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Monday, December 22, 2008

Yes Mr. Cohen, There is a Santa Claus

Or At Least a lot of People with iTunes Accounts

(Just because I am such a total chart and list geek I can not let this one go.)

X Factor winner Alexandra Burke has taken the Christmas number one slot with "Hallelujah", ahead of Jeff Buckley's version of the song in second place. Burke's single became the fastest-selling by a female solo artist, with 576,000 copies sold.

In a most heartening twist, Leonard Cohen, who wrote the hit more than 20 years ago, also hit number 36 with his original version.

Sunday's single chart is the first time in almost 52 years that the same song has been at numbers one and two. The first time you ask? That was when Tommy Steele and Guy Mitchell held the top two spots with versions of Melvin Endsley's song "Singin' The Blues" in January 1957.

For those not totally sated with "Hallelujah" goodness, some points of trivia. Perfect for those awkward moments around the Christmas dinner table when conversation begins to wane. (From the Telegraph.)

Hallelujah - 20 facts about Leonard Cohen's Hallelujah

From its appearance in Shrek to the word's Hebrew etymology - 20 key facts about the song of the moment.

1. Hallelujah was first released in 1984 on Leonard Cohen's album, Various Positions.

2. Cohen once told Bob Dylan that it took him two years to write the song.

3. Dylan himself has sung it live, and there are bootleg versions in circulation of his performance. It has also been sung by Bono and Bon Jovi.

4. More than 100 versions of the song have been recorded.

5. The best known is by Jeff Buckley, whose unadorned version was on his 1994 Grace album.

6. Cohen has recorded two versions – the second one appeared on a live album in 1988 – with very different endings; one upbeat, one dark.

7. Buckley's version was used in the soundtrack to the American TV series, The OC.

8. Other TV shows to have used the song include The West Wing, ER, Scrubs, and Holby City.

9. The full version of the song has 15 verses.

10. Cohen, a notorious perfectionist, is said to have originally written 80 verses.

11. Cohen is set to earn £1 million in royalties from sales of singles by X-Factor winner Alexandra Burke.

12. Burke's version is the fastest selling download single in history.

13. Former Velvet Underground member John Cale's version was used in the film Shrek.

14. The Shrek soundtrack album featured a version by Rufus Wainwright, who also sang it in the Leonard Cohen tribute film, I'm Your Man.

15. Cohen was once asked why the song is so popular. "It's got a good chorus," he replied.

16. It has become a mainstay of live shows by Cohen's fellow Canadian singer-songwriter, kd lang.

17. The English singer and songwriter Kathryn Williams once introduced her version of Hallelujah in a live show by saying, "I really, really, really want to shag Leonard Cohen."

18. The song is broadcast at 2am every Saturday night by the Israeli defence force's radio channel.

19. Hallelujah is a Hebrew word, meaning "praise Yah".

20. Cohen has said of the song's meaning: "It explains that many kinds of hallelujahs do exist, and all the perfect and broken hallelujahs have equal value."


Barbara Bruederlin said...

Although I am sure that soon everyone in Britain will be heartily sick of Hallelujah, I am very pleased for Lenny. Although I am very glad he rethought the 80 verses idea.

Leonard Cohen Dance Party 2008! Hahaha the Resident Offspring will be most chuffed that she made your tagline!

eric .5 b said...

That sure ain't Hallelujah playing at the top of your blog.


bloody awful poetry said...

15 verses! For reel? Goodness.Has there ever been a cover, among those 100, that actually incorporates all of em?

And nawww. You could never get sick of Hallelujah, could you? It just cannot happen.

Dale said...

It's a song that deserves a list of facts so Hallelujah for you!