The Holy or the Broken - book about Hallelujah by Alan Light

News about Leonard Cohen and his work, press, radio & TV programs etc.
User avatar
Hartmut
Posts: 1312
Joined: Fri Jan 09, 2009 6:08 pm

The Holy or the Broken - book about Hallelujah by Alan Light

Postby Hartmut » Tue Jun 12, 2012 5:04 am

Image

Light, Alan. The Holy or the Broken: Leonard Cohen, Jeff Buckley, and the Unlikely Ascent of “Hallelujah.” Atria: S. & S. Dec. 2012. 272p. ISBN 9781451657845. $25.

http://reviews.libraryjournal.com/2012/ ... allelujah/

http://www.amazon.com/The-Holy-Broken-e ... B007EDZ3M6
User avatar
LisaLCFan
Posts: 1564
Joined: Sun Apr 26, 2009 9:24 pm
Location: Canada

Re: New book: The Unlikely Ascent of “Hallelujah”

Postby LisaLCFan » Tue Jun 12, 2012 10:23 pm

Seriously, an entire book on this subject? :roll:
User avatar
Goldin
Posts: 2401
Joined: Fri Aug 14, 2009 9:57 pm
Location: St. Petersburg, Russia
Contact:

Re: New book: The Unlikely Ascent of “Hallelujah”

Postby Goldin » Tue Jun 12, 2012 10:46 pm

Yet when iconoclastic rocker Leonard Cohen first wrote and recorded the song “Hallelujah,” it attracted little attention or airplay, not even making it onto his own “Best of” album. How did one unknown song become an international anthem for human triumph and tragedy, one which each successive generation feels they have discovered and claimed as uniquely their own?

Through in-depth interviews with the people who were actually there, Alan Light—one of the foremost music journalists working today—follows “Hallelujah”’s improbable and epic journey straight to the heart of popular culture. The Holy or the Broken not only gives insight into how great songs come to be, but how they come to be listened to and forever reinterpreted.
(description @ amazon)
Roman aka Hermitage Prisoner
nychas
Posts: 8
Joined: Mon Jan 19, 2009 6:03 pm

Re: New book: The Unlikely Ascent of “Hallelujah”

Postby nychas » Tue Jun 12, 2012 11:27 pm

I imagine Bob Dylan's live cover is part of the story he certainly does a wonderful job with it. And other cover versions crop up everywhere nowadays.
Last edited by nychas on Tue Jun 12, 2012 11:46 pm, edited 1 time in total.
User avatar
musicmania
Posts: 1481
Joined: Fri Jul 24, 2009 7:49 pm
Location: Kildare Town Ireland
Contact:

Re: New book: The Unlikely Ascent of “Hallelujah”

Postby musicmania » Tue Jun 12, 2012 11:31 pm

Ok maybe I am biased but I think this will be a fascinating read and I will be pre-ordering in the hope it will have arrived in my letterbox by the time I return from seeing Leonard in Canada ;-)
2009 Dublin 2010 Lissadell Katowice LV x2 2012 Ghent x2 Dublin x4 Montreal x2 Toronto x2 2013 New York x2 Brussels Dublin x2

Gwen's Leonard Cohen Journey: http://myleonardcohenjourney.wordpress.com/

"I did my best, it wasn't much"
User avatar
LisaLCFan
Posts: 1564
Joined: Sun Apr 26, 2009 9:24 pm
Location: Canada

Re: New book: The Unlikely Ascent of “Hallelujah”

Postby LisaLCFan » Wed Jun 13, 2012 12:35 am

musicmania wrote:Ok maybe I am biased but I think this will be a fascinating read ...
Perhaps I am too cynical. Please let us know what you think of it!
User avatar
jarkko
Site Admin
Posts: 6985
Joined: Thu Jun 27, 2002 1:01 am
Location: Espoo, Finland
Contact:

Re: New book: The Unlikely Ascent of “Hallelujah”

Postby jarkko » Thu Nov 08, 2012 12:23 am

Image
1988, 1993: Helsinki||2008: Manchester|Oslo|London O2|Berlin|Helsinki|London RAH|| 2009: New York Beacon|Berlin|Venice|Barcelona|Las Vegas|San José||2010: Salzburg|Helsinki|Gent|Bratislava|Las Vegas|| 2012: Gent|Helsinki|Verona|| 2013: New York|Pula|Oslo|||
User avatar
comehealing
Posts: 101
Joined: Wed Aug 29, 2012 11:27 am
Location: Wales, UK, The World
Contact:

Re: New book: The Unlikely Ascent of “Hallelujah”

Postby comehealing » Thu Nov 08, 2012 12:39 am

A whole book, wow. Should be a fascinating read.

