Under The Milky Way ~ The Church

The_Church_(Band)The Church is an Australian psychedelic rock band formed in Sydney in 1980. Initially associated with new wave, neo-psychedelia and indie rock, their music later came to feature slower tempos and surreal soundscapes reminiscent of dream pop and post-rock. Glenn A. Baker has written that “From the release of the ‘She Never Said’ single in November 1980, this unique Sydney-originated entity has purveyed a distinctive, ethereal, psychedelic-tinged sound which has alternatively found favor and disfavor in Australia”. The Los Angeles Times has described the band’s music as “dense, shimmering, exquisite guitar pop”.

The founding members were Steve Kilbey on lead vocals and bass guitar, Peter Koppes and Marty Willson-Piper on guitars and Nick Ward on drums. Ward only played on their debut album and the band’s drummer for the rest of the 1980s was Richard Ploog. Jay Dee Daugherty (ex-Patti Smith Group) played drums from 1990 to 1993, followed by Tim Powles (ex-The Venetians) who remains with them to the present day. Koppes left the band from 1992 to 1997[4] and Willson-Piper left in 2013. He was replaced by Ian Haug, formerly of Powderfinger. Kilbey, Koppes and Powles also recorded together as “The Refo:mation” in 1997.

The Church’s debut album, Of Skins and Heart (1981), delivered their first radio hit “The Unguarded Moment” and they were signed to major labels in Australia, Europe and the United States. However, the US label was dissatisfied with their second album and dropped the band without releasing it. This put a dent in their international success, but they returned to the charts in 1988, with the album Starfish and the US Top 40 hit “Under the Milky Way”. Subsequent mainstream success has proved elusive, but the band retains a large international cult following and were inducted into the ARIA Hall of Fame in Sydney in 2011. The Church continue to tour and record, releasing their 24th studio album, Further/Deeper, in October 2014.

Under The Milky Way

Under the Milky Way” is a single by Australian alternative rock band The Church, released on 15 February 1988 and appears on their fifth studio album Starfish. The song was written by bass guitarist and lead vocalistSteve Kilbey and his then-girlfriend Karin Jansson (ex-Pink Champagne, Curious (Yellow)).

“Under the Milky Way” was written by Kilbey and Karin Jansson of Curious (Yellow). Kilbey and Jansson had become friends in 1983 and lived together in Australia from 1986.  Kilbey said, “I smoked a joint and started playing the piano and she came in the room and we just made it up.”  According to a press release issued with Starfish, the title is from an Amsterdam music and cultural venue, Melkweg (Dutch for “Milky Way”), which Kilbey used to frequent.

Under The Milky Way – Kilby, Jansson

Sometimes when this place gets kind of empty
Sound of their breath fades with the light
I think about the loveless fascination
Under the Milky Way tonight

Lower the curtain down on Memphis
Lower the curtain down, all right
I got no time for private consultation
Under the Milky Way tonight

Wish I knew what you were looking for
Might have known what you would find
Wish I knew what you were looking for
Might have known what you would find

And it’s something quite peculiar
Something shimmering and white
Leads you here despite your destination
Under the Milky Way tonight

Wish I knew what you were looking for
Might have known what you would find
Wish I knew what you were looking for
Might have known what you would find

Under the Milky Way tonight
Under the Milky Way tonight

  • Audio from the 1988 album, Starfish:

Starfish_album

Play Under The Milky Way - by The Church

History Repeating – Propellerheads

PropellerheadsPropellerheads are a British big beat music band made up of electronic producers Will White and Alex Gifford. The term “Propellerhead” is slang for a nerd, and when Gifford and White heard a friend from California use this in a conversation, they thought it the perfect name for their band.

