Sunlit Water

March 16, 2008

Psalm 151

Filed under: Culture — by teofilo @ 12:30 am

Via Eric Rauchway, a fascinating post about the Leonard Cohen song “Hallelujah.”  I had always assumed this song, which is indeed a major touchstone of my generation (apparently taken over from a slightly earlier generation through means that remain unclear to me), was just a typical Cohen song that caught on among young people somehow, and that the version I was familiar with was Cohen’s, but the actual story is much more complicated.  A quick look through YouTube allowed me to determine that I had apparently never heard the whole song before, and that I’m not even sure which cover of it the bits that I had heard came from.  The fact that I was nonetheless quite familiar with the tune and at least some of the lyrics shows just how completely this song has infiltrated the cultural consciousness of people my age.  Also, having now heard the full song, I am somewhat less impressed with it than I was before.



  1. You had Wolfson write that second sentence, right?

    Comment by ari — March 16, 2008 @ 12:34 am |Reply

  2. So do you, like, hover over your stats page at all times to catch incoming links, or what?

    Anyway, I’ll have you know that I can easily hold my own against Wolfson when it comes to writing long, elaborate compound sentences.

    Comment by teofilo — March 16, 2008 @ 12:40 am |Reply

  3. Huh, it looks like WordPress leaves trackbacks from links to comments as well as posts. This takes some of the sting out of my question in the previous comment.

    Comment by teofilo — March 16, 2008 @ 12:45 am |Reply

  4. I’m guessing it’s probably one of the Buckley versions you’ve heard, only because I think it’s one of those that got sucked into every sad moment montage on TV in the past five years.

    Comment by Cala — March 19, 2008 @ 1:59 pm |Reply

  5. That sounds most likely, but the Buckley version that I watched on YouTube didn’t sound familiar at all. Maybe that was a different one.

    Comment by teofilo — March 19, 2008 @ 1:59 pm |Reply

  6. But youtube does have about six hundred gazillion versions of it. But I think the show that started the trend was The West Wing.

    Comment by Cala — March 19, 2008 @ 2:05 pm |Reply

  7. The West Wing

    Ding ding ding! That’s the first time I noticed it, at least. (And by notice it, I mean obsessively google for it trying to figure out who wrote it, etc.)

    Comment by Stanley — March 19, 2008 @ 6:48 pm |Reply

  8. I know it from the end scenes of ‘The Edukators’, where it plays over the final scenes. Good movie.

    Comment by Blume — March 22, 2008 @ 6:39 am |Reply

  9. Ooh, I saw The Edukators! I literally don’t know anybody else who did, though. (Film festival, vanished afterwards.) I can’t remember it clearly now, except that I thought it worked better as an interpersonal study than as politics. And did you think it was somewhat sexist?

    Comment by Witt — March 22, 2008 @ 7:55 pm |Reply

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