Tag: Bono

Top 5 Hallelujah Covers

Written by : Posted on March 25, 2009 : 3 Comments

I’m always amazed at the timelessness of Leonard Cohen’s song Hallelujah. You would think people would get tired of it, but it seems like every couple of months I run across an artist who has had success covering this song. Even still, it doesn’t crack the top 100 most covered songs according to Second Hand Songs. Though, I find that hard to believe since it has been recorded by around 185 different artists. (Here’s a list of all the artists to cover the song)

Just as interesting as the song’s popularity is its ambiguity. Probably because Cohen was a more of a poet than a songwriter, the song is left open to interpretation and everyone seems to have their own. I love how Cohen describes the meaning… “It explains that many kinds of hallelujahs do exist, and all the perfect and broken hallelujahs have equal value.” Supposedly, Cohen told Bob Dylan this song took him 2 years to write and the original composition had 80 verses. The full version has been slimed down to a mere 15 verses.

So, with all those versions out there, I decided to rank my personal favorites. Like most people, I secretly used Jeff Buckley’s version as the standard. I leaned towards artists who were creative with their melodies and instrumentation without killing the feel. There are some good voices covering this song but their too similar to Buckley’s version. Anyways, here are my top 5:

No. 1 – Jeff Buckley

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No. 2 – Phil Wickham

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No. 3 – Rufus Wainwright

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No. 4 – Brandi Carlile

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No. 5 – Bob Dylan

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Honorable mention: Beirut

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Dishonorable mention: Bono

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