Proponents of the much-maligned big-beat style of dance music (i.e. the Chemical Brothers), the Propellerheads — keyboardist/bassist/DJ Alex Gifford and drummer/DJ Will White — sprang out of Bath, England in 1996 to achieve almost overnight success in the U.K. with their brand of unabashed party techno, which combines strains of hip-hop, acid house, jazz-funk, and spy-film soundtracks. Gifford began his career as a studio musician, playing keyboards for Van Morrison and saxophone for the Stranglers, among others, before joining dance collective the Grid. After a stint on the staff of Peter Gabriel’s Real World Studios, where he helped write and produce the well-received Arcane compilation, Gifford decided to start recording his own music, and sought out local drummer White. In 1996, the duo released its first EP, Dive, on Wall of Sound; almost immediately, the title track was licensed by Adidas for use in a television commercial. The follow-up, Take California, appeared later that year, and the title track became a significant underground big-beat success. The 1997 Spybreak! EP was another hit, demonstrating the duo’s love for spy-film soundtracks; later in the year, the group hit the British Top Five with a remake of the Bond theme “On Her Majesty’s Secret Service,” recorded for the compilation Shaken and Stirred: The David Arnold 007 Project. Remixes for acts like Luscious Jackson, Soul Coughing, and 808 State followed, and Propellerheads signed to DreamWorks. The band made its U.S. debut in 1997 with a self-titled CD5, which contained the new single “Bang On!,” as well as several old and new tracks. In early 1998, the Propellerheads released their full-length debut, Decksandrumsandrockandroll, to generally positive reviews.

History Repeating

History Repeating” is a song written by Alex Gifford and originally performed by the Propellerheads featuring Shirley Bassey in 1997.

The track is a fusion of several different styles of big beat, breakbeat and Jazz combined with the powerful vocals of Shirley Bassey. The sleeve cover, an illustration by Duke D. Jukes takes its inspiration from classic album sleeves, such as those used for the Capitol 1959 release No One Cares from Frank Sinatra. The retro style was also continued with the video, filmed in monochrome, the opening of which is themed on a TV Jazz show called Jazz 1200 and clearly harks back to the serious music shows of the 1960’s. Scenes from the video shoot were included in the Divas are Forever DVD.

History Repeating – Gifford

The word is about, there’s something evolving,
whatever may come, the world keeps revolving
They say the next big thing is here,
that the revolution’s near,
but to me it seems quite clear
that it’s all just a little bit of history repeating

The newspapers shout a new style is growing,
but it don’t know if it’s coming or going,
there is fashion, there is fad
some is good, some is bad
and the joke is rather sad,
that its all just a little bit of history repeating

.. and I’ve seen it before
.. and I’ll see it again
.. yes I’ve seen it before
.. just little bits of history repeating

Some people don’t dance, if they don’t know who’s singing,
why ask your head, it’s your hips that are swinging
life’s for us to enjoy
woman, man, girl and boy,
feel the pain, feel the joy
aside set the little bits of history repeating

.. just little bits of history repeating
.. and I’ve seen it before
.. and I’ll see it again
.. yes I’ve seen it before
.. just little bits of history repeating

  • Audio from the 1997 album, Decksanddrumsandrockandroll:

Propellerheads_decksandrumsandrockandroll_cover

Play History Repeating - by Propellerheads

Make it Rain ~ Ed Sheeran

ed-sheeran-150Ed Sheeran  is an English singer-songwriter and musician.  He was born in Hebden Bridge, West Yorkshire and raised in Framlingham, Suffolk. After dropping out of school at 16, he moved to London the following year, in 2008, to pursue a career in music. In early 2011, Sheeran independently released the extended play No. 5 Collaborations Project, which caught the attention of Elton John and Jamie Foxx.  After signing with Asylum Records, his debut album, + (read as “plus”), was released on 9 September 2011 and has since been certified six-times platinum in the UK. The album contains the single “The A Team”, which earned him the Ivor Novello Award for Best Song Musically and Lyrically.  In 2012, Sheeran won the Brit Awards for Best British Male Solo Artist and British Breakthrough Act.

Sheeran’s popularity abroad began in 2012. In the US, he made a guest appearance on Taylor Swift’s fourth studio album, Red.  “The A Team” was nominated for Song of the Year at the 2013 Grammy Awards, where he performed the song with Elton John.[7][8] He spent much of 2013 opening for Swift’s The Red Tour in North America dates.  In late 2013, he performed three sold-out shows at New York’s Madison Square Garden as a headline act. He was nominated for Best New Artist at the 2014 Grammy Awards.

