Canadian song writer, performer, and poet Leonard Cohen wrote the song Hallelujah in the early 1980s. He recorded and released it in 1984.
Cohen wrote around 80 draft verses for “Hallelujah”. In one writing session in New York, he said he was “reduced to sitting on the floor in his underwear, banging his head on the floor.”
Cohen recorded the original version of Hallelujah on his Various Positions album. That version, which is still heard more often than not contains several biblical references. The most notable are the stories of Samson and Delilah from the Book of Judges (“she cut your hair”) as well as King David and Bathsheba (“you saw her bathing on the roof, her beauty and the moonlight overthrew you”).
There is much debate about the meaning of the words of Hallelujah, and what exactly Cohen was suggesting is so spiritually uplifting. Nevertheless, the song continues to be performed in situations where a song of celebration seems appropriate.
In September 2007, a poll of fifty songwriters conducted by the magazine Q listed “Hallelujah” among the all-time “Top 10 Greatest Tracks“. John Legend called Jeff Buckley’s 2004 cover version “as near perfect as you can get. As Legend put it, “the lyrics to ‘Hallelujah’ are just incredible and the melody’s gorgeous and then there’s Jeff’s interpretation of it. It’s one of the most beautiful pieces of recorded music I’ve ever heard.”
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