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This week on Open Book Blog Hop we’re researching and discussing our favorite songs. I’m excited about this topic because usually I listen to music and just enjoy the lyrics, music and feelings it invokes in me. But, to actually learn about why a song was written or the meaning behind it, especially a favorite, well, that’s just cool.
My favorite song is Hallelujah written by Leonard Cohen.
I found this explanation on Wikipedia:
“”Hallelujah”, in its original version, is in 12/8 time, which evokes both early rock and roll and gospel music. Written in the key of C major, the chord progression matches lyrics from the song: “goes like this, the fourth, the fifth, the minor fall, and the major lift”: C, F, G, A minor, F.
Cohen wrote around 80 draft verses for “Hallelujah”, with one writing session at the Royalton Hotel in New York where he was reduced to sitting on the floor in his underwear, banging his head on the floor. His original version, as recorded on his Various Positions album, contains several biblical references, most notably evoking the stories of Samson and treacherous Delilah from the Book of Judges (“she cut your hair”) as well as King David and Bathsheba (“you saw her bathing on the roof, her beauty in the moonlight overthrew you”).”
The story of Samson and Delilah can be found here.
The story of David and Bathsheba can be found here.
But why did Cohen write it? I found this quote by Cohen on SongDetails:
Leonard Cohen explained: “Hallelujah is a Hebrew word which means ‘Glory to the Lord.’ The song explains that many kinds of Hallelujahs do exist. I say: All the perfect and broken Hallelujahs have an equal value. It’s a desire to affirm my faith in life, not in some formal religious way but with enthusiasm, with emotion.”
Many artists have covered the song over the years and last year on, November 7, 2016, Leonard Cohen passed away. The song gained new notoriety after his death which caused it to hit the Hot 100 on November 21, 2016 for the first time. Though it has been sung by many artists and placed on many albums, my favorite rendition of the song is by the Pentatonix.
Here are the lyrics as the Pentatonix sing it:
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 ya?
Well it goes like this
The fourth, the fifth, the minor fall, the major lift
The baffled king composing Hallelujah
Well, your faith was strong but you needed proof
You saw her bathing on the roof
Her beauty in the moonlight overthrew ya
She tied you to the kitchen chair
She broke your throne and she cut your hair
And from your lips, she drew the Hallelujah
Well baby I’ve been here before
I’ve seen this room and I’ve walked this floor
I used to live alone before I knew ya
And I’ve seen your flag on the marble arch
And love is not a vict’ry march
It’s a cold and it’s a broken Hallelujah
Well, maybe there’s a God above
But all I’ve ever learned from love
Was how to shoot somebody who outdrew ya
And it’s not a cry that you hear at night
It’s not somebody who’s seen the light
It’s a cold and it’s a broken Hallelujah
What’s your favorite song? I’d love to know then let’s hop on over and see what my fellow bloggers have for favorites.
8 thoughts on “Hallelujah”
I like Bon Jovi’s version of this too.
Yes, I do too. And it had been my favorite until I heard the Pentatonix.
Love this song. Not so much when Leonard did it … like Dylan, he was a much better song writer than a singer — but the song itself is amazing.
Thanks Lela. I also listened to the versions by other artists, but this is my favorite.
I agree that the song is amazing. But there’s something about the raw emotion that Cohen could express that many other singers miss.
Well after spending 8 years writing it, I’d say the emotion was certainly earned.
I love this song! I also enjoy listening to various artists sing it!
I agree with you. I always enjoy listening to this song.
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