Thursday, February 14, 2008


Have you heard this song? Chances are you have, though you might not recognize the title. You may have heard me humming it since it's been stuck in my head lately. It was written in 1984 by Canadian singer/songwriter/poet Leonard Cohen. It has been performed or recorded by literally dozens of artists from Bob Dylan to Bon Jovi. A version by the late Jeff Buckley seems to be one of the most popular, possibly due in part to the young artist's untimely death.

In spite of its jubilant title, it is a rather melancholy sounding song. It has been used as backgound music in numerous movies and television shows, including "House" and "ER", and is often used in scenes involving death or heartbreak. Possibly its widest exposure was its use in the movie "Shrek". I've seen the movie, but I don't remember the song being played. Apparently it was used to set the mood during a scene where the action was more significant than the soundtrack.

This is one of those items I came across while looking for something else. I was searching for a song on YouTube. While YouTube is a video site, there is a lot of music that can be found there. A lot of amateur and aspiring musicians post videos of themselves performing their original songs or covers of popular songs. Apparently "Hallelujah" is one of the songs many of them like to post. Search YouTube for hallelujah +cohen or hallelujah +buckley, and you will get hundreds of hits. They range from the comical to the spooky. Someone even made a compilation video of several different YouTube musicians performing their versions of the same song.

I like the song, and I'd like to learn to play it. If I was still in an active band, I'd want to add it to our setlist. Maybe I'll record a video of myself singing it and post it on YouTube. Perhaps then it will finally get unstuck from my head.


Kevin said...


Anonymous said...

Brian, Sue, Kenny and I had the absolute pleasure of witnessing Bon Jovi blow up the United Center singing this song last night....amazing rendition! Funny that you have it on your post a few days prior.