His second studio album, x (read as “multiply”), was released worldwide on 23 June 2014. It peaked at number one in the UK and the US. In 2015, x won the Brit Award for Album of the Year, and he received the Ivor Novello Award for Songwriter of the Year.  As part of his world tour, Sheeran played three sold-out concerts at London’s Wembley Stadium in July 2015, his biggest solo shows to date.

Make It Rain

Make It Rain” is a song by the Northern Irish musician Foy Vance. It was made famous by Ed Sheeran in 2014 when it was used in the television series Sons of Anarchy

Ed Sheeran’s recording of the song was used in an episode in season 7 of the television series Sons of Anarchy.  Sheeran was an avid fan of the series and mentioned it on his Twitter account. When the creator read it, he proposed that Sheeran records a song for one of the episodes. As Sheeran was touring with Foy Vance at the time, and as one of Vance’s songs (Make It Rain) started with the lyrics “When the sins of my father / Weigh down in my soul”, Sheeran thought it was appropriate for the series and with Vance’s approval, Sheeran recorded the song to be used in the episode “Red Rose” broadcast on December 2, 2014.

Make It Rain – Vance

When the sins of my father
Weigh down in my soul
And the pain of my mother
Will not let me go
Well, I know there can come fire from the sky
To refine the purest of kings
And even though
I know this fire brings me pain
Even so
And just the same

Make it rain
Make it rain down, Lord
Make it rain
Oh, make it rain
Make it rain
Make it rain down, Lord
Make it rain
Make it rain

And the seed needs the water
Before it grows out of the ground
But it just keeps on getting hotter
And the hunger more profound
Well, I know there can come tears from the eyes
But they may as well be in vain
Even though
I know these tears come with pain
Even so
And just the same

Make it rain
Make it rain down, Lord
Make it rain
Make it rain
Make it rain
Make it rain down, Lord
Make it rain
Make it rain

Make it rain [x8]

And the seas are full of water
That stops by the shore
Just like the riches of grandeur
That never reach the poor

And let the clouds fill with thunderous applause
And let lightning be the veins
And fill the sky
With all that they can drop
When it’s time
To make a change

Make it rain
Make it rain down, Lord
Make it rain
Make it rain
Make it rain
Make it rain down, Lord

  • Audio from the 2014 album, x:

X_cover

Play Make It Rain - by Ed Sheeran

In Popular Culture

In television

Wasn’t Expecting That ~ Jamie Lawson

tbJamie Lawson is a British singer-songwriter and musician. He was born and raised in Plymouth, England. Jamie was originally signed to Operator Records. He was the first artist signed by Ed Sheeran to his new label, Gingerbread Man Records. Lawson is best known for his hit single “Wasn’t Expecting That” and his self-titled album which peaked at number one on the UK Albums Chart in 2015.

Lawson released 2 studio albums before the release of his single and album both named Wasn’t Expecting That in Ireland in 2011, however his success did not go beyond Ireland. Lawsons’s popularity abroad only began in 2015, when he re-released his single “Wasn’t Expecting that” and was signed to Ed Sheeran’s own label.

Wasn’t Expecting That

Wasn’t Expecting That” is a song recorded by British singer-songwriter Jamie Lawson. It was originally released on 11 March 2011 as the lead single from his third studio album Wasn’t Expecting That.  The song was re-released on 3 April 2015 as the lead single from his fourth studio album Jamie Lawson. The song has peaked at number 6 on the UK Singles Chart.

Wasn’t Expecting That – Lawson

It was only a smile
But my heart it went wild
I wasn’t expecting that
Just a delicate kiss
Anyone could’ve missed
I wasn’t expecting that

Did I misread the sign?
Your hand slipped into mine
I wasn’t expecting that
You spent the night in my bed
You woke up and you said
“Well, I wasn’t expecting that!”

