‘Hallelujah’, cries Leonard Cohen’s accountant

'Cheers', says Leonard CohenIt’s looking more and more likely that one song could occupy number one and two in the Christmas singles chart this year – an unprecedented achievement at this or any time of the year.

What’s more uncertain is which version will pip the other to the festive top spot: X Factor winner Alexandra Burke’s rendition of Leonard Cohen’s exquisite, Old Testament-informed love song ‘Hallelujah’, or the late American singer/songwriter Jeff Buckley’s version, which has already been held up as one of the finest covers ever recorded.

Buckley’s version was catapulted back into the charts thanks to a Facebook campaign by fans presumably terrified that such a perfect song could be ‘tarred with the X Factor brush’.

But the general public, who’ve probably never heard of Buckley (or Cohen for that matter) and probably don’t use Facebook, and probably don’t care about such things as a song’s reputation, are already snapping up Burke’s version in the thousands, to the extent that it is already seen as an unstoppable Christmas number one.

The cynical view is that the whole ‘controversy’ is not about artistic integrity though; it’s intended to get people to buy records, so the PRs will be rubbing their hands with glee while millions of people debate which version should win, and put their money where their mouth is.

Personally, I think Burke’s warbling effort is a bloody travesty, and I’d like to see anything but an X Factor drone win Christmas number one. Alternatively, I’d like to see someone actually make a Christmas record, although ‘Hallelujah’ certainly has a Christmassy feel.

But in the end, perhaps the most important result of all this is that Leonard Cohen, one of the greatest songwriters of the past fifty years, gets a little financial boost this Christmas after his manager nicked his retirement fund.

Which is the best ‘Hallelujah’? Compare below…

Jeff Buckley

Alexandra Burke

Leonard Cohen

John Cale

Bob Dylan

Rufus Wainwright



Filed under music, thoughts, etc, video

4 responses to “‘Hallelujah’, cries Leonard Cohen’s accountant

  1. Derren Phillips

    Can’t agree about Hallelujah having a Christmassy feel (just ‘cos it sounds kinda religious?), but I’ll be happy for Cohen to make a buck or two. The only downside to that is, he may not have to tour so extensively next year… :(

  2. Yeah I regret not making it to his Edinburgh Castle show this year. Found this on YouTube though:

  3. Me

    Leonard is one of my favourite artists ever but John Cale’s version shits all over the rest of them. He was the master mind who originally decided to slow down the song and make it more melancholy than it already is. It’s just ashame Jeff gets all the credit for that. However, I do love Buckley’s guitar intro. Wainwright’s cover is also really effin’ good.

    Cale > Wainwright > Cohen > Buckley > Dylan > Burke.

  4. F

    There’s only one original, no point of comparing them. This song is not about voice or singing capabilities, this song is about lyrics and passion.

    The link you left is rewritten in 1994 it’s not what you should compare to. This is as close to the original as I could find

    Cohen >>>> Buckley > Dylan > Cale > Wainwright > Burke

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