One of my favorite songs of all time is Leonard Cohen’s “Hallelujah.” The Canadian singer wrote the song and released it on his 1984 “Various Positions” album. Interestingly, the song didn’t get a lot of popular acclaim at first, but it eventually became popular through a recording by a man named John Cale. This in turn inspired Jeff Buckley to record the song.
Rufus Wainwright’s Cover of “Hallelujah” and the “Shrek” Movie Soundtrack
In 2001, Leonard Cohen’s “Hallelujah” got a lot more attention. The movie “Shrek” used the song, with another Canadian artist, Rufus Wainwright, singing it. Although Cale’s version of “Hallelujah” was actually used in the film, Wainwright’s cover was on the “Shrek” soundtrack. By the way, the “Shrek” soundtrack was certified 2X platinum in the U.S., selling more than two million copies in 2003.
Incidentally, Rufus Wainright and his sister Martha Wainwright performed the song with Joan Wasser in the “Leonard Cohen: I’m Your Man” film.
k.d. lang Performs Leonard Cohen’s “Hallelujah”
Country music singing superstar k.d. lang recorded a version of Leonard Cohen’s “Hallelujah for her “Hymns of the 49th Parallel” album. Since then, lang has performed the songs at major events like Canada’s Juno Awards. When she performed the song at the Juno Awards in 2005, her performance brought the audience to its feet for a standing ovation that lasted two minutes.
Lang also performed the song when Leonard Cohen was inducted into the Canadian Songwriters Hall of Fame in 2006. When Leonard Cohen heard that performance, he and his partner Anjani Thomas looked at each other and Cohen said “Well, I think we can lay that song to rest now! It’s really been done to its ultimate blissful state of perfection,” according to Thomas. Listen to it on Amazon.
Tower of Song: A Memorial Tribute to Leonard Cohen
Lang also performed “Hallelujah” in 2017 at the Leonard Cohen tribute concert, Tower of Song: A Memorial Tribute to Leonard Cohen.
Cassandra Star and Her Sister Callahan Singing Easter Version of Leonard Cohen’s “Hallelujah”
In the version below, you’ll see two sisters sing this song. The special Easter lyrics were written by a young lady named Kelley Mooney, and the piano track was arranged by Karaoke Studios artist Jeff Buckley.
Also, in case you’re curious, here is k.d. lang performing the song.