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
Now there is a stanza from Leonard Cohen’s “Hallelujah” you rarely hear — certainly not from the eleven and twelve-year-old moppets of either gender who have performed the song post-Shrek. In fact the song seems terribly inappropriate for moppets, even when they are as good as this one.
He eschews at least this amazingly erotic stanza:
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.
Of course the starting point of the song is the Biblical story of David and Bathsheba, with Samson and Delilah thrown in for good measure.
But it’s a great song, isn’t it? I thought of it because K D Lang was on Adam Hills in Gordon St Tonight this week, and her version of the song has become legend.
It is brilliant, but then it’s hard to top the Man Himself:
Love the bluesy background there.
My favourite version, however, having conducted the experiment of downloading quite a few, is Jeff Buckley. This is just beautiful, yet captures the bitterness in the lyrics. An adult, intelligent rendition.
Got a bit of a soft spot for this one by David Choi too.
See also Just whose hallelujah is it anyway?