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Trajectory of Leonard Cohen's "Hallelujah."

Charting the various covers of Cohen's classic

Dustin Grayson

on 18 January 2013

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Transcript of Trajectory of Leonard Cohen's "Hallelujah."

Is the title of a Leonard Cohen song he wrote and recorded in 1984. Jeff Buckley So much to the point that when a popular singer covers "Hallelujah," they are also covering Cale's and Buckley's versions as well. "Hallelujah" In 1996, John Cale recorded on a Leonard Cohen tribute ablum, called "I'm Your Fan." Photo credits: 'horizon' by pierreyves @ flickr Cohen is a Canadian musician and poet. He was born into a middle-class Jewish family in 1934. He spent most of his early adult life trying to break as a writer, and in the 1960's he switched careers and became a musician. Religion is an important aspect of Cohen's life, and he has spent a lot of his life in a Buddist Monastery. "Hallelujah" is one of Cohen's most famous songs, and it is populated with a lot of Biblical allusions. While listening to the song pay attention to his lyrics, his appearance, tone, and presentation. The word Hallelujah means "Praise God." Cale is a Welsh musician, and founding member of The Velvet Underground, one of the most influential bands of all time. We are now going to listen to Cale's cover of the song. Pay close attention to how his version and presentation is different from Cohen's. Think about lyrics, composition, instruments, and tone. (November 17, 1966 – May 29, 1997), Buckley was an American musician, and the abandoned son of Tim Buckley, a 1960's folk icon. For his debut (and unfortunately only) studio album, Buckley included a cover of "Hallelujah," which was a staple of his live sets. Notice how his version covers both Cohen's and Cale's songs, while subtly changing the tone, and - therefore - meaning of the song. Eleven years after his death, his fans launched a revival campaign. The song reached Number One on Billboard's Hot Digital Songs and Number Two on UK's Singles Chart. http://www.rollingstone.com/music/lists/the-500-greatest-songs-of-all-time-20110407/jeff-buckley-hallelujah-19691231 He dedicated the song to both Leonard Cohen and Nina Simone. One of her most famous songs was "I Put a Spell on You." Her work combined gospel, blues, jazz, and classical music. Buckley's version takes this approach. Let's take a moment to consider Trajectory. Wikipedia defines trajectory as, "the path that a moving object follows through space as a function of time." -Cohen wrote a song that was covered by John Cale. -Cohen's song is now tied to Cale's. -Buckley combined Cohen's and Cale's versions with his interpretation of an African-American jazz singer. And now here is the fun part about trajectory! All of these elements are now a part of Leonard Cohen's song. Sometimes they will do this knowing Cohen is in the audience. Rufus Wainwright covered the song in the tribute concert "Leonard Cohen: I'm Your Man." And Damien Rice sang the tune at Cohen's Rock and Roll Hall of Fame induction ceremony. BOTH versions sound more like Buckley's version than the original. Let's take this exercise one step further. "Hallelujah" has become a world phenomenon. It has been covered by diverse musical acts like Justin Timberlake, Alexandra Burke, Bon Jovi, Kate Voegele, The Swell Season, and Paramore. The song has appeared on an enormous amount of TV shows, like "Dancing With the Stars," "CSI-NY," "House M.D.," "Scrubs," "The West Wing," and "Without a Trace." And in such movies as "Watchmen," "Shrek," and "Lord of War." And the most recent shift in the song's trajectory is that it has entered this classroom. The song is now educational material. IN CLASS ASSIGNMENT In your project 2 groups, come up with a song, movie, book, etc. that has had its trajectory altered through adaptation, covering, or association to something else.
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