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It’s not always readily apparent which songs are going to become standards. Leonard Cohen’s “Hallel...

Leonard Cohen’s 'Hallelujah': The Song That Slowly But Surely Become a Standard

By 12:36:00

It’s not always readily apparent which songs are going to become standards. Leonard Cohen’s “Hallelujah” didn’t seem to have much chance of becoming one when the Canadian singer-songwriter, who passed away Thursday at age 82, introduced it on his 1984 album Various Positions. Neither the song nor the album hit the Billboard charts that year or received a Grammy nomination.

But slowly but surely, the song has attained the status of a modern-day standard. It has reached Billboard‘s Hot 100 seven times (including a current version by the vocal group Pentatonix). It has been performed countless times on TV talent shows. Just two months ago, Tori Kelly sang the song during the “In Memoriam” segment at the Emmy Awards.

John Cale recorded one of the first significant covers of the song. He sang it on I’m Your Fan, a 1991 tribute album to Cohen. A decade later, Cale’s version was featured in the 2001 film Shrek (although Rufus Wainwright’s version appeared on the best-selling soundtrack album).






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