Leonard Cohen, by Rama under CeCILL and CC-BY-SA-2.0-FR
Leonard Cohen’s “Hallelujah” is one of the most widely covered songs out there. It has a stunning range of versions (over 300 known ones), from Jeff Buckley’s alternative rock tour de force to Joseph Calleja’s classically bent one. It’s been featured in TV and movies, ranging from Scrubs and Criminal Minds to Watchmen and Shrek. Here are 5 covers of “Hallelujah,” along with Leonard Cohen’s original version, that highlight the vast array of ways a great song can be interpreted.
Leonard Cohen’s “Hallelujah,” 1984
The first video is the original, recorded by Leonard Cohen. Even though Cohen wrote it, this one doesn’t tend to get as much airplay as some of its covers.
5 Covers of “Hallelujah”
1. Jeff Buckley, 1994
Probably the most famous cover of “Hallelujah” was recorded by Jeff Buckley. His dazzling display of breath control has been lauded by music lovers across a wide variety of genres. I’ve never met anyone who’s heard this and didn’t like it.
2. Rufus Wainwright, 2003
Rufus Wainwright’s cover is another one of the more famous ones. His version is less showy than Buckley’s, but his voice is still remarkable and haunting.
3. Espen Lind, Askil Holm, Alejandro Fuentes, and Kurt Nilsen, 2006
This gorgeously harmonized cover was recorded by 4 Norwegian artists.
4. Alexandra Burke, 2008
Alexandra Burke delivered a brilliant gospel-inspired version of “Hallelujah” on X-Factor. This larger-than-life rendition of the song drew both high praise and fierce criticism from listeners.
5. Ronan Keating and Joseph Calleja, 2012
This large-scale orchestral version combines Ronan Keating’s more contemporary sound with Maltese tenor Joseph Calleja’s classical one.