Hallelujah: The Anatomy of a Song

Leonard Cohen spent years struggling over his iconic song Hallelujah. At one point he had written over eighty verses trying to make it work. “I remember being in my underwear in a New York hotel and literally banging my head on the floor and screaming, ‘I can’t finish this thing. It’s impossible!’”

When the song finally clicked for him, he recorded it as part of his album Various Positions. His recording company wasn’t impressed and refused to put any money into distributing it. Cohen eventually found an independent label to release the album. But nothing much happened and Hallelujah languished in relative obscurity for over a decade. Then, gradually, things began to change.

Hallelujah: The Anatomy of a Song is about the song no one wanted: its creation, its roots in Cohen life, its meaning and many interpretations, and the stories from those who participated, covered, and appreciated it up to the present-day.

When Leonard Cohen died in November 2016, people worldwide gathered together singing Hallelujah in impromptu tributes to the Jewish-Canadian-poet-singer-songwriter. The song that no one wanted has become one among the most beloved songs in history and one of Canada’s greatest works of art.

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