The Holy or the Broken: Leonard Cohen, Jeff Buckley, and the Unlikely Ascent of "Hallelujah", by Alan Light
When Leonard Cohen first wrote and recorded the song “Hallelujah,” it attracted little attention or airplay, dismissed by both fans and critics alike. Today, it is one of the most recorded songs in history, having been covered by a variety of music icons including Celine Dion, Bon Jovi, Willie Nelson, and, most famously, Jeff Buckley. It’s been featured on soundtracks as diverse as Shrek to The West Wing.
So how did one relatively unknown song become an unofficial international anthem for human triumph and tragedy, one which each successive generation feels they have discovered and claimed as uniquely their own?
Through in-depth interviews and expansive research, longtime music journalist Alan Light follows the captivating and improbable journey of “Hallelujah” to the heart of popular culture. Discover how great songs come to be, and how we as listeners have the endless ability to project a succession of meanings onto a cultural artifact, forever reinterpreting art through the lens of current events and the latest trends.
“Keeps the pages turning... A well-constructed, consistently enlightening book, which should have Cohen devotees and music fans alike seeking out their favorite version of the song.” - The Boston Globe