I always loved Bryan Appleyard's piece from 2005 and his brilliant observation:

"it is a song about the contemporary condition of song"

http://www.leonardcohenfiles.com/appleyard.html
Alexis
"Who, being loved, is poor?"
(Oscar Wilde)
"That love is all there is" (Emily Dickinson)
"A miracle, just take a look around: The inescapable earth" (Wislawa Szymborska)
John Etherington
Posts: 2556
Joined: Sat Sep 18, 2004 10:17 pm

Re: New book: The Unlikely Ascent of “Hallelujah”

Postby John Etherington » Fri Nov 09, 2012 1:40 am

Holy halloween hangovers! This author must have seen 'em coming...$25.00 for a book on "Hallelujah" when you can buy Sylvie Simmons book for a few dollars more (and her two pages on the subject seemed to be stretching it). In my personal opinion, here - off the top of my head - is everything I think you need to know about "Hallelujah":

"Hallelujah" was first heard on Leonard's "Various Positions" LP in 1985...I believe it was the opening track on side 2. It combined a droll humour with religiosity and was based on the story of David and Bathsheba (get yer Bibles out!). At some point in the Eighties Leonard added an extra verse that gave the song a more secular and passionate feel. We were introduced to this at his live concerts. It appropriately combined the aforemenioned droll humour with genuine suffering and spiritual yearning. The first name recording of the song (the extended version) was by John Cale and appeared on the punk LC tribute album "I'm Your Fan". For many years, Cale used it as an encore, and the song's inclusion added an unforseen spiritual dimension to his work, considering that most of his songs were of a much darker nature. It remains the best and generally most worthwhile cover version. It should also be noted that Bob Dylan at one time played a rather nondescript live version of the song.

"Hallelujah" got wider recognition in the 1990's when Jeff Buckley recorded it on "Grace". It gained an added poignancy when Jeff followed his father Tim to an early afterlife. Buckley's ethereal choir boy version was very affecting, but something had already been lost from the original intent of the song (it was turning into a more conventional hymn). At this stage the song was also released into the wider collective - something that would ultimately affect the fate of the song as well as Leonard's future career. The first female version I believe was by Julie Felix. She sang the word "Hallelujah" in a rather odd way, but this version had the value of adding the female component to the holy trinity of Cohen, Cale and Buckley (and Julie had, after all, gained her credentials by introducing Leonard to the U.K. on her BBC TV show in the Sixties). Another moving version was by a young Swedish singer, Sofia Petterson, whose boyfriend (a member of the Stockholm Strings and Horns) died in the tsunami of 2004 after playing on Brian Wilson's "Smile". The song reached an even wider and younger audience when Rufus Wainwright's version was used on the Shrek CD.

The last marginally credible version of the song (I've only heard it once) was by K.D.Lang. Bono also recorded an attrocious hip hop version on (yet another) Leonard sampler, "Tower of Song". This could feasibly have killed the song forever, but it went on to be recorded by umpteen squillion other people - most successfully by Alexanda Burke who had a Christmas No. 1 with it, after her version won the X-Factor. By now, the words "how to shoot at someone who outdrew you" had become "how to shoot somebody who outdrew you". Nonetheless, the public's embracing of the song, clearly reflected a deep spiritual need. Since Leonard had apparently lost the rights to the song, and Simon Cowell now had shares in it, it helped to make him even more filthily rich. Since then, even Leonard has been quoted as saying that the song should be given a rest. Despite it all, he re-claimed "Hallelujah" by giving it one of his best ever interpretations at his first concert at the O2 in 2008 (recorded on "Live in London"). Ultimately, the song says it all - though it's doubtful if any Leonard followers still have much inclination to hear it, except when they hear him sing it in concert.

So will there be a demand for a whole book on the song? Possibly yes, considering the daily outpouring of overkill, repetition, trivia, and general "Leonard wanking" that one finds on the internet. I may even buy it myself when it reaches a remaindered price of £3.00, as another Leonard biography titled "Hallelujah" has recently done!

