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 & 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.
Adam Sandler, with an assist from Paul Shaffer, performs a – oh, let’s call it a very special version of Leonard Cohen’s Hallelujah with lyrics customized to suit the occasion, the “12-12-12″ Sandy benefit concert.
Credit Due Department: Thanks to Jane Cartmill for alerting Heck Of A Guy to this gem.
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)
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.
Signs Of The Season – The Boston Gay Men’s Chorus Performs “Hallelujah”
Note: This video was first posted at Heck Of A Guy on December 24th, 2008, the midst of the Hallelujah Hullabaloo set off by the use of Leonard Cohen’s “Hallelujah” as the final song on X-Factor. It has since become an especially popular seasonal feature of this site. The following is excerpted from that 2008 entry, The Best Clever Take On The Other Hallelujah:
More Hallelujahs, More Awards
It never ends, does it? No sooner do I post my selections for and award HOAGies to the best comic adaptations of Leonard Cohen’s Hallelujah than a usually reliable source informs me that there exist music compositions featuring a titular “Hallelujah” that are not only written by someone other than Leonard Cohen but aren’t even versions based on Leonard Cohen’s Hallelujah.
I know. What are the odds?
Regardless, there is at least one kinda, sorta spoof (you’ll see what I mean by “kinda sorta” when you watch the video) of one of these non-Cohen Hallelujahs so to be fair, I am awarding one more Hallelujah HOAGie.
The full title of the award is The Best Clever And Funny Take On A Musical Composition With A Title That Includes Hallelujah That Was Not Written By Leonard Cohen That I Discovered On YouTube While Searching For Spoofs Based On Leonard Cohen’s Hallelujah.
That said, which is, by the way, no small task, we have a winner. The Heck Of A Guy Blog is positively giddy about presenting for your entertainment, edification, and even a long shot at salvation, The 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.)
One reference page with links to the best and most useful Leonard Cohen online resources: discography, concordance, articles, press coverage, humor, ...
Latest Addition: Bow Down Before The Sage From Mt Baldy by Gautam Malkani (Financial Times Jan 27, 2012) Addresses psychoeconomics that dominated the past few years of Leonard Cohen’s career; analytic, reality-focused & inspirational
Leonard Cohen’s Elegy For Janis Joplin – Chelsea Hotel #1
This video features the first version of the song Leonard Cohen would later revise into "Chelsea Hotel #2" along with images of Leonard Cohen, Janis Joplin - whose liaison with Cohen at the Chelsea Hotel led to the creation of the song, the Hotel itself, and other associated people & places.
Joni Mitchell and Leonard Cohen had a fling in the 1960s that, for unspecified reasons, was short-lived, with Cohen instigating the parting.
It was then and is now a complex connection. In 1988, Cohen said, I'm still very friendly with Joni - I had dinner with her before the tour, and I have the same admiration for her as you do. But I think it was Noel Harrison who came up to me in the LA Troubadour and said "How do you like living with Beethoven?"
Do I Have To Dance All Night Surpasses 70,000 Views
"Do I Have To Dance All Night" was performed many times in concerts but was never released in the US.
As part of my crusade to popularize this song, I've cobbled together 2 videos - one for the semi-funky 1976 version with Laura Branigan and one for the 1980 more gypsy, less disco version - that kinda sorta fit the music.
As of Dec 19, 2012, the video of the 1976 version of Do I Have To Dance All Night has been viewed 70,152 times.
This Heck Of A Guy compilation includes unreleased Leonard Cohen performances over a 30+ year period.
Track List: Vol 1
1. Feels So Good (The Other Blues Song)
2. Book Of Longing
3. The Darkness
6. Do I Have to Dance All Night (1976)
7. Blues By The Jews
Track List: Vol 2
1. Red River Valley
2. Never Got To Love You (Duet with Anjani)
3. Can't Help Falling In Love
4. Ride Around
5. The Union Makes Us Strong
6. We Shall Not Be Moved
7. To Love Somebody
8. The Hypnotist (Poem)
9. Chelsea Hotel #1
10. There's No Reason Why You Should Remember Me
11. Streets Of Laredo
12. Do I Have To Dance All Night (1980)
Now, Another Other Leonard Cohen Album, the second collection of unreleased Leonard Cohen songs joins the popular The Other Leonard Cohen Album to offer fans of the iconic singer-songwriter a total of 3 CDs of musical treats. Another Other Leonard Cohen Album includes the following tracks plus liner notes by Sylvie Simmons.
1. Je Veux Vivre Tout Seul
2. Kevin Barry
3. Die Gedanken Sind Frei
4. Store Room
5. As Time Goes By
6. Don’t Go Home with Your Hard-on
7. Blessed is the Memory
8. Silent Night
9. Dead Song
10. Another Saturday Night
11. Ballad of the Absent Mare
13. The Butcher
14. Un As Der Rebbe Singt
15. Song to the Machines
16. If It Be Your Will
17. Thirsty for the Kiss
18. A Thousand Kisses Deep
19. I Tried To Leave You
20. Whither Thou Goest
21. Mr Cohen Must Be Going
Photos of or related to Leonard Cohen that fall into specific themes have been among the ongoing features at DrHGuy, HOAG's sibling site. Galleries displaying collected images of 3 of these themes are now available at
And We’re Still Making Love In My Secret Life – Julie’s Story & Video
... I never had a chance. I was - and this is the only word that fits - smitten. I still am.
She was smart and quick-witted, although it would take me 3 years to recognize that she was, in fact, much smarter than me, and then another 2 years to forgive her for that. She was also good-looking and unabashedly sexy.
And, we fell madly, irredeemably, unflinchingly in love.
Complementing the unlikely story of how Julie and I met, fell in love, and - 9 years, 2 husbands, 1 wife, and 2 careers later - got together to spend an outrageously wonderful 20 years together before her death, a video, set to the poignant "In My Secret Life" by Leonard Cohen and Sharon Robinson, is now available that evokes the role Julie, who died 10 years ago, continues to play in my life.