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Sunday Song Lyric:
Jeff Buckley died quite an untimely death. His first studio album, Grace received critical acclaim, and he toured on the material for two years. While working on his second studio album, he drowned in the Wolf River in Tennessee.

One of Buckley's most popular songs is a cover of Leonard Cohen's "Hallelujah" (largely based on John Cale's version of the song recorded for a Cohen tribute album). The song has been covered by quite a few folks, including Rufus Wainwright for the Shrek soundtrack [though, as noted in the comments, the movie itself features Cale's verion], but Jeff Buckley's version is among the best.

Here is the second verse:

Your faith was strong but you needed proof
You saw her bathing on the roof
Her beauty and the moonlight overthrew you
She tied you
To a kitchen chair
She broke your throne, and she cut your hair
And from your lips she drew the Hallelujah
The full lyrics are available here. More Leonard Cohen lyrics and info are available at the Leonard Cohen Files. And YouTube has videos of Jeff Buckley performing the song here and here.
Sean O'Hara (mail) (www):
Note though that Wainwright's version is available on the Shrek soundtrack ablum -- the actual movie uses John Cale's (much better) version.
1.28.2007 10:17am
Q the Enchanter (mail) (www):
I love the lyric, and love Buckley's recording. Buckley chose some different verses from the tune (all told there are like 15 or something). You can see his lyrical choices here.
1.28.2007 11:36am
Kovarsky (mail):
i feel confident in saying nobody's ever done a version like that before or will again. his vocal range is the stuff of operah icons and aretha franklin and his mic-side manner part lounge-singer part zeppelin.

i'm glad to see that his untimely death has provoked some "day the music died" moments in song, most notably on one of the Badly Drawn Boy albums.

i still buy every jeff buckley demo, b-side, and remix i come across - and i'm satisfied every time - but there will never be another song he does with the musically-phrased emotional arc of hallelujah.
1.28.2007 11:42am
Kovarsky (mail):
*opera
1.28.2007 11:43am
Cornellian (mail):
Leonard Cohen has a ton of great songs and it's not surprising he's got so many fans among professional musicians. It's remarkable how well his album "The Future" served as the soundtrack for "Natural Born Killers" even though it wasn't written for the movie. "Famous Blue Raincoat" is a great album too, with Jennifer Warnes singing Cohen songs.

Cohen started out as a poet and, when an interviewer asked him the difference between poems and songs Cohen replied "the songs pay better." So he's got a sense of humor too. I seem to recall he ran into some problem with a dishonest business manager and lost a lot of money recently so he's got to start working again. His loss is our gain.

Oh save me a place
In the ten dollar grave
With those who took money
For the pleasure they gave
1.28.2007 12:16pm
Cornellian (mail):
By the way, aren't we overdue for a Sunday open thread?
1.28.2007 12:20pm
Kovarsky (mail):
jeff's dad, tim, also had had a incandescent voice, although heroin prevented it from becoming the four-octave force of nature that jeff's was.

happy sad forever.
1.28.2007 2:13pm
Kovarsky (mail):
by the way, that song in the new cadillac commercials that is so catchy is a song called "punkrocker" by the teddybears, and that is Iggy Pop on vocals.
1.28.2007 2:32pm
Jay Reding (mail) (www):
I'm also quite partial to the version of that song performed by Patricia O'Callaghan, a Toronto-based cabaret singer. It's difficult to find her work, but she does an absolutely amazing interpretation of that song as well as other Cohen pieces.
1.28.2007 9:38pm
JosephSlater (mail):
Buckley's version is fine, but I agree with J.A. that it's trying to be like the John Cale version, and I personally prefer Cale's.

Cohen is really an amazing songwriter. There are a couple of "tribute" CDs of covers of his tunes. IMHO, the best one by far is "I'm Your Number One Fan."
1.29.2007 2:04pm
Scarface (mail) (www):
I've never heard any of Buckley's recordings, but I will say that it is a pity that his memory was poisoned among his fans by the activities of his mother.

Around the period from 1999-2002, fans who tried to buy or sell copies of his music or anything else related to Buckley's career on eBay were relentlessly and ruthlessly pursued by Buckley's mother, who abused eBay's policies in order to stifle such sales.

Never mind that such sales were perfectly legal. Clearly, the motivation was greed, as every sale of a second-hand CD equaled a new CD that would not be sold.

I have no idea if the man had any talent or not, but today I can't skip past a mention of his name without remembering the discussions of this activity on the eBay seller forums.
1.31.2007 1:00pm