Two days back in Berlin, outdoors at Alexanderplatz, I heard a street musician sing. Hallelujah. The song.
It was a bright sunny day in Berlin. The square was full of people and under one of the many freeways this guy was singing. Strangely even in the open the sound of his voice reverberated in the atmosphere and sent chills down the spine.
The song has been playing in my head ever since and all I want to do is listen to it.
So here’s the thing – and don’t tell me you don’t do it – if I like a song, a popular one at that, I like to listen to all the possible versions and covers of it. Each singer brings to the same song his or her own personality and story to it. Listen and the same song will be different every time. And that’s exactly what I did.
Here’s what I found with Hallelujah.
(And yes, skip the ads. And come back here after a bit of the song!)
Here’s the original version of the song. By the man himself. Leonard Cohen. A humble start.
Then my research found me this.
Apparently… (And I quote from a comment on YouTube. Thank you @powderspirit3)
“It is often called one of the greatest songs of all time! It is the subject of the book The Holy or the Broken: Many cover versions have been performed by many and various singers, both in recordings and in concert, with over 300 versions known. “Hallelujah” is a song written by Canadian singer-songwriter Leonard Cohen, but did not achieve much success until the song found greater popular acclaim through a cover by Jeff Buckley The song has been used in film and television soundtracks, and televised talent contests.”
Here’s Jeff Buckley’s version.
Bon Jovi brings his unique energy to the song.
Then I wondered what Il Divo would have made of this. Have you heard of Il Divo? No? Wiki them! The genre is operatic pop, the group created and managed by none other than Simon Cowell! Listen… just listen to them taking the song to a notch above!
Countless versions later I stumbled on a link which had even a Swedish version. Sounds great too. Something to do with the melody is it? You decide.
Stay with me. There was also Susan Boyle doing her version. And Alexandra Burke’s showmanship takes the crowds to another level.
And then there was this young girl for whom the song was really deliverance. A nervous, anxiety-ridden young girl singing this song. Watch it to believe it.
The line, ‘a cold and broken hallelujah’ takes on a new meaning here!
Enough already? Sure. I can listen to this in different versions. And yet…
And yet, the sound in my head does not diminish. The Berlin street singer still haunts the memory.
P.S. Some more work and I’ve found this! Today is surely my lucky day!
Thanks also to the refreshing blog that led me to this.