I thought love wasn’t meant to last
I thought you were just passing through
If I ever get the nerve to ask
What did I get right to deserve somebody like you?
I wasn’t expecting that

It was only a word
It was almost misheard
I wasn’t expecting that
But it came without fear
A month turned into a year
I wasn’t expecting that

I thought love wasn’t meant to last
Honey, I thought you were just passing through
If I ever get the nerve to ask
What did I get right to deserve somebody like you?
I wasn’t expecting that

Oh and isn’t it strange
How a life can be changed
In the flicker of the sweetest smile
We were married in spring
You know I wouldn’t change a thing
Without that innocent kiss
What a life I’d have missed

If you’d not took a chance
On a little romance
When I wasn’t expecting that
Time doesn’t take long
Three kids up and gone
I wasn’t expecting that

When the nurses they came
Said, “It’s come back again”
I wasn’t expecting that
Then you closed your eyes
You took my heart by surprise
I wasn’t expecting that

  • Audio from the 2011 album, Jamie Lawson:

jamie-lawson-150

Play Wasn't Expecting That - by Jamie Lawson

Tom Sawyer ~ Rush

rush-150Rush is a Canadian rock band formed in August 1968 in the Willowdale neighborhood of Toronto, Ontario. The band is composed of bassist, keyboardist, and lead vocalist Geddy Lee; guitarist and backing vocalist Alex Lifeson; and drummer, percussionist, and lyricist Neil Peart. The band and its membership went through several reconfigurations between 1968 and 1974, achieving its current lineup when Peart replaced original drummer John Rutsey in July 1974, two weeks before the group’s first United States tour.

Rush is known for its musicianship, complex compositions, and eclectic lyrical motifs drawing heavily on science fiction, fantasy, history, and philosophy. The band’s musical style has changed several times over the years, from a blues-inspired hard rock beginning, later moving intoprogressive rock, and including a period marked by heavy use of synthesizers. In the early 1990s, Rush returned to a guitar-driven hard rock sound, which has continued to the present. The band’s latest studio album, Clockwork Angels (2012) won the Album Of The Year Award from Progressive Music Awards. The supporting tour ran from September 2012 to August 2013.

According to the RIAA Rush ranks 80th with sales of 25 million units in the U.S. Although total worldwide album sales are not calculated by any single entity, several industry sources estimated Rush’s total worldwide album sales at over 40 million units as of 2004. The group has been awarded 24 gold, 14 platinum, and 3 multi-platinum albums.

Rush has received seven Grammy award nominations, but have not won the award. The band has won several Juno Awards, was inducted into the Canadian Music Hall of Fame in 1994, and inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame in 2013. Over their careers, the members of Rush have been acknowledged as some of the most proficient players on their respective instruments, with each band member winning numerous awards in magazine readers’ polls. Rush plans to stop large-scale touring at the end of 2015, although they have not ruled out the possibility of future studio albums and smaller-scale tours.

On December 7, 2015, drummer Neil Peart announced that he had retired from drumming due to chronic tendinitis.  Guitarist Alex Lifeson is also dealing with psoriatic arthritis.

Tom Sawyer

Tom Sawyer is a song by Canadian rock band Rush, originally released on their 1981 album Moving Pictures as its opener. The song relies heavily on Geddy Lee’s synthesizer playing and Neil Peart’s drumming. Lee has referred to the track as the band’s “defining piece of music…from the early ’80s”. It is one of Rush’s best-known songs and a staple of both classic rock radio and Rush’s live performances, having been played on every concert tour since its release. It peaked at #25 on the UK Singles chart in October 1981, at #44 on the US Billboard Hot 100, and at #8 on the Billboard Top Tracks chart. In 2009 it was named the 19th-greatest hard rock song of all time by VH1. “Tom Sawyer” was one of five Rush songs inducted into the Canadian Songwriters Hall of Fame on March 28, 2010

The song was written by Lee, Peart, and guitarist Alex Lifeson in collaboration with lyricist Pye Dubois of the band Max Webster, who also co-wrote the Rush songs “Force Ten,” “Between Sun and Moon,” and “Test For Echo.” According to the US radio show In the Studio with Redbeard (which devoted an entire episode to the making of Moving Pictures), “Tom Sawyer” came about during a summer rehearsal vacation that Rush spent at Ronnie Hawkins’ farm outside Toronto. Peart was presented with a poem by Dubois named “Louis the Lawyer” (often incorrectly cited as “Louis the Warrior”) that he modified and expanded. Lee and Lifeson then helped set the poem to music. The “growling” synthesizer sound heard in the song came from Lee experimenting with his Oberheim OB-X.

