I recently had the opportunity to watch the new documentary “Hallelujah: Leonard Cohen, A Journey, A Song.”
It’s a very powerful film that documents the career of Mr. Cohen and his most famous musical composition.
As someone that’s also working on a documentary on the story of an iconic song, I couldn’t help but think about the parallel paths of the two songs.
Like LOUIE LOUIE, “Hallelujah” has inspired hundreds, if not thousands of cover versions.
Both songs found widespread acceptance due to a cover version of a cover version. John Cale’s cover of “Hallelujah”was equivalent to Rockin’ Robin’s cover of LOUIE, setting the stage for both Jeff Buckley and the Kingsmen to unintentionally deliver future iconic songs to the masses.
Both songs were restricted. The governor of Indiana asked that radio stations not play LOUIE on the airwaves. Cohen was signed to Columbia Records, but the executives of that label rejected the song “Hallelujah,” making it more difficult for American citizens to hear this music.
Both songs had multiple sets of lyrics – authorized and otherwise adapted/interpreted by third parties.
Leonard Cohen spent many years writing “Hallelujah,” which over the course of at least five years, and many notebooks, was finally unveiled to the public as part of his “Various Positions” album in June 1984
Then, there’s my LOUIE documentary project, which is taking much longer than expected to finish…. (more on that later..)
In the meantime, this new Cohen documentary is highly recommended.