Coverage: “Hallelujah” on the UK charts

December 22, 2008


Last week guest blogger Scott posted about the Jeff Buckley cover of Leonard Cohen’s “Hallelujah,” describing it as ‘insipid’ compared to the original.

Well, as he pointed out, apparently all of the UK is conspiring against him.

This week, the number one song on the British charts is a cover of “Hallelujah” by Alexandra Burke, the winner of the British analog of American IdolX-Factor. The number two song? Quoth the Guardian: “In second place…was the late Buckley’s interpretation of the song, which was propelled…by an internet campaign masterminded by music fans who feared that Burke would desecrate Cohen’s 1984 anthem.”

Sorry, Scott. The fact that Cohen’s own version also charted, at #36, makes me feel slightly better.

You can see the video of the Burke version here. Or do something better for your soul and download the original from Amazon here.

EDIT: In the comments, Mike Epstein recommended the John Cale version. It is indeed wonderful. Enjoy.

MP3: John Cale – Hallelujah (live)


  1. I actually also think that Buckley’s version is a garbage, showboating non-interpretation of the song. John Cale’s version, however, might be the best one (better than Cohen’s original). I’m going to do myself a favor and not listen to the Alexandra Burke version.

    • Oooh, I don’t think I’ve heard the Cale version. Off to look for it…

  2. Thanks Mike. I’d heard the Cale version years ago, but between Buckley and (sad to say) Bono both reinterpreting the original badly, I’d written off covers of this work. Nice to be reminded that they aren’t all bad.

  3. Jeff Buckley’s highly marketed version from Grace is a studio production that has had its day. There are many more enjoyable versions recorded since 1994 and, thankfully, most are not pumped out by the major record labels.

  4. Welcome, Moriarty! Do you have any particular favourites among the post-1994 indie versions?

  5. […] of campaigns, backing alternatives from Jeff Buckley (whose version of Hallelujah in fact reached Number 2) to Rick Astley to Peter Kay to Terry Wogan to Chris Difford from Squeeze launched across social […]

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