Cohen issued Various Positions on a fringe label, where it sold in dribs and drabs. Reputationally, he was on the skids, reduced to appearing in the TV cop series Miami Vice. Dylan admired one of his new songs and ground it out on tour, but "Hallelujah" went virtually unacknowledged until first John Cale, then Jeff Buckley, interpreted the song on record, secularising the message, taking it far from Cohen's Biblical-erotic fantasy to a steelier, mass-marketed utility. Buckley's early death endowed "Hallelujah" with tragic grandeur. DreamWorks soundtracked it on Shrek. It was warbled on television talent shows. In one generation, "Hallelujah" went from oblivion to the most covered lyric of modern timesI don't know if this is true, or what the source is, but it is certainly the case that "Hallelujah" seems to be one of those rare songs that transcends its genre. Here are some different versions of the song. First the original studio recording by Leonard Cohen:
An early cover by John Cale:
One by Jeff Buckley that got a lot of attention:
Here is K. D. Lang:
And a live version by the master himself:
Yep, that's quite a song.