What better way to wrap up National Poetry Month than to have a book devoted to one song by Leonard Cohen. Who knew his song could cause such controversy. What does that song Hallelujah mean?
“[Bob] Dylan and I were having coffee the day after his concert in Paris a few years ago… and he asked me how long it took to write [‘Hallelujah’]. And I told him a couple of years. I lied, actually. It was more than a couple of years. Then I praised a song of his, ‘I and I,’ and asked him how long it had taken and he said, ‘Fifteen minutes.’”
|—||Leonard Cohen, in Alan Light’s The Holy or the Broken|
Back in 1984, Cohen's record label didn't even want the song on his album, Various Positions. But from K.D. Lang to Bono, they will tell you its the perfect song. Its a song that definitely gets to the essences of being human yet its refrain definitely touches the spiritual side, too.
Honestly, I don't think I was ever really familiar with the song until I heard Rufus Wainwright's version in Shrek. It was a hidden favorite by Cohen's fans at concerts. After his dilimma with the song in the beginning, he kept reworking it. Thus many verses finally exist. Even Jeff Buckly added an extra verse. Reminding you, its all about the climax.
Yet, the song has gone on and made its mark for several causes. Justin Timberlake sang it at telefon for Hati's earthquake, and K.D. Lang sang it at the Vancouver Olympics.
The book is written by Rolling Stone's Alan Light. Its insightful, and makes you realize what a treasure Leonard Cohen is to songwriting.