Not the rinky-dink keyboard tone. And certainly not the lyric full of stark biblical imagery. Wider stardom eventually arrived, along with the vocal appreciation of fellow songwriters such as Bob Dylan, which helped sustain Cohen through depression and financial troubles.
The Atlantic Crossword
Achieving little initial success, the song found greater popular acclaim through a recording by John Cale , which inspired a recording by Jeff Buckley. It has been viewed as a "baseline" for secular hymns. Following its increased popularity after being featured in the film Shrek ,   many other arrangements have been performed in recordings and in concert, with over versions known. Written in the key of C major , the chord progression matches lyrics from the song: "goes like this, the fourth , the fifth , the minor fall , and the major lift": C, F, G, A minor, F. Cohen wrote around 80 draft verses for "Hallelujah", with one writing session at the Royalton Hotel in New York where he was reduced to sitting on the floor in his underwear, banging his head on the floor. Following his original studio-album version, Cohen performed the original song on his world tour in , but live performances during his and tours almost invariably contained a quite different set of lyrics.
He was the elder statesman of a trio of iconic male North American singer-songwriters that included Bob Dylan and Tom Waits. Their singing was the flip side to the American Dream, a jarring contrast to the seductively beautiful voices of Frank Sinatra and Elvis Presley, each using an idiosyncratic vocal tone to channel the anger, joy and pain of their songs. This may account for the way the song has gradually seeped into the public consciousness. The recording was picked up to be used in the film Shrek , starting a long sequence of placements in movies and TV shows. But the most critically acclaimed version was recorded in by the late American singer-songwriter Jeff Buckley on his album Grace. In the greatest songs there is a combination of lyric, melody, rhythm and harmony that come together in an alchemic fusion of craft, inspiration and perspiration.
Leonard Cohen's song Hallelujah is one of the best examples of a slow-burning hit. It took years of work, multiple revisions and a slew of voices to cement it as one of the most powerful and hauntingly beautiful songs in contemporary music. Buckley's version is perhaps the most well-known, and has been credited with giving the song the final shove into the American consciousness. It was a live performance of Hallelujah that caught the attention of an executive at Columbia records who then signed Buckley, or so the story goes. Though it was on Buckley's only full studio album, Grace , which debuted in , it didn't catch on until his tragic death in Buckley's version would have never come to pass had it not been for John Cale. A founding member of the Velvet Underground, Cale heard Cohen perform the song, and adapted it as his own. He recorded it for a tribute album called I'm Your Fan , which eventually landed in Buckley's hands. It was Cale's version that made it into Shrek in , one of the first big pop culture inclusions. I put his version of the song on, and it was this kind of cosmic communion.