Leonard Cohen Sings “Hallelujah” To Bob Dylan
It’s a rather joyous song . I like very much the last verse. I remember singin’ it to Bob Dylan after his last concert in Paris. The morning after, I was having coffee with him and we traded lyrics. Dylan especially liked this last verse “And even though it all went wrong, I stand before the Lord of song With nothing on my lips but Hallelujah
– Leonard Cohen, from 1985 interview published in Paroles et Musiques
Of course, no post about Leonard Cohen, Bob Dylan, and “Hallelujah” would be complete without the anecdote, a classic in Cohen’s repertoire, about the contrast in the time required by Dylan and Cohen to compose a song. The story appears in several Cohen interviews. The following iteration is from Leonard Cohen, Los Angeles 1992, a section of “Songwriters On Songwriting” by Paul Zollo:
That [“Hallelujah”] was a song that took me [Leonard Cohen] a long time to write. Dylan and I were having coffee the day after his concert in Paris a few years ago and he was doing that song in concert. And he asked me how long it took to write it. And I told him a couple of years. I lied actually. It was more than a couple of years.
Then I praise a song of his, “I and I,” and asked him how long it had taken and he said, “Fifteen minutes.” [Laughter]
Bob Dylan Sings “Hallelujah” To Leonard Cohen’s Montreal
Dylan went on to be one of the first artists to cover “Hallelujah,” performing it twice in his 1988 concert tour.. When Dylan’s Never Ending Tour came to Montreal in 1988, he performed “Hallelujah.” Dylan sang it once more in Los Angeles on Aug 4, 1988.
Bob Dylan – Hallelujah
Montreal: July 8, 1988
Credit Due Department: Photo of Dylan playing Barcelona in 1984 by Stoned59 – originally posted to Flickr as Bob Dylan, CC BY 2.0, via Wikipedia
The Cohen-Dylan Interface
All posts about Leonard Cohen’s & Bob Dylan’s opinions of each other, their meetings, and comparisons by others can be found at
Note: Originally posted May 10, 2010 at 1HeckOfAGuy.com, a predecessor of Cohencentric