Opening the iTunes Store.If iTunes doesn't open, click the iTunes application icon in your Dock or on your Windows desktop.Progress Indicator
Opening Apple Books.If Apple Books doesn't open, click the Books app in your Dock.Progress Indicator

iTunes is the world's easiest way to organize and add to your digital media collection.

We are unable to find iTunes on your computer. To download from the iTunes Store, get iTunes now.

Already have iTunes? Click I Have iTunes to open it now.

I Have iTunes Free Download

The Holy or the Broken

Leonard Cohen, Jeff Buckley, and the Unlikely Ascent of “Hallelujah”

This book can be downloaded and read in Apple Books on your Mac or iOS device.


A venerated creator. An adored, tragic interpreter. An uncomplicated, memorable melody. Ambiguous, evocative words. Faith and uncertainty. Pain and pleasure.”

Today, “Hallelujah” is one of the most-performed rock songs in history. It has become a staple of movies and television shows as diverse as Shrek and The West Wing, of tribute videos and telethons. It has been covered by hundreds of artists, including Bob Dylan, U2, Justin Timberlake, and k.d. lang, and it is played every year at countless events—both sacred and secular—around the world.

Yet when music legend Leonard Cohen first wrote and recorded “Hallelujah,” it was for an album rejected by his longtime record label. Ten years later, charismatic newcomer Jeff Buckley reimagined the song for his much-anticipated debut album, Grace. Three years after that, Buckley would be dead, his album largely unknown, and “Hallelujah” still unreleased as a single. After two such commercially disappointing outings, how did one obscure song become an international anthem for human triumph and tragedy, a song each successive generation seems to feel they have discovered and claimed as uniquely their own?

Through in-depth interviews with its interpreters and the key figures who were actually there for its original recordings, acclaimed music journalist Alan Light follows the improbable journey of “Hallelujah” straight to the heart of popular culture. The Holy or the Broken gives insight into how great songs come to be, how they come to be listened to, and how they can be forever reinterpreted.

From Publishers Weekly

Nov 12, 2012 – Leonard Cohen s Hallelujah has been performed and recorded by hundreds of artists from U2, Justine Timberlake, and Celine Dion to Renee Fleming and Willie Nelson, and Rolling Stone named it one of the 500 greatest songs of all time. Ironically, his record company refused to release Cohen s 1984 album, Various Positions, that included the song, and many Cohen fans don t consider Hallelujah to be among his best songs. Rock journalist Light, who co-wrote Gregg Allman s memoir, My Cross to Bear, carefully and methodically traces the evolution of the song from obscurity to classic anthem. In 1991, John Cale of the Velvet Underground recorded a stripped-down version of Hallelujah, a soaring meditation on life, faith, and love, on his album I m Your Fan, that Cohen himself began playing in his live performances, and in 1994, Jeff Buckley recorded what has become the best known version of the song on his album, Grace. Buckley delivered his nearly seven-minute version as a hallelujah to the orgasm... an ode to life and love, swooning with emotion, while Cohen and Cale sang the song as an ode to experience and wisdom. Buckley s cover version animated the song so much that many fans attributed Hallelujah to Buckley instead of Cohen. Pop music fans will already be familiar with many of these stories. Even so, Light s charming ode to a pop music phenomenon makes a nice companion to Sylvie Simmons s outstanding and definitive biography of Leonard Cohen, I m Your Man.
The Holy or the Broken
View in iTunes
  • $11.99
  • Available on iPhone, iPad, iPod touch, and Mac.
  • Category: Music
  • Published: Dec 04, 2012
  • Publisher: Atria Books
  • Print Length: 288 Pages
  • Language: English
  • Requirements: This book can only be viewed on an iOS device with Apple Books on iOS 12 or later, iBooks 1.3.1 or later and iOS 4.3.3 or later, or a Mac with iBooks 1.0 or later and OS X 10.9 or later.

Customer Ratings