Versions of Hallelujah--are all approved by LC?

General discussion about Leonard Cohen's songs and albums
Cosmoline
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Versions of Hallelujah--are all approved by LC?

Post by Cosmoline » Thu Feb 09, 2006 7:38 am

There seem to be an array of variations on "Hallelujah." I know of two basic versions from Cohen himself, the original version "priestly" version and the subsequent live version which has a focus on interpersonal love.

Then there's the Wainwright version and the Buckley version, among others.

What I'm wondering is if LC approves of the changes or is neutral on the matter.
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tomsakic
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Post by tomsakic » Thu Feb 09, 2006 11:18 am

I am not quite sure are there "versions". John Cale was the first to perform complete Hallelujah in 1989, and Leonard sent him all verses from his both versions (later printed in Stranger Music, 1993; although he never performed it as one song). I heard dozens of covers and all of them were based on John Cale version (taken and popularised by Jeff Buckley on his album Grace), but all those versions were more or less faitfull to the "complete Hallelujah" as given to John Cale by Leonard.
Cosmoline
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Post by Cosmoline » Fri Feb 10, 2006 2:53 am

Here's the version I know of as the original LC version:
Leonard Cohen - Hallelujah Lyrics
Now I've heard there was a secret chord
That David played, and it pleased the Lord
But you don't really care for music, do you?
It goes like this
The fourth, the fifth
The minor fall, the major lift
The baffled king composing Hallelujah
Hallelujah
Hallelujah
Hallelujah
Hallelujah

Your faith was strong but you needed proof
You saw her bathing on the roof
Her beauty and the moonlight overthrew her
She tied you
To a kitchen chair
She broke your throne, and she cut your hair
And from your lips she drew the Hallelujah

Hallelujah, Hallelujah
Hallelujah, Hallelujah

You say I took the name in vain
I don't even know the name
But if I did, well really, what's it to you?
There's a blaze of light
In every word
It doesn't matter which you heard
The holy or the broken Hallelujah

Hallelujah, Hallelujah
Hallelujah, Hallelujah

I did my best, it wasn't much
I couldn't feel, so I tried to touch
I've told the truth, I didn't come to fool you
And even though
It all went wrong
I'll stand before the Lord of Song
With nothing on my tongue but Hallelujah

Hallelujah, Hallelujah
Hallelujah, Hallelujah
Here's the live LC version:
Baby, I've been here before.
I know this room, I've walked this floor.
I used to live alone before I knew you.

Yeah I've seen your flag on the marble arch,
But listen, love is not some kind of victory march,
No it's a cold and it's a very broken Hallelujah.

Hallelujah, Hallelujah, Hallelujah, Hallelujah, (Hallelujah...)

There was a time you let me know
What's really going on below,
Ah but now you never show it to me, do you?

Yeah but I remember, yeah when I moved in you,
And the holy dove, she was moving too,
Yes every single breath that we drew was Hallelujah.

Hallelujah, Hallelujah, Hallelujah, Hallelujah.

Maybe there's a God above,
As for me, all I've ever seemed to learn from love
Is how to shoot at someone who outdrew you.

Yeah but it's not a complaint that you hear tonight,
It's not the laughter of someone who claims to have seen the light
No it's a cold and it's a very lonely Hallelujah.

Hallelujah, Hallelujah, Hallelujah, Hallelujah.

I did my best, it wasn't much.
I couldn't feel, so I learned to touch.
I've told the truth, I didn't come all this way to fool you.

Yeah even tough it all went wrong
I'll stand right here before the Lord of Song
With nothing on my lips but Hallelujah.

Hallelujah, Hallelujah, Hallelujah, Hallelujah.
Hallelujah, Hallelujah, Hallelujah, Hallelujah.
Cosmoline
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Post by Cosmoline » Fri Feb 10, 2006 2:54 am

And here's John Cale's version, which is a cleaned up and reorganized version of LC's live version as far as I know. The Wainwright version appears to be a slightly altered variation of this version.
Words & music by Leonard Cohen

I've heard there was a secret chord
That David played and it pleased the Lord
But you don't really care for music, do you?
It goes like this
The fourth, the fifth
The minor fall, the major lift
The baffled king composing Hallelujah

Hallelujah

Your faith was strong, but you needed proof
You saw her bathing on the roof
Her beauty and the moonlight overthrew you
She tied you
To a kitchen chair
She broke your throne, she cut your hair
And from your lips she drew the Hallelujah

