6 Things You Never Knew About Leonard Cohen’s Hallelujah

In the wake of the influential singer/songwriter’s passing, loaded revisits a classic.

Musician and magician Leonard Cohen.
The late Leonard Cohen. Gone but never forgotten. Image Getty/AFP

Leonard Cohen, a musician whose work and influence spanned over half a century, passed away at the age of 82, leaving behind a legacy few can match.

“It is with profound sorrow we report that legendary poet, songwriter and artist, Leonard Cohen has passed away,” an official statement read. “We have lost one of music’s most revered and prolific visionaries.”

A musician and maverick to rival Prince and David Bowie, Cohen is perhaps best known as the writer of Hallelujah a song that continues to resonate with fans across the world to this very day.

It’s also a song with a rich and fascinating history – here are just a few things you probably never knew about one of the best songs of all-time.


1


Though Jeff Buckley’s version is perhaps the best known, there are actually over 100 different cover versions of the song in existence, including a version sung by Rufus Wainwright, which featured on the soundtrack to Shrek.

2 


Perhaps the least popular is by Alexandra Burke, who won the X Factor and scored a Christmas number one with the track back in 2009, despite the protests of many an ardent music lover.

Cohen wasn’t complaining though – he earned around £1 million in royalties.

3


Ever the perfectionist, Cohen once claimed to have written some 80 verses originally, before whittling that number down to the much more palatable total of 15.

4


Cohen once revealed to Bob Dylan that Hallelujah was actually written over a two-year period. Told you he was a perfectionist.

5


Once asked to offer up a meaning behind the songs lyrics, Cohen, rather cryptically replied with the following: “It explains that many kinds of hallelujahs do exist, and all the perfect and broken hallelujahs have equal value.”

6


The song’s popularity and spiritual message has actually resulted in it broadcast at 2am every Saturday night by the Israeli defence force radio channel.

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Loaded staff writer Jack Beresford has produced content for Lad Bible, Axonn Media and a variety of online sports and news media outlets.