In the December 1985 Rush Backstage Club newsletter, drummer and lyricist Neil Peart said:

“Tom Sawyer was a collaboration between myself and Pye Dubois, an excellent lyricist who wrote the lyrics for Max Webster. His original lyrics were kind of a portrait of a modern day rebel, a free-spirited individualist striding through the world wide-eyed and purposeful. I added the themes of reconciling the boy and man in myself, and the difference between what people are and what others perceive them to be – namely me I guess.”

Alex Lifeson describes his guitar solo in “Tom Sawyer” in a 2007 interview:

I winged it. Honest! I came in, did five takes, then went off and had a cigarette. I’m at my best for the first two takes; after that, I overthink everything and I lose the spark. Actually, the solo you hear is composed together from various takes.

“Tom Sawyer” begins in 4/4 before switching to 7/8 in the instrumental section. When the instrumental section ends, it returns to 4/4 before changing again to 7/8 for the outro.

Tom Sawyer – Lee, Peart. Lifeson

A modern day warrior
Mean mean stride,
Today’s Tom Sawyer
Mean mean pride.

Though his mind is not for rent
Don’t put him down as arrogant
His reserve, a quiet defense
Riding out the day’s events
The river

What you say about his company
Is what you say about society
Catch the mist, catch the myth
Catch the mystery, catch the drift

The world is, the world is
Love and life are deep
Maybe as his skies are wide

Today’s Tom Sawyer
He gets high on you
And the space he invades
He gets by on you

No his mind is not for rent
To any god or government
Always hopeful, yet discontent
He knows changes aren’t permanent
But change is

What you say about his company
Is what you say about society
Catch the witness, catch the wit
Catch the spirit, catch the spit

The world is, the world is
Love and life are deep
Maybe as his eyes are wide

Exit the warrior
Today’s Tom Sawyer
He gets high on you
And the energy you trade
He gets right on to the friction of the day

  • Audio from the 1981 album, Moving Pictures:

moving-pictures-170

Play SONG Tom Sawyer - by ARTIST

In Popular Culture

In film

  • Fanboys (also featuring “Limelight”)
  • Halloween (2007 remake)
  • I Love You, Man (also featuring “Limelight”)
  • Small Soldiers
  • The Waterboy
  • Ari Gold’s Adventures of Power

In television

  • Chuck,  episode “Chuck Versus Tom Sawyer”.
  • The band performed the song during an airing of The Colbert Report on July 16, 2008, in their first American television appearance in 33 years.
  • Everybody Hates Chris
  • Family Guy (plays as Chester The Cheetos Cheetah snorts Cheetos dust as if it were cocaine)
  • Freaks and Geeks
  • Fringe episode, “The Man from the Other Side”
  • In the Futurama episode Anthology of Interest II, the song plays as Fry fights off an alien invasion using a control system identical to the game Space Invaders.
  • The Hard Times of RJ Berger
  • Imus In The Morning
  • This song replaced the original MacGyver theme in its original airing in Brazil.
  • In part two of The Sopranos season 6, Tony Soprano listens to the song in the episode “Walk Like a Man”.
  • Trailer Park Boys
  • Season 2 premiere of the television show Revolution
  • “Togetherness” Episode 3 Closing scene
  • In Archer, Dr. Krieger is seen air drumming to Neil Peart’s solo while modifying  Archer’s weapons.

In video games

  • The song was released as a downloadable bonus track for Rocksmith on November 13, 2012.
  • A cover version of the song was featured in 2007’s Rock Band, with the original released as DLC later.

Creep ~ Stone Temple Pilots

stone-temple-pilots-150Stone Temple Pilots is a Grammy Award-winning American rock band consisting of Scott Weiland (lead vocals), brothers Robert (bass guitar, vocals) and Dean DeLeo (guitar), and Eric Kretz (drums, percussion).

