Halleluujah -

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  • 08-28-2011, 07:59 PM
    RGA
    Halleluujah -
    The leader of Canada's official opposition party Jack Layton passed away (Arguably Canada's social conscience party) and Stephen Page of the band "The Barenaked Ladies" was asked to sing "Hallelujah" at his funeral. By no means an easy piece. Stephen did a good job considering he had little time to learn the song and a song he would not have chosen for his vocal range - and he had to look at the sheet music for wording.

    Steven Page Jack Layton Funeral : Steven Page sings Hallelujah - YouTube

    But there are numerous versions of this song abound and it is interesting that fans call so and so's the best version or the definitive version. Oddly the only definitive version can be the original as sung by Leonard Cohen who wrote the song. Though that doesn't mean the best version.

    I like every version but I would hold KD Lang in top spot simply because she has the best vocal talent of the lot - Kurt Nilsen being her equal but he sings it as part of a quartet (this is my second favorite rendition) then Cohen, then I would probably tie the rest with Rufus Wainright last. It seems rushed to me.

    So what the hell thought I would put up a poll - favorite version and why.

    I chose KD and Kurt Nilson simply because to me it is a vocal heavy song and those two have the best vocals - though Cohen, Buckley and Page give it a lot of "heart."

    I just like to see what people look for in a song - looking through the youtube posts you see people saying Buckley is the definitive or Cale, and piles of people who say KD just owns this cover.

    Steven's version was linked above - here are the others

    KD Lang K.D. Lang sings Leonard Cohen's Hallelujah - YouTube

    John Cale John Cale - Hallelujah - YouTube

    Cohen Hallelujah - Leonard Cohen - YouTube

    Buckley Jeff Buckley - Hallelujah (Original Studio Version) - YouTube

    The Quartet version with Kurt Nilsen HALLELUJAH , (shrek song) - YouTube

    Rufus Wainright "Hallelujah" by Rufus Wainwright (Irish performance) - YouTube

    I must admit that if World Idol is finding people like Kurt Nilsen then I should be watching these shows more. Definitely the real deal on vocals - Kurt Nilsen - "I" Live - YouTube

    Note: There are many other versions of this song - Sheryl Crow, Bon Jovi, Willie Nelson, Bob Dylan. - and numerous others - I basically chose the ones where a youtube version was easily accessible.
  • 08-29-2011, 04:40 AM
    Feanor
    Thanks for this, RGA.

    I saw Steven Page during real time during Layton's state funeral: I though it was a creditable effort too.

    Among the poll choices, several good versions but I voted for k d lang; (I like the singing and music but not so much the visuals!). Sentimentally, I like Cohen, but let's face it he isn't a great singer or arranger. Jeff Buckley's was very nice but a bit too smooth and lacking soul, relatively speaking.

    I didn't watch the whole funeral. I caught Page as mentioned. I was impressed and moved by Stephen Lewis' eulogy. When you consider Jack Layton as a person and as a politician, comparisons with most others are invidious. With, say, Stephen Harper? Pleez. With the dirtbags who are running for the US Republican presidential nomination? That's really depressing.
  • 08-29-2011, 05:48 AM
    ForeverAutumn
    I too caught Page's rendition live on Saturday but had afternoon plans so I couldn't watch the whole funeral...which is just as well because I, surprisingly, found myself getting very emotional as I watched it. I have never voted NDP at the Federal level but I always said that if anyone could have swayed my vote it would have been Layton. I so respected him as a person and could almost even trust him as a politician.

    I also have to say that I gained a new respect for Olivia Chow also. I don't know how she managed to keep her composure in public for the whole week. The woman is a rock (and I mean that in a good way).

    As for Page's version of Hallelujah, I thought it was just okay. Under any other circumstances I would have said that this was a bad song choice for him.

    My husband and I have this argument all the time at home. Seriously, we really do. I think that kd's version is the best. Hubby prefers Buckley. We saw kd live this summer and when she sang this song it gave me chills. That woman has a gift. What a voice!

    But there's another version of this song that I love that RGA missed. It's different, but listen with an open mind and it's actually pretty darn good...

    <iframe width="420" height="345" src="http://www.youtube.com/embed/sfxScuK3Qy4" frameborder="0" allowfullscreen></iframe>
  • 08-29-2011, 06:11 AM
    Feanor
    Quote:

    Originally Posted by ForeverAutumn View Post
    ...
    But there's another version of this song that I love that RGA missed. It's different, but listen with an open mind and it's actually pretty darn good...

