how many versions of leonard cohen's hallelujah are there?

Discussion in 'Music' started by andrew markworthy, Feb 8, 2004.

  1. andrew markworthy

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    The cover version of Hallelujah by Rufus Wainwright (on the 'Shrek' soundtrack) starts off with the same lyrics as the version by Leonard Cohen that I've got, but the later verses are utterly different. However, they still sound like Laughing Len's.

    Does anyone know if Leonard Cohen recorded two versions (and Rufus W is covering the verison I don't know), Leonard C rewrote the lyrics for Rufus W, or is Rufus W doing a very good imitation of Leonard Cohen's style?

    And just to confuse matters, I've a recording by Jeff Buckley that has the same lyrics as the Rufus W version.
     
  2. John Watson

    John Watson Screenwriter

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    The only version I have is by John Cale (on a Cohen tribute album about 1991), but the cd has lyrics printed : the last verse is

    "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 by Hallelujah"

    Don't know if that answers your specific questio as to two versions by Cohen, but if if the date helps?

    Laughing Len - [​IMG] , I've never heard that before
     
  3. Ryan_Walsh

    Ryan_Walsh Stunt Coordinator

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    I think the quintessential version is by Jeff Buckley. Check out grace, or live at the Sin-e
     
  4. Angelo.M

    Angelo.M Producer

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    Bono's version, from the tribute album Tower of Song, uses the same lyric as Rufus Wainwright and Jeff Buckley use, IIRC. Bono's version is out there, and not quite my taste, but there are some other interesting tracks on the album. It may be worth checking out.

    Of course, I didn't answer your question at all. Sorry. [​IMG]
     
  5. Charles Gurganus

    Charles Gurganus Supporting Actor

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    allmusic.com answers most question
     
  6. Ken_McAlinden

    Ken_McAlinden Producer
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    I believe that the additional lyrics are actually written by John Cale, but even if not, he was the first to record them. His certainly seems to be the version upon which Buckley and Wainwright's are modeled. Also, wasn't it the John Cale version that was used in the Shrek movie even though the Rufus Wainwright version appeared on the soundtrack album? I am always annoyed when its shows up in the movie with the very awkward edit removing the "maybe there's a God above" line.

    Regards,
     
  7. andrew markworthy

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    Thanks for the input, guys. I think you've hit on it Ken - I recall someone mentioning John Cale in connection with the Shrek version. If so, then Mr Cale did a very good pastiche of Laughing Len's style [I'm pleased if others like this version of his name; I heard it somewhere and I thought it was quite well known, but perhaps not].

    Regardless of who did it, a great song in practically any version.
     
  8. Angelo.M

    Angelo.M Producer

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    Yes.
     
  9. john harshman

    john harshman Stunt Coordinator

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    Damien Rice covers this song
    i will have to give a listen to all the others
     
  10. Henry Gale

    Henry Gale Producer

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    Far, far too many.
     
  11. Ron Reda

    Ron Reda Cinematographer

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    An absolutely gorgeous version IMO...
     

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