Stone Temple Pilots can trace its beginnings to a Black Flag concert in Long Beach in 1986, where Scott Weiland met Robert DeLeo. They both dated the same woman, and bonded through the situation. When the girl left town, Weiland and DeLeo moved into her vacated apartment. Immediately, Weiland and DeLeo formed a band with two of Scott’s friends from Edison High School, Corey Hicock (guitar) and David Allen (drums). After Allen’s departure, drummer Eric Kretz joined the band. Soon after, Robert DeLeo’s brother, Dean DeLeo, decided to play guitar in the band replacing Hicock, completing the quartet. They then named their band Mighty Joe Young. The band recorded a demo tape that was completed around 1990.

The group then began to work on their debut album with Brendan O’Brien. During the recording, they received a call from their lawyer who informed them that there was a blues man who had already claimed the name Mighty Joe Young. They changed the band’s name to Shirley Temple’s Pussy and performed under this name for a short time, but then changed the name again due to record label pressureThey liked the initials STP and eventually settled on the name Stone Temple Pilots in 1992, towards the end of the Core sessions.

On December 3, 2015, Scott Weiland was found dead in his tour bus.

Creep

Creep” is a song by American rock band Stone Temple Pilots, appearing as the seventh track off the band’s debut album, Core and later released as a single.

This song is often attributed to Nirvana, but they never performed it as a band.  It has often been used as a tribute to Kurt Cobain on YouTube.

The song’s lyrics were written by lead vocalist Scott Weiland and bassist Robert DeLeo. DeLeo also wrote the song’s music. DeLeo stated the following about “Creep:”

“Musically speaking I was thinking about a song along the lines of ‘Heart of Gold’ by Neil Young, which is in the key of D-minor, the saddest key of all. Scott was thinking about the lyrics, and at that time in our lives we were struggling very much. What Scott was writing about was a real-life situation. Also about me, the thing about the gun. ‘Creep’ is a very demeaning word. It was one of those instances where we looked at ourselves, looked in the mirror.”

Creep – DeLeo, Weiland

Forward yesterday — Makes me wanna stay.
What they said was real — Makes me wanna steal.
Livin’ under house — Guess I’m livin’, I’m a mouse.
All’s I gots is time — Got no meaning, just a rhyme.

Take time with a wounded hand — Cause it likes to heal
Take time with a wounded hand — Cause I like to steal
Take time with a wounded hand — Cause it likes to heal…I like to steal..
I’m half the man I used to be
(This I feel as the dawn, it fades to gray).
Well, I’m half the man I used to be
(This I feel as the dawn, it fades to gray).
Well, I’m half the man I used to be
(This I feel as the dawn, it fades to gray).
Well, I’m half the man I used to be..
Half the man I used to be..

Feelin’ uninspired — Think I’ll start a fire.
Everybody run — Bobby’s got a gun.
Think you’re kinda neat — Then she tells me I’m a creep.
Friends don’t mean a thing — Guess I’ll leave it up to me.

Take time with a wounded hand — Cause it likes to heal
Take time with a wounded hand — Cause I like to steal
Take time with a wounded hand — Cause it likes to heal. I like to steal.
I’m half the man I used to be
(This I feel as the dawn, it fades to gray).
Well, I’m half the man I used to be
(This I feel as the dawn, it fades to gray).
Well, I’m half the man I used to be
(This I feel as the dawn, it fades to gray).
Well, I’m half the man I used to be..
Half the man I used to be..

Take time with a wounded hand — Cause it likes to heal
Take time with a wounded hand — Cause I like to steal
Take time with a wounded hand — Cause it likes to heal. I like to steal.
I’m half the man I used to be
(This I feel as the dawn, it fades to gray).
Well, I’m half the man I used to be
(This I feel as the dawn, it fades to gray).
Well, I’m half the man I used to be
(This I feel as the dawn, it fades to gray).
Well, I’m half the man I used to be..
Half the man I used to be..
Half the man I used to be…

  • Audio from the 1992 album, Core:

CORE

Play Creep - by Stone Temple Pilots

Hallelujah ~ Leonard Cohen

leonard-cohenLeonard Cohen is a Canadian singer-songwriter, musician, poet, novelist, and artist. Cohen published his first book of poetry in Montreal in 1956 and his first novel in 1963. His work often deals with the exploration of religion, isolation, sexuality and complex interpersonal relationships.