    Actually it IS pretty darn good ... though I'm reminded of why I don't listen to a lot Rock music.

    Quote:

    Originally Posted by ForeverAutumn View Post
    ...

    <IFRAME height=345 src="http://www.youtube.com/embed/sfxScuK3Qy4" frameBorder=0 width=420 allowfullscreen></IFRAME>

  • 08-29-2011, 10:06 AM
    RGA
    The only problem to me with the rock version there is that the arrangement drowns out the vocals - which is probably fine with a lot of rock since the words are often best not heard but with this particular song - the vocals not the electric guitar or drums need to project out front with the instruments in the background.

    Although my bias has always tended toward the singer above the band. If I like the singer I'll probably like the band even if the band is made up of so-so musicians. Whereas if the musicians are brilliant but the singer bothers me I can't listen to it. Not a big fan of Led Zeppelin or the Stones for these reasons.

    For a long time I used the standard of - if I need to read the liner notes to figure out what you're saying then you're a bad singer - The Beatles for example - every word can be heard - no need for liner notes. I can't say that about a lot of rock bands.

    I like Rock but in general I like "songs" over entire albums. While with Classical or Jazz I tend to like entire albums.

    I'm actually a little surprised I haven't seen more female singers take this song on.
  • 08-29-2011, 06:28 PM
    bobsticks
    Quote:

    Originally Posted by RGA View Post
    I like every version but I would hold KD Lang in top spot simply because she has the best vocal talent of the lot - Kurt Nilsen being her equal but he sings it as part of a quartet (this is my second favorite rendition) then Cohen, then I would probably tie the rest with Rufus Wainright last. It seems rushed to me.

    It's funny how people take different things from the same composition. For me it's the Buckley version, or the other Buckley version, or Laughing Lenny, or John Cale, or anybody else mentioned in this thread, or Shrek, or Shrek's roadies, or Grammy Shrek with the size 40 panties, or Shrek's carcass' version long before KD Lang's.

    I get the same sense of overwhelming contrivance from KD's version that I do when I hear Tom Jones covering Prince's Kiss
  • 08-29-2011, 06:44 PM
    JohnMichael
    As much as I love KD I must say Jeff Buckley's version is for me.
  • 08-29-2011, 07:07 PM
    Smokey
    I liked the Leonard Cohen version best, but it might be due to being studio version as most others are live. Beside the song, I thought Cohen had best vocal of the bunch.
  • 08-30-2011, 10:02 AM
    RGA
    Well the first time I heard KD Lang's version was at the 2010 Olympics in Vancouver. So I may be biased. Since both Cohen and Lang are Canadian. I would have liked to hear Nikki Yanofsky or Sophi Milman try Hallelujah. Two different kinds of Jazz singers - the latter is probably my favorite current female jazz vocalist.

    I think she has the voice for it Sophie Milman - I can&#39;t make you love me - YouTube
  • 08-30-2011, 12:15 PM
    Feanor
    Quote:

    Originally Posted by bobsticks View Post
    ....
    I get the same sense of overwhelming contrivance from KD's version that I do when I hear Tom Jones covering Prince's Kiss

    Lang does seem affected a times; it's part of her, uhmm, charm.

    'Sticks, I would have expected more sympathy for affected people from you.
  • 08-30-2011, 12:16 PM
    ForeverAutumn
    Quote:

    Originally Posted by Feanor View Post
    'Stick, I would have expected more sympathy for affected people from you.

    Yeah...being one and all.

    ;)
  • 08-31-2011, 04:53 AM
    bobsticks
    Thank you. Thank you very little...
    ...touché...
  • 09-01-2011, 11:26 AM
    woofersus
    I tend to prefer the Jeff Buckley version as well. There are tons of renditions of this song though. My wife and I saw U2 play this summer in Pittsburgh and they did the first verse of Hallelujah to open the song Where the Streets Have No Name. It may not be the greatest vocal performance of all time, but it was decent and in the greater context of the show U2 puts on, it was pretty cool.

    U2 Hallelujah & Intro to Where The Streets Have No Name - 360 Tour East Rutherford 2011-07-20 - YouTube

    Also I came across this one of Justin Timberlake of all people and Matt Morris doing a nice arrangement of the song on the Hope for Haiti telethon. The audio is slightly misaligned with the video and there's a banner across the screen, but I actually think it's a really good performance.

    Justin Timberlake - Hallelujah (Hope For Haiti Now 1/22/10) - YouTube


    And again from the somewhat unexpected category, here's one from Bon Jovi:

    Bon Jovi - Hallelujah - YouTube