Posted by: Rob | May 8, 2008

Song Lyric Thursday

Tomorrow – May 9th – is my late wife Shelley’s birthday. She would have been 47. In honour of her birthday, I’m dedicating this week’s Song Lyric Thursday in her memory.

The song is Hallelujah and it was originally written by Leonard Cohen. There have been many covers of this song, some with modifications to the lyrics, even by Cohen himself on different recordings. However, Shelley most loved the cover of it by Alberta native girl k.d.lang. These are the lyrics k.d.lang used when she added this song to her CD “Hymns of the 49th Parallel”.

Hallelujah (by Leonard Cohen)

Now 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 Hallelujah

Your faith was strong but you needed proof
You saw her bathing on the roof
Her beauty and 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 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



  1. (sigh) i think i have every recorded version of this song i can download… these lyrics aren’t the ones i know best, but i do like the fact that there are so many ‘customizations’. a beautiful tribute…

  2. We used the Rufus Wainwright version when we staged ‘A Midsummer Night’s Dream’. It was very beautiful, and a really nice fit for what the director was trying to accomplish.

  3. I’m with Daisy Fae, I think I have every cover that I could download, in every venue. I truly love this song. Some of the covers on You Tube are to die for. I think k. d. lang’s version is on there. Strange to think I was introduced to the song by Shrek. Couldn’t use most of the lyrics because of the kiddies, however.

  4. Leonard cohen just gets better with age. I saw a doco of people covering his songs recently and it included an interview with him *swoon*

    my favourite version of this song is Jeff Buckley’s. a talented artist who died too soon, I was lucky enough to see his concert at the Phoenician club back in the 90s. a voice like an angel, so like his father’s, yet another talent who died before he was thirty

  5. Thanks everyone for your comments. They’re much appreciated.

    And @ silverstar98121: a warm welcome to the Tome!

  6. Happy Birthday, Shelley.

    This is a wonderful song. I do this one, in fact. It’s a big hit at open mic. DaisyFae, do you have Allison Crowe’s version? You should, if you don’t.

  7. if i had to pick a fav version, it’s Buckley’s (which was used in the movie “Lord of War” with Nicholas Cage), although k.d. and Rufus are right there…

    don’t have the Crowe version, but will root for it… and i also do a ‘daisyfae’ version at open mic/performances. and depending on my mood, how much angst i can conjure, it generally brings the room to a quiet place…

  8. Why are all my favorite singers Canucks? Allison Crowe, Loreena McKinnitt, Sarah McLaughlan, K.D. Lang, all Canucks. Must have something to do with the air up there.

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