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Alan Light – The Holy Or The Broken

Alan Light – The Holy Or The Broken: Leonard Cohen, Jeff Buckley & The Unlikely Ascent Of ‘Hallelujah.’

This is not my Friday Drunk Review. I’ve only had one glass of wine, so far. But please, don’t stop reading.

I just got done going through this book on the song, Hallelujah. It’s interesting, charting the song’s course from obscure tune on a record the label didn’t even want, through its discovery and the endless cover tunes, its use at seemingly every tragic event, and up into it’s current stature as, apparently, one of the Great Songbook tunes.

Now, you’ll already know that I’m a big Leonard fan. And it’s fun to read about the history behind this tune, and get the opinions of scholars and religious figures on the songs’ imagery. I don’t really care for many of the cover versions done of this tune. The John Cale and Jeff Buckley versions are too overwrought, painful almost. I strongly dislike Bono and kd lang’s versions. That it is a staple of those Idol shows on TV makes me shudder in revulsion. But hey, whatever. I’m glad people like the song.

For me, there’s only one version, and that’s any time the man himself sings it. Everyone else seems to miss the point of it. Only Leonard sings it with a sly nudge and a wink. And that’s what it needs.

If you care at all about the song, this book is an interesting read. If you’re happy letting Susan Boyle destroy the song, power to you. To each their own. But for me, I will only tell you this:

Just go listen to Leonard.

Oh, and one more thing:

Bono, please shut the fuck up.

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