Wednesday, August 27

Hallelujah: Holy or Broken Connections?

If there is a song that everyone knows and connects to strong feelings—either positive or negative—it’s “Hallelujah.” I admit that I have a hard time disassociating it from “Shrek.”

Recently, I finished reading The Holy or the Broken: Leonard Cohen, Jeff Buckley & the Unlikely Ascent of “Hallelujah,” by Alan Light and I recommend it to anyone who shares a curiosity about this song.  It’s a great book about the history of "Hallelujah" and how it evolved from being unpublished and unknown to being borderline over-exposed on every competitive singing reality show here and abroad.

Thanks to Casey Purpus ( for lending me this fascinating book, which dramatically demonstrates through the story of this song how everyone who touches something brings their own interpretation to the experience, making it uniquely their own. Just for fun, go to youtube and listen to the recording of this song by some of the following artists. Let me know your fave, and I’ll report your votes and comments in a future blog: Leonard Cohen, Jeff Buckley, Rufus Wainwright (Shrek version?), k.d. lang, Kate Voegele, Bon Jovi (the worst?), Il Divo, Justin Timberlake, Alexandra Burke, Willie Nelson, Jake Shimabukuro, etc.......

Do you wonder why there are so many different verses? Wonder about the meaning of the lyrics? Wonder
how the same song can be played at both weddings and funerals? The answers are all in this book.

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