Leonard Cohen: Hallelujah

Quiz by: Sharon Michiko Yoneda
Description: Hallelujah. A classic from Montrealer, Leonard Cohen
High Intermediate

Baby I have been here before
I know this room, I've walked this floor
I used to live alone before I knew you.

I've seen your flag on the marble arch
But listen Love; love is not some kind of victory march
It's a cold, and it's ever a broken Hallelujah

Hallelujah, Hallelujah
Hallelujah, Hallelujah

There was a time when you let me know
What's really going on below
Ah but now, you never show it to me, do you?
I remember yeah when I moved in you
The holy dove she was moving too
Never I've seen a breath that was went through. Hallelujah

CHORUS: Hallelujah, Hallelujah,
Hallelujah, Hallelujah

Maybe there's a god above
As for me, all I've ever seemed to learn from love
Is how to shoot at someone who outdrew you

It's not a complaint that you hear tonight
It's not the laughter of someone who claims to have seen the light
God it's a cold, and it's a lonely Hallelujah

CHORUS: Hallelujah, Hallelujah
Hallelujah, Hallelujah

CHORUS: Hallelujah, Hallelujah,
Hallelujah, Hallelujah

I did my best; it wasn't much.
I couldn't feel, so I learned to touch
I've told the truth
I didn't come all this way to fool you'

Even though it all went wrong
I'll stand right here before the Lord of Song
With nothing on my tongue but Hallelujah

Hallelujah, Hallelujah
Hallelujah, Hallelujah

Hallelujah, Hallelujah
Hallelujah, Hallelujah
artist: Leonard Cohen

songwriter: Leonard Cohen

date released: 1984 by Leonard Cohen

*teacher alert: This song contains a lot of the present perfect and simple past tenses. Perhaps it is time for a lesson on the usages of both I will cloze out the verb tenses to choose between the present perfect and simple past for discrete listening comprehension for your ESL students.

Leonard Cohen released "Various Positions" in 1984 which contained his popular hits "Dance Me To The End of Love" and "Hallelujah." Columbia Records declined to release the album in the American market, but the Canadian market embraced native son Cohen. During this era in music history, his music sold mainly in Canada and Europe.

In 2007, Cohen's "Hallelujah" was resurrected by Jeff Buckley and his cover soared to Number 1 on the iTunes chart. Another major boost for "Hallelujah" came with Kate Voegele's cover. Along with his old songs, Cohen himself has risen in popularity to the status of international rock star in the new millennium. The year 2009 found this septuagenarian on world tours promoting his new music.

The hugely influencer of Cohen as singer and songwriter died on November 7, 2016, at the age of 82. Cohen’s label, Sony Music Canada, confirmed his death on the singer’s Facebook page shortly after.

“It is with profound sorrow we report that legendary poet, songwriter and artist, Leonard Cohen has passed away,” the statement read. “We have lost one of music’s most revered and prolific visionaries. A memorial will take place in Los Angeles at a later date. The family requests privacy during their time of grief.”

“Leonard Cohen died during his sleep following a fall in the middle of the night on November 7th,” Cohen’s manager Robert Kory said in a statement. “The death was sudden, unexpected and peaceful.”

“My father passed away peacefully at his home in Los Angeles with the knowledge that he had completed what he felt was one of his greatest records,” Cohen’s son Adam wrote in a statement to Rolling Stone. “He was writing up until his last moments with his unique brand of humor.”

Before his death, the songwriter requested that he be laid to rest “in a traditional Jewish rite beside his parents, grandparents and great-grandparents,” his rabbi Adam Scheier wrote in a statement.

“Unmatched in his creativity, insight and crippling candor, Leonard Cohen was a true visionary whose voice will be sorely missed,” Kory wrote in a separate statement. “I was blessed to call him a friend, and for me to serve that bold artistic spirit firsthand, was a privilege and great gift. He leaves behind a legacy of work that will bring insight, inspiration and healing for generations to come.”

Cohen was the dark eminence among a small pantheon of extremely influential singer-songwriters to emerge in the Sixties and early Seventies. Only Bob Dylan exerted a more profound influence upon his generation, and perhaps only Paul Simon and fellow Canadian Joni Mitchell equaled him as a song poet.

For a different but equally enthralling rendition of Hallelujah, go to K.D. Lang as she belts out the tune at the 2010 Olympic Games in Vancouver.