“I went to a Dylan concert and the first song that was by the opening act was Hallelujah… I’d never heard it before so I went out looking for it. I wound up asking Leonard [Cohen] for the lyrics and he sent me… 15 verses. So I chose all the cheeky verses, the ones that weren’t quite right.” John Cale

 

Cale earned an unusual hit with his cover [of Leonard Cohen’s Hallelujah] when it appeared in the 2001 film Shrek, but he had recorded it a decade earlier for the compilation I’m Your Fan. He discovered it in an unusual place. “I went to a Dylan concert and the first song that was by the opening act was ‘Hallelujah’ with a choir,” he recalled. “I’d never heard it before so I went out looking for it. I wound up asking Leonard for the lyrics and he sent me the lyrics: 15 verses. So I chose all the cheeky verses, the ones that weren’t quite right. I couldn’t sing the religious ones. You could tell from the structure of that thing, it was going to be around for a long time.

From John Cale’s Velvet Underground Talk: 10 Things We Learned By Kory Grow (Rolling Stone: October 12, 2018). Photo by Yves Lorson – originally posted to Flickr as John Cale, CC BY 2.0, Link

Note: Cale told his story of first hearing Hallelujah in a 2013 interview but then reported the song was sung by Dylan rather than an opening act: “That’s really a catchy chorus” – John Cale Talks About His Cover Of Leonard Cohen’s “Hallelujah”

“I didn’t come to Helsinki to fool you” Leonard Cohen Performs Hallelujah, Featuring Neil Larsen – Helsinki 2012

Leonard Cohen – Hallelujah
Helsinki: Sept 2, 2012
Video by

Originally posted Sep 3, 2012 at 1HeckOfAGuy.com, a predecessor of Cohencentric

Video: The Quadratic Formulation Of Leonard Cohen’s Hallelujah

While I typically shun versions of Leonard Cohen’s Hallelujah that have been massively rewritten to accommodate. for example, someone’s vision of American holidays or NFL heroes, I am more forgiving of this effort that employs Leonard’s classic as an assist to aspiring mathematicians.

Originally posted January 5, 2012 at DrHGuy.com, a predecessor of Cohencentric

Justin Timberlake-Matt Morris Hope For Haiti Now Cover Of Leonard Cohen’s Hallelujah Becomes Most Downloaded Song On iTunes – Jan 26, 2010

The cover of Leonard Cohen’s Hallelujah by Justin Timberlake and Matt Morris at the Hope For Haiti Now charity telethon held on January 22, 2010 proved incredibly popular. According to Idolator (January 26, 2010):

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.

Originally posted Jan 27, 2010 at 1HeckOfAGuy.com, a predecessor of Cohencentric. The video has been updated.

“Just to say ‘Hallelujah’, to praise the energy that manifests, just to affirm our journey. It’s very invigorating to sing that word.” Leonard Cohen

birm-hallelujah

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The word ‘Hallelujah’ of course is so rich, so abundant. It’s a wonderful word to sing and people have been singing that word for thousands of years. It seems to call down some beneficial energy when you declare it in the face of the kind of catastrophes that are manifesting everywhere. Just to say ‘Hallelujah’, to praise the energy that manifests, just to affirm our journey. It’s very invigorating to sing that word.quotedown2

Leonard Cohen

 

From Leonard Cohen: ‘I’m a closet optimist’ [a report on the Sept 16, 2014 London Press Preview Of Leonard Cohen’s Popular Problems] by Andy Morris. Gigwise, Sept 16, 2014. Image is a screen capture from a video of Leonard Cohen performing Hallelujah in Birmingham – 2013.

“We can listen to [Hallelujah] a thousand times, and every time we discover things. I do not know anyone who can handle the language like [Leonard Cohen], to choose the simplest words but go to the bone. Yet they are never flat; they have a depth, a sensuality, a sophistication.” Dominique Issermann

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But since that time [when we were together], I have taken a step back. I am much more attentive to his texts today. When we were together, I was very active, maybe too much, and when I saw him anxious, I did not pay enough attention; I did not realize how difficult it was. I heard him working for two years on Hallelujah before it was finished. This song – we can listen to it a thousand times, and every time we discover things. I do not know anyone who can handle the language like him, to choose the simplest words but go to the bone. And yet they are never flat, they have a depth, a sensuality, a sophistication. ‘I came so far for beauty / I left so much behind / My patience and my family / My masterpiece unsigned.’ It’s sublime, is it not? It is revised, refine, purified, polished, until only the essence remains: hieroglyphs. quotedown2

Dominique Issermann

 

From Ma vie avec Leonard Cohen : “Je l’ai entendu travailler deux ans sur ‘Hallelujah’” par François Armanet et Bernard Loupias (L’Obs: Nov 11, 2016). Interview originally published in “Le Nouvel Observateur” of January 26, 2012. Excerpt via computer translation with assistance from Coco Éclair. Photo by Dominique BOILE.