Song Of The Week - Rufus Wainwright And 1,500 Other People - Hallelujah
Like all of the best songwriters, the great Leonard Cohen has written songs that are, simply, bigger than him. His Hallelujah first appeared on Cohen’s 1984 Various Positions album, and – to be honest – his is not the best version of the song. That title probably should go to the elegiac version the late Jeff Buckley recorded on Grace in 1994. It would be tempting to refer to this as Buckley’s career- defining moment were it not for his untimely death, which, in many ways, made his take on the song his life-defining moment.
However, the often wonderful Rufus Wainwright kind of inadvertently stole Buckley’s thunder by getting his version on the soundtrack of the first Shrek. As good as Buckley’s Grace was – more people heard Rufus’ Shrek version than listened to that album.
One of us here at lastword once met Rufus when he was around 11 on the side of Parliament Hill in London. He signed one of our albums, even though we never asked him to (we still have it and it looks like he had just learned to write joined up – Bless!) Precocious then, precocious now – but with a huge talent to back it up these days.
Last month, Rufus went to the abandoned Hearn Generating Station in Toronto as part of the Luminato Festival and gave us his Hallelujah – complete with the 1,500 strong choir that is Choir!Choir!Choir!
It’s likely everybody has their version of Hallelujah that means the most to them (and no, we’re not counting that woman who attempted to ruin it for everyone on X Factor a few years back!)
But there’s no denying – this is a thing of great beauty.
On a pop trivia note – the very “out” Rufus has a daughter with Leonard Cohen’s daughter Lorca (who names their daughter Lorca for Godssakes - given the antecedents? We blame the '60s!) – proving it pays to cover the in-laws!
Hit “Play” already. Damn!
(And while you're at it check out choirchoirchoir.com)
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