Hallelujah

Baby I've been here before, I know this room
I've walked this floor
I used to live alone before I knew you
I've seen your flag on the Marble Arch
Love is not a victory march
It's a cold and it's a broken Hallelujah

Hallelujah

There was a time you let me know
What's really going on below
But now you never show it to me, do you?
I remember when I moved in you
And the holy dove was moving too
And every breath we drew was Hallelujah

Hallelujah

Maybe there's a God above, all I ever learned from love
Was how to shoot at someone who out drew you
And it's not a cry you can hear at night
It's not somebody who's seen the light
It's a cold and it's a broken Hallelujah

Hallelujah
Hallelujah
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Post by bobbymc » Fri Feb 10, 2006 8:10 am

I think the studio version on Various Postions is the best version of the song.
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Post by lizzytysh » Fri Feb 10, 2006 6:39 pm

Hi Bobby ~

Welcome to the Forum :D . With the versions I've heard so far, I agree with you. Leonard, with his voice and pacing, gives every word the intention with which he wrote them. The rushed covers are irritating to me. Even the dramatic sometimes seem to be drama for the sake of drama, and the perceived need to somehow make it different from the original, to set it apart. With Leonard's studio rendition, it is sung comfortably, in the way that someone is comfortable in their own skin. The song, and Leonard's singing of it there, fit together like a hand and kid glove.

Of course, his Live version, too, well... 8) . I guess I need to compare those two, back to back. Bottom line is that I prefer Leonard's own rendering of his song to anyone else's. However, that's been true across the board, anyway :wink: , so I've come full circle here... :P .

Despite its being lauded, I've never cared for the homogenization of "The Essential" ~ I like the character in his 'less-than-perfect' recordings, right from the beginning.

~ Lizzy
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Post by Nightstalker » Fri Feb 10, 2006 7:00 pm

"Despite its being lauded, I've never cared for the homogenization of "The Essential" ~ I like the character in his 'less-than-perfect' recordings, right from the beginning. " -----Lizzy

Absolutely!!
"For the captain had quitted the long drawn strife
And in far Simoree had taken a wife." (R Kipling)
Cosmoline
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Post by Cosmoline » Sat Feb 11, 2006 3:09 am

What do you think of the KD Lang cover?
bobbymc
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Post by bobbymc » Sat Feb 11, 2006 5:21 am

I haven't heard the KD Lang cover but I am not a fan of hers,so I don't think I would like it.
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Post by lizzytysh » Sat Feb 11, 2006 8:19 am

I love it! For me, it's the best non-Leonard rendition I've heard, male or female.
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Post by tomsakic » Mon Feb 13, 2006 12:08 pm

I think Kathryn Williams's rendition from her album relations is the best one.

http://www.kathrynwilliams.net/
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Post by Kevin W.M.LastYearsMan » Mon Feb 13, 2006 5:36 pm

As shocking as it is for me to admit this, I like John Cale's version the best. I love Leonard's too, of course. Almost without exception I always like the original artist's rendering of a song best. John Cale is an exception to the rule. I also really like the version of that british lady on that documentary, "What Leonard Cohen did for me." (I think that was the title of the documentary.) It's like comparing a chocolate candy bar to vanilla ice cream to me though. I love them both.

Something about John Cale makes me wonder how many electroshock and acid experiments were performed on him.
Kevin.
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Post by tomsakic » Mon Feb 13, 2006 6:01 pm

I think Kathryn Williams was in "What Leonard Cohen Did For Me". The younf singer who wanna shag Leonard. I don't remember did they play her cover.
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Post by Kevin W.M.LastYearsMan » Mon Feb 13, 2006 7:33 pm

Tom, yeah, I remember her saying that. She wanted to shag Leonard but she didn't think his heart could take it or something like that. Thanks for letting me know her name.
They didn't play her recorded cover if she has one. She was singing it during the interview and it was really beautiful, in my opinion. I hadn't heard a woman sing that song before. And she has a really pretty voice. I watched that a couple of months ago.
Oh. I just saw what you wrote before about it being on her album. But I'm not sure about her name, if we're talking about the same woman. If you remember her being in the documentary, it probably was her.
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Post by margaret » Tue Feb 14, 2006 2:01 am

It is definitely Kathryn Williams you are talking about here. Her recording of Hallelujah is on her cd titled Relations
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