25 November 2010
Who wrote Hallelujah: Leonard Cohen or Bob Dylan?
A music critic is advancing a pretty controversial theory regarding
the folk sensation supposedly penned by Leonard Cohen, ‘Hallelujah’.
According to the critic the song was written by Bob Dylan and Leonard
Cohen, however is more of a Dylan song than a Cohen piece. The critic
who does not identify himself other than saying that his surname happens
to be Cohen outlines his theory on a website www.whowrotehallelujah.com
. he comes to his conclusions through analysis of the lyrics and circumstantial evidence.
The theory is already spreading through musical forums. Some are
convinced, while diehard Cohen fans aren’t too impressed. The mystique
regarding the song grows daily and it remains one of the most covered
pieces as well as one of the most used in films. This theory will surely
only add to its mystique …and its pedigree: if indeed it was composed
by two of the greatest musicians alive. Bob Dylan and Leonard Cohen are
known to have been close friends for decades.
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Thanks to Dave Kennerly for sending through this email and sorry it took so long to upload!
“He (Dylan) said, ‘I like this song you wrote called Hallelujah.’
In fact, he started doing it in concert. He said, ‘How long did that
take you to write?’ And I said, ‘Oh, the best part of two years.’ He
said, ‘Two years?’ Kinda shocked. And then we started talking about a
song of his called I And I from Infidels. I said, ‘How long did you take
to write that.’ He said, ‘Ohh, 15 minutes.’ I almost fell off my chair.
Bob just laughed.”
Also to Ralph for sending this though:
Seriously? Having listened to this song for, I don’t know, a quarter
century or more, I can hardly believe anyone might think it was written
by someone other than Leonard Cohen. The imagery and melody are so
Cohenesque and non-Dylanesque. Dylan is far more sparing and eliptical
in his use of religious imagery than is Cohen.
..and to Jesse Jones for the following comment!
No one who knows the work of Dylan and Cohen can take this hypothesis clearly.
None of the “circumstantial evidence” suggests that Dylan wrote the
song. It is timeless, meticulously structured, and wildly romantic and
erotic — all characteristic of Cohen’s work, and not of Dylan’s.”
…Harold for this
Having worked in the music industry for over
thirty years, there might be some truth to the theory. Plenty of
unacknowledged collaboration. Looking at the piece itself it is not
inconceivable that some of the lines are Dylan’s and the chorus could
well be his too.