number the song was.

- Leonard Cohen (Yakety Yak by Scott Cohen, 1994)

Leonard Cohen’s Jukebox: Over the years, Leonard Cohen has mentioned a number of specific songs he favors. Leonard Cohen’s Jukebox is a Heck Of A Guy feature that began collecting these tunes for the edification and entertainment of viewers on April 4, 2009.  All posts in the Leonard Cohen’s Jukebox series can be found at the Leonard Cohen’s Jukebox Page.


“Ultimate Blissful State Of Perfection”

KD Lang - 2010 Vancouver Winter Olympics opening ceremonies

In the case of this song, the evidence of Leonard Cohen’s approbation comes from his long-time backup singer and partner, Anjani Thomas:

After hearing KD Lang perform that song at the Canadian Songwriter’s Hall of Fame in 2006 we looked at each other and said, “Well, I think we can lay that song to rest now! It’s really been done to its ultimate blissful state of perfection.”1

KD Lang – Hallelujah (2006 Canadian Songwriter’s Hall of Fame)
  1. Interrupting Yr Broadcast: Anjani Thomas  by Alan Pedder (Wears the Trousers Magazine. 8 July 2008) []

Leonard Cohen’s “Hallelujah” Officially Reaches Cultural Ubiquity In Germany

The Hallelujah Invasion

Most Leonard Cohen fans have – mercifully – been desensitized to the multiple variations of “Hallelujah” sung by talent show contestants,1  professional entertainers,2 and high school choirs, the many TV shows and movies  that plug in “Hallelujah” to signal a point of high drama, spiritual awakening, birth, death, or sex,3 and even the bowdlerizations of that song.4

In Germany, however, the apparently irresistible crusade to saturate all aspects of  culture by  “Hallelujah” has achieved its most impressive victory thus far. For the explanation, I defer to the expertise of Cora Buhlert, whose January 21, 2011 post at her eponymous blog bears the auspicious title, “Three Times Hallelujah and Your Mama.”  Excerpts follow:

Today, I chanced to hear the song “Hallelujah” by Leonard Cohen three times in a single day. Which is quite unusual, because even though there are umpteen thousand cover versions, it isn’t played all that often.

The first time was on the car radio while driving to the supermarket. The second time was on TV, used as background music for the crime drama Countdown

… the third rendition I heard today was actually the weirdest one. I was walking across the schoolyard during the lunch break. On the playground, a couple of kids are swinging on some kind of carousel like contraption. I cast a glance at them to check if they’re not killing each other or making any other mischief. But before I continue my way into the administration wing, I hear something strange:

The kids are singing. And the song sounds familiar. I venture closer and notice that the song is Leonard Cohen’s “Hallelujah”. Why are kids singing “Hallelujah”, I wonder? After all, the song is probably older than their parents. Did they learn it in confirmation class or what?

By now I am close enough that I can make out the words and suddenly I realize that the kids are not singing Cohen’s “Hallelujah” at all, but a gag song called “Deine Mutter” (Your mama), which consists basically of a bunch of not very funny Yo Mama jokes set to the tune of “Hallelujah”. I’d actually heard part of the song on a student’s mobile before, but hadn’t made the “Hallelujah” connection, probably because I was busy telling the student to switch off the music and put the phone away, otherwise I’d confiscate it.

There is more, and, given the quality of the writing as well as the significance of the content, I urge viewers to read the entire piece at  Three Times Hallelujah and Your Mama, but the catastrophic implications are clear enough.

There is, of course, a YouTube video of the song although, oddly enough, it is in German.

Deine Mutter (Halleluja) – Song Lyrics

Video from DirkM291070

Credit Due Department: Adrian du Plessis, personable manager for Allison Crowe, alerted me to this post and the video as well as suggesting the term, “Cultural Ubiquity.”

  1. See, among others, It’s Like, You Know, Hallelujah, Totally and Sign That The Apocalypse Is Upon Us – Leonard Cohen’s “Hallelujah” Attributed To Alexandra Burke []
  2. See, among others, Bob Dylan Covers Leonard Cohen’s “Hallelujah”, Allison Crowe’s Cover Of Leonard Cohen’s “Hallelujah” Opens Celebration Of Great ExhibitionKD Lang Sings Leonard Cohen’s “Hallelujah” At Opening Of 2010 Vancouver Olympics, Another Cover Of Leonard Cohen’s Hallelujah, But It’s OK – It’s A Canadian Thing []
  3. See Leonard Cohen’s Hallelujah As Watchmen Sex Scene Soundtrack – Debate Continues []
  4. See Have Yourself A Merry, Liturgically Correct Hallelujah []