Musically, Cohen’s earliest songs (many of which appeared on the 1967 album, Songs of Leonard Cohen) were rooted in European folk music. In the 1970s, his material encompassed pop, cabaret and world music. Since the 1980s his high baritone voice has evolved into lower registers (bass baritone and bass), with accompaniment from electronic synthesizers and female backing singers. Over two thousand renditions of Cohen’s songs have been recorded. He has been inducted into both the Canadian Music Hall of Fame and the Canadian Songwriters Hall of Fame and is also a Companion of the Order of Canada, the nation’s highest civilian honour. While giving the speech at his induction into the American Rock and Roll Hall of Fame on March 10, 2008, Lou Reed described Cohen as belonging to the “highest and most influential echelon of songwriters.”

Cohen was born in 1934 in Westmount, Montreal, Quebec, into a middle-class Jewish family. His father was of Polish ancestry. His mother, of Lithuanian Jewish ancestry, emigrated from Lithuania. He grew up in Westmount on the Island of Montreal. His father, Nathan Cohen, owned a substantial Montreal clothing store, and died when Leonard was nine years old. Like many other Jewish families with names like Cohen, Kahn, and Kagan, Cohen’s family claimed descent from the Kohanim: “I had a very Messianic childhood,” he told Richard Goldstein in 1967. “I was told I was a descendant of Aaron, the high priest.” He attended Herzliah High School, where he studied with poet Irving Layton. As a teenager he learned to play the guitar, subsequently forming a country-folk group called the Buckskin Boys. His father’s will provided Leonard with a modest trust income, sufficient to allow him to pursue his literary ambitions.

Hallelujah

Hallelujah” is a song written by Canadian recording artist Leonard Cohen, originally released on his album Various Positions (1984). Achieving little initial success, the song found greater popular acclaim through a cover by John Cale, which inspired a cover by Jeff Buckley. Buckley’s version is the most enduringly popular and critically acclaimed cover of the song to date. It is the subject of the book The Holy or the Broken: Leonard Cohen, Jeff Buckley & the Unlikely Ascent of “Hallelujah” (2012) by Alan Light. In a New York Times review of the book, Janet Maslin praises the book and the song, noting that “Cohen spent years struggling with his song ‘Hallelujah.’ He wrote perhaps as many as 80 verses before paring the song down.”

Following its increased popularity after being featured in the film Shrek,  many cover versions have been performed by many and various singers, both in recordings and in concert, with over 300 versions known.  The song has been used in film and television soundtracks and televised talent contests..

Hallelujah – Cohen

Now I’ve heard there was a secret chord
That David played, and it pleased the Lord
But you don’t really care for music, do you?
It goes like this
The fourth, the fifth
The minor fall, the major lift
The baffled king composing Hallelujah

Hallelujah, Hallelujah
Hallelujah, Hallelujah

Your faith was strong but you needed proof
You saw her bathing on the roof
Her beauty and the moonlight overthrew you
She tied you
To a kitchen chair
She broke your throne, and she cut your hair
And from your lips she drew the Hallelujah

Hallelujah, Hallelujah
Hallelujah, Hallelujah

You say I took the name in vain
I don’t even know the name
But if I did, well really, what’s it to you?
There’s a blaze of light
In every word
It doesn’t matter which you heard
The holy or the broken Hallelujah

Hallelujah, Hallelujah
Hallelujah, Hallelujah

I did my best, it wasn’t much
I couldn’t feel, so I tried to touch
I’ve told the truth, I didn’t come to fool you
And even though
It all went wrong
I’ll stand before the Lord of Song
With nothing on my tongue but Hallelujah

Hallelujah, Hallelujah
Hallelujah, Hallelujah

  • Audio from the 1984 album, Various Positions:

Various-Positions

Play Hallelujah - by Leonard Cohen
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