Leonard Cohen: Hallelujah

Quiz by Sharon Michiko Yoneda

artist:  Leonard Cohen

songwriter:  Leonard Cohen

date released:  1984 by Leonard Cohen

*Teacher's alert:  This song contains many present perfect and simple past tenses.  Perhaps it is time for a lesson on the usages of both I will cloze out the verb tenses to choose between the present perfect and simple past for discrete listening comprehension for your ESL students.  

Leonard Cohen released "Various Positions" in 1984 which contained his popular hits "Dance Me To The End of Love" and "Hallelujah."  Columbia Records declined to release the album in the American market, but the Canadian market embraced native son Cohen.  During this era in music history, his music sold mainly in Canada and Europe.

In 2007, Cohen's "Hallelujah" was resurrected by Jeff Buckley and his cover soared to Number 1 on the iTunes chart.  Another major boost for "Hallelujah" came with Kate Voegele's cover.  Along with his old songs, Cohen himself has risen in popularity to the status of an international rock star in the new millennium.  The year 2009 found this septuagenarian on world tours promoting his new music.  

The huge influencer of Cohen as singer and songwriter died on November 7, 2016,  at the age of 82. Cohen’s label, Sony Music Canada, confirmed his death on the singer’s Facebook page shortly after.

It is with profound sorrow we report that legendary poet, songwriter and artist, Leonard Cohen has passed away,” the statement read. “We have lost one of music’s most revered and prolific visionaries. A memorial will take place in Los Angeles at a later date. The family requests privacy during their time of grief.  Leonard Cohen died during his sleep following a fall in the middle of the night on November 7th,” Cohen’s manager Robert Kory said in a statement. “The death was sudden, unexpected and peaceful.  My father passed away peacefully at his home in Los Angeles with the knowledge that he had completed what he felt was one of his greatest records,” Cohen’s son Adam wrote in a statement to Rolling Stone. “He was writing up until his last moments with his unique brand of humour.” Before his death, the songwriter requested that he be laid to rest “in a traditional Jewish rite beside his parents, grandparents and great-grandparents,” his rabbi Adam Scheier wrote in a statement. 

“Unmatched in his creativity, insight and crippling candor, Leonard Cohen was a true visionary whose voice will be sorely missed,” Kory wrote in a separate statement. “I was blessed to call him a friend, and for me to serve that bold artistic spirit firsthand, was a privilege and great gift. He leaves behind a legacy of work that will bring insight, inspiration and healing for generations to come.”

Cohen was the dark eminence among a small pantheon of extremely influential singer-songwriters to emerge in the Sixties and early Seventies. Only Bob Dylan exerted a more profound influence upon his generation, and perhaps only Paul Simon and fellow Canadian Joni Mitchell equaled him as a singer of  poetry.  

For a different but equally enthralling rendition of Hallelujah, go to K.D. Lang as she belts out the tune at the 2010 Olympic Games in Vancouver.