Sunday, June 07, 2009


I know I'm way behind the times but loving this song so recently. But if you know me, you know my whole life has been a study in loving things way after it's hip. I'm ok with that. And to show you just how under a musical rock I have been, I will share this.

One night, back in 2008, I was flipping around the channels as I am want to do. I stopped to watch this performance. It was by a guy I've never heard of (again because I'm tragically out of touch). It was a song I had never heard (see previous parenthetic comment). I remember being struck by the emotion of the performance. I had assumed it was honoring someone who had died because everyone seemed very moved by the song. And the song itself made me want to cry. The performer sounded as if he was trying not to cry. I now believe it might have been a case of nerves. But who knows.

Either way, the song haunted the recesses of my mind periodically but I knew nothing of it and wouldn't have known how to hunt it down.

Enter my old roommate Darcy. We talked the other night and she told me she's ready to design my album cover. But I had to promise to include a cover of this certain song. It's called Hallelujah. It's by Leonard Cohen. I asked what the song was and she described it. I grabbed my iPod Touch, pulled up YouTube and found the Jeff Buckley version of the song. WOW! It was that song I had seen so briefly back in 2008! And it was still amazing.

So now I knew the song name and author. And if you go to YouTube, you can see like 8 million cover versions of the song. Some good, some they need to just quit it. But the Jeff Buckley version (see embedded video below) or the Damien Rice version (see other embedded video below) seem to really capture the soul of the song - for me anyway. Leonard Cohen's live version is killer. And I love the man. But I'm a sucker for gorgeous vocals. And Leonard is a genius. But he will be the first to admit he is NOT a gorgeous vocalificationer.

Anyway, I thought I'd post the song for you to check out. More than likely you are all way more hip than I and have already heard about 16 versions of it either in Shrek or The OC or some other TV show or movie. But it's a new find for me and I love it.

And if I ever really do get off my duff and record that album Darcy wants me to record, I will probably mangle yet another unnecessary cover of this song. So I ask for your forgiveness in advance.

Here is a link to the Jeff Buckley version. The embed code was disabled by request. Sorry.

Here is the Damien Rice live version from the 2008 Rock & Roll Hall of Fame show I saw.


Allie said...

It's full of lovely chords, isn't it?
I had thought the Rufus Wainwright version which is on the movie Shrek was the original - silly me!

C. Beth said...

Love this song. Check out this video too:

LEstes65 said...

Allie - love Rufus' version.
Beth - Jason's version (minus the story) is on YouTube, too. I've seen some awesome versions out there. Some bad ones, too.

Sarakastic said...

My friends always argue whether John Cale or Jeff Buckley covers Hallelujah better. It's a favorite of mine and arooj aftab always gets my vote.

Tucker Hart said...

I love that song. Uncle Lenny's version is my favorite one, though. Did you know it's also been re-written a few times as well? The one Jeff Buckley sings isn't the original. The original version is more biblical and the second one (the more popular version) is more sexual.

LEstes65 said...

Sara - I like them both. And I have to admit I like Alexandra Burke's version, too - even thought it's a bit over the top in its "Idol"-esque production. I spent a few hours last night watching about 20 different versions and quite a few people really capture it.

Tucker - yes, I also know that Uncle Lenny himself has done a few different versions. Supposedly, when he wrote it, he filled a couple of notebooks with possible verses. I'd love to get my hands on that notebook!

LEstes65 said...

Editorial addendum: Bon Jovi does NOT capture it. [shudder]

mullensfam said...

That is a good song, one of the kids at school sang it achapello for the talent show. It was good!