All good things, John E
Last edited by John Etherington on Wed Nov 14, 2012 3:09 am, edited 6 times in total.
UrPal
Posts: 353
Joined: Fri Sep 17, 2004 7:43 pm
Location: Manchester
Contact:

Re: New book: The Unlikely Ascent of “Hallelujah”

Postby UrPal » Fri Nov 09, 2012 1:15 pm

John Etherington wrote:The song reached an even wider and younger audience when Rufus Wainwright's version was used in the first Shrek movie.
Thanks for that summary of the history of Hallelujah, John. A minor correction though. If I'm not mistaken, a John Cale recording of Hallelujah appears in the actual Shrek movie soundtrack. At least that's my recollection of the movie I've watched in the past - it features quite prominently towards the end of the film so I can even sort of bring it to mind in the intermingling of animated images and a distinctive Welsh singing tone as I type. For some reason this was replaced by Rufus Wainwright's version on the audio CD release of the soundtrack. Presumably because Rufus' vocal was considered more commercial than John's.
John Etherington
Posts: 2556
Joined: Sat Sep 18, 2004 10:17 pm

Re: New book: The Unlikely Ascent of “Hallelujah”

Postby John Etherington » Fri Nov 09, 2012 2:54 pm

Thanks, Urpal,

You're right - I wrote that from memory, and thought it was the other way round (i.e. Wainwright in movie and Cale on CD). I've corrected it above, to avoid confusion.

All the best, John E
MaryB
Posts: 3953
Joined: Sat Mar 08, 2008 5:40 am
Location: Columbus, Ohio USA

Re: New book: The Unlikely Ascent of “Hallelujah”

Postby MaryB » Fri Nov 09, 2012 8:59 pm

John,

Now that I've read your synopsis, I don't need to buy the book 8) :lol: - thank you.

Warmest regards,
Mary
1993 Detroit 2008 Kitchener June 2-Hamilton June 3 & 4-Vienna Sept 24 & 25-London RAH Nov 17 2009 NYC Feb 19-Grand Prairie Apr 3-Phoenix Apr 5-Columbia May 11-Red Rocks Jun 4-Barcelona Sept 21-Columbus Oct 27-Las Vegas Nov 12-San Jose Nov 13 2010 Sligo Jul 31 & Aug 1-LV Dec 10 & 11 2012 Paris Sept 30-London Dec 11-Boston Dec 16 2013 Louisville Mar 30-Amsterdam Sept 20
bee
Posts: 918
Joined: Thu Apr 08, 2004 6:28 am
Location: San Francisco, USA
Contact:

Re: New book: The Unlikely Ascent of “Hallelujah”

Postby bee » Sat Nov 10, 2012 9:59 am

thank you so much for the read on hallelujah history.
I was on the nov 8 concert in San Jose HP hall.
Leonard was great, great, great, everything was absolute perfection!
bee
User avatar
apple
Posts: 61
Joined: Mon Oct 01, 2012 9:53 am

Re: New book: The Unlikely Ascent of “Hallelujah”

Postby apple » Sun Nov 11, 2012 5:41 pm

LisaLCFan wrote:Seriously, an entire book on this subject? :roll:
it's the ascending chord progression.. really beautiful.. and then the words... and then Leonard's voice. what a song.
User avatar
Wybe
Site Admin
Posts: 640
Joined: Sat Jan 08, 2005 1:05 am
Location: The Netherlands
Contact:

The Holy Or The Broken

Postby Wybe » Sun Nov 25, 2012 8:30 pm

Book Excerpt: The Holy Or The Broken: Leonard Cohen, Jeff Buckley And The Unlikely Ascent Of “Hallelujah”

http://www.americansongwriter.com/2012/ ... allelujah/
Jeff Buckley:

“The reason I did ‘Hallelujah’ was because of the song, and not because of Leonard,” he told MTV’s 120 Minutes alternative video show. “But you can’t help but admire him.”
Wybe
2008 -- Brugge, Amsterdam, London, Berlin, Helsinki, Oberhausen, Rotterdam -- 2008
2009 -- Antwerpen, Venice, Barcelona .-- 2009
2010 -- 2 x Gent, Lille, 2x Las Vegas, -- 2010
2012 -- Gent, 2 x Amsterdam, Dublin, Verona -- 2012
2013 -- Pula, Rotterdam -- 2013
https://www.icantforget.nl -- +++ https://www.LCeventAmsterdam.icantforget.nl +++ --

Return to “News”

Who is online

Users browsing this forum: No registered users and 16 guests