Musical Monday: Hallelujah by Various Artists

Although this song was first released in 1984, the first time I heard it was while watching Shrek with my kids. It was written by Canadian singer-songwriter, musician, poet, and novelist Leonard Cohen. It ranks at the top of my list of all-time favorite songs.

When looking for the song on YouTube, I came across several versions and couldn’t decide which to use for this post so I included several. Which one do you like best? Let me know in the comments if you wish to share your opinion.


I’ve heard there was a secret chord
That David played, and it pleased the Lord
But you don’t really care for music, do you?
It goes like this
The fourth, the fifth
The minor fall, the major lift
The baffled king composing HallelujahHallelujah, Hallelujah
Hallelujah, HallelujahYour faith was strong but you needed proof
You saw her bathing on the roof
Her beauty in the moonlight overthrew you
She tied you to a kitchen chair
She broke your throne, and she cut your hair
And from your lips she drew the HallelujahHallelujah, Hallelujah
Hallelujah, HallelujahBaby I have been here before
I know this room, I’ve walked this floor
I used to live alone before I knew you.
I’ve seen your flag on the marble arch
Love is not a victory march
It’s a cold and it’s a broken HallelujahHallelujah, Hallelujah
Hallelujah, HallelujahThere was a time when you let me know
What’s really going on below
But now you never show it to me, do you?
And remember when I moved in you
The holy dove was moving too
And every breath we drew was Hallelujah

Hallelujah, Hallelujah
Hallelujah, Hallelujah

Maybe there’s a God above
But all I’ve ever learned from love
Was how to shoot at someone who outdrew you
It’s not a cry you can hear at night
It’s not somebody who has seen the light
It’s a cold and it’s a broken Hallelujah

Hallelujah, Hallelujah
Hallelujah, Hallelujah

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

Hallelujah, Hallelujah
Hallelujah, Hallelujah

I did my best, it wasn’t much
I couldn’t feel, so I tried to touch
I’ve told the truth, I didn’t come to fool you
And even though it all went wrong
I’ll stand before the Lord of Song
With nothing on my tongue but Hallelujah

Hallelujah, Hallelujah
Hallelujah, Hallelujah
Hallelujah, Hallelujah
Hallelujah, Hallelujah
Hallelujah, Hallelujah
Hallelujah, Hallelujah
Hallelujah, Hallelujah
Hallelujah, Hallelujah


10 thoughts on “Musical Monday: Hallelujah by Various Artists”

  1. I LOVE this song! You have a few there I haven’t heard before, so I’ll have to give them a listen. My favourite is Rufus Wainwright’s version, which is the one on the Shrek soundtrack album, but not the one in the movie… which is really strange, but whatever. I like it better than the one in the movie, anyway. Gives me shivers.

  2. Melissa, I loved these as I love this song! thank you for reminding me about it. I think my favorite version hasn’t been created yet, but these are all great. Il divo was lovely, but so was kd lang. All of them . . . . And the one the commenter posted above, too!

  3. I’m partial to KD Lang’s version, largely because of the event. It’s from the Juno Awards that were in Winnipeg that year. I watched it live on television and it was such a fantastic show . . . wish I would have made the 2-hour drive to see it live.

    One of my daughters told me after the show that one of her schoolmate’s father was in the background. He’s one of the cello players, and he teaches at our local university’s music program.

    Also, KD’s performance was also emotionally charged because she filled in for Neil Young that night. As a Winnipeg native, he was supposed to be the headline performer, but he had suffered an aneurysm a week or so before the show. Here’s her rendition of his song, “Helpless”:

    1. That’s beautiful. Thanks for sharing. I have K.D. Lang’s version on my ipod, but will probably add some of these others too. I read that Alexandra Burke didn’t really care for the song which was just shocking to me. How can you not be moved by the lyrics?

      1. That may be a reflection on her age and life experience – she may not yet really “get it”. I’m sure 20 or 30 years from now it will mean something different to her.

        As an example, here is a rendition of “Both Sides Now” by Joni Mitchell from a few years ago . . . so very different than the ones from her youth.

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