“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 such as the versions below.