"Shrek" gave new life to the Cohens "Hallelujah"

It’s the documentary “Hallelujah: Leonard Cohen, a journey, a song” that premiered at the Venice Film Festival that tells the story of Cohen’s struggles to get his music out there.

The film’s directors Dayna Goldfine and Dan Geller say in an interview with The Guardian that in 2016, not long before his death, they received Cohen’s “silent blessing” as well as full access to his many notebooks.

There was, among other things, the fateful meeting with Columbia Records record company executive Walter Yetnikoff, who turned down the album “Various Positions” on which “Hallelujah” was the lead track, carefully documented.

The partly religious lyrics of “Hallelujah” are rooted in Cohen’s Jewish heritage and allude to biblical stories of King David and Bathsheba and Samson and Delilah.

Shrek turned everything around

After the rejection, “Hallelujah” was sung at some concerts by Bob Dylan without making much of a fuss. Cohen himself performed it in the late 1980s, not with much success either. But with John Cale’s slightly different version, the song gained some recognition and in 1993 Jeff Buckley recorded the song – on Columbia Records – which had a new label manager.

But it wasn’t until 2001, when the song was somewhat awkwardly used in Dreamworks’ computer-animated film hit “Shrek” that it really took off.

— It led to more cover versions by artists like KD Lang and Brandi Carlile. “Hallelujah” also became popular on TV talent shows, Alexandra Burke won “The X Factor” in 2008 with her rendition which went on to top the charts, says Dayna Goldfine.

An international anthem

Leonard Cohen himself called it ironic that it was others who had the greatest success with his song. When he toured the world in 2012–2013, he always sang “Hallelujah” while standing on his knees at the end of the concert.

— It has become like an international anthem and is regularly played at engagements, weddings and funerals, says Dan Geller, and singer Regina Spektor calls it in the documentary “a contemporary prayer and a manual for modern survival”.

— There is no doubt that “Hallelujah” helped to breathe new life into Leonard Cohen’s career and finally, a quarter of a century later, he reclaimed it as his own, says Dayna Goldfine.

Dayna Goldfine is one of the directors behind the documentary film “Hallelujah: Leonard Cohen, a journey, a song” which premiered during the Venice Film Festival.

Source: Then24

Disclaimer: If you need to update/edit/remove this news or article then please contact our support team Learn more

Deborah Acker

I write epic fantasy; self-published via KDP. Devoted dog mom to my 10 yr old GSD, Shadow! DM not a priority; slow response at best #amwriting #author.

Leave a Reply