I've heard there was a secret chord
That David played and it pleased the Lord
But you don't really care for music, do you?
It goes like this: the fourth, the fifth
The minor fall, the major lift
The baffled king composing Hallelujah

Hallelujah, Hallelujah
Hallelujah, Hallelujah

Your faith was strong but you needed proof
You saw her bathing on the roof
Her beauty and the moonlight overthrew you
She tied you to a kitchen chair
She broke your throne, she cut your hair
And from your lips she drew the Hallelujah

Hallelujah, Hallelujah
Hallelujah, Hallelujah

Maybe I've been here before
I know this room, I've walked this floor
I used to live alone before I knew you
I've seen your flag on the marble arch
Love is not a victory march
It's a cold and it's a broken Hallelujah

Hallelujah, Hallelujah
Hallelujah, Hallelujah

There was a time you let me know
What's real and going on below
But now you never show it to me, do you?
And remember when I moved in you
The holy dark was moving too
And every breath we drew was Hallelujah

Hallelujah, Hallelujah
Hallelujah, Hallelujah

Maybe there's a god above
And all I ever learned from love
Was how to shoot at someone who outdrew you
It's not a cry you can hear at night
It's not somebody who's seen the light
It's a cold and it's a broken Hallelujah

Hallelujah, Hallelujah
Hallelujah, Hallelujah


Lyrics submitted by tjordaan


Hallelujah (Leonard Cohen cover) song meanings
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  • +7
    General CommentI think this song is one that comes from a deep place in the artists' soul and has deep meaning both spiritually and personally. I think Dundada77 is close when they says it's about Sampson, but I think it more strongly speaks of David. In fact I think the Rufus is drawing a parallel between himself and King David of the Bible. David played his harp and it was soothing to King Saul and pleased the Lord. Notice how the arpeggios mimic the soft plucking of harp strings. Later in David's adult life, after he became King, he succumbed to temptation observing Bathsheba (The wife of Uriah, one of David's Generals)) bathing on the roof. He sent for her, they slept together, she got pregnant and David secretly had her husband killed during a battle. This action brought calamity upon the house of David. So in a sense this event did break the throne by breaking David. The idea of cutting hair is not so much linked to Sampson as it is a reference to a Nazarite (of which Sampson was one) who take a vow not to cut their hair. In My opinion this is a song about broken relationships and broken vows. How all of us are tempted to break the “vows” of relationships. Through the heartache of these tragedies we gain perspective on life. In the third and fourth verse introspection seems to be in the forefront of the lyrics. Wainwright is openly gay and perhaps he’s seen more than his share of heartache. Love is not a victory march; it’s filled with agony and heartbreak as well as magic and fulfillment. Real love is painful, it’s not a cry in the night, nor is it all bright lights. At times it can be a cold and broken hallelujah – but it’s still a hallelujah.
    Delamarteron January 21, 2002   Link
  • +3
    General CommentGuys,

    Can we get this straight, RUFUS DID NOT WRITE THIS SONG! It's a cover. I know Jeff Buckley sang it, and there is a chance that someone wrote it before him. Rufus is doing a lot of covers on soundtracks like Across the Universe(I AM Sam) and He Ain't Heavy, he's my Brother(Zoolander). But he is a brilliant songwriter who studied opera. You should check out his two albums(a self-titled one and "Poses").

    Rufus is not very obscure. He won a Juno(the canadian equivalent of a grammy-he is from canada, eh) and he was one of Rolling Stones best new artists when his first album came out. His songs have appeared in Moulan Rouge and Big Daddy as well.

    Delmarter is right on about the lyrics, it's about David, not Samson although it makes a breif reference to Samson. David, although he was a powerful King who slew Goliath, was felled by love(or desire) for Bathsheba. He was "a baffled King compsosing Hallelujah". Which is a great image-the lovestruck sing-songwriter writing songs about the woman he can't understand or even hope to understand.
    pjkeeferon May 10, 2002   Link
  • +2
    General CommentThis song is about the story of Sampson in the Bible. It is both from 1st and 3rd person singing about Delilah. She totally screwed Sampson, and broke his heart. This song is so awesome.
    Dundada77on January 18, 2002   Link
  • +2
    General CommentI find it very interesting that in rufus' cover he replaces holy dove with holy dark, I wonder why he did.

    Lemurwrenchon February 27, 2010   Link
  • +1
    General Commentthis song gives me chills. i especially like the line "remember when i moved in you..." while most songs make sex sound cheap and empty, that line really captures the emotional connection that can occur.
    jaxgrrlon January 05, 2002   Link
  • +1
    General Commentit's also a leonard cohen cover. :)
    typoon January 21, 2002   Link
  • +1
    General CommentI do not have much knowledge of the biblical stories which others speak of.....i know that this song is incredibly deep and everytime i listen to it it too gives me the chills and sometimes brings a tear to my eye....moreso now b\c i can relate to the broken vows he speaks of....heartache and loss in a relationship he sounds very hurt i believe....maybe he cant love ever again....i know in our lives everyone feels like this especially after we experience that "hallelujah" when he recalls how he moved in you the holy dark moved in you too and every breath they drew was hallelujah...they couldnt be happier w\ who they were w\ and the love they shared but the song as i said before ends sad b\c its a cold and a broked hallelujah....many people have felt like this...i know i have
    ErinEMon May 07, 2002   Link
  • +1
    General CommentOkay, before I forget to say this, I have to mention that I think Rufus is really hot...I want to send out thanks to Delamarter, Stef, Bitchgodess and ArcherAve. Totally agree. I get all of these interpretations, and I'm totally broken when I think of King David, who is one of my favorite people in the Bible. I love that the sexuality in this song is portrayed as a sacred thing. (I also have to smile when I hear Buckley's rendition, because of the repeated emphasis on the phrase "do yuh?") My favorite part in the song is when Cohen speaks of the "...minor fall, the majorlift, the baffled king composing allelujah...". To me it says that everything can be forgiven, that love is ineffable. Mercy, in turn, is ineffable, and so beautiful. When I listen to the song, I picture David on his knees before his wife, at his throne composing his psalms with tears running down his face, trying hard to express a grateful and broken hallelujah. Being broken and mistaken and betrayed is definitely nothing like a victory march or as simple as seeing the light. It is imperfect relationships being called to perfection by accepting eachother and everything about that person. What a mystery. I have just entered into my first relationship, and I'm beginning to understand what it is to really love someone, and about falling and being lifted up again. That is much cause for an hallelujah. Anyway, thats all I have to say about that. Does anyone else thing Rufus is hot?
    cqueen17on October 19, 2004   Link
  • +1
    General CommentWhy yes Rufus Wainwright is a very good looking man.

    I thought no one mentioned anything about Jeff Buckley, but alas, I am late in reading all of this.

    I really prefer the Rufus Wainwright version. The piano is absolutely beautiful.
    Dont get me wrong though, Jeff Buckley was amazing.
    scatterbra1non January 02, 2005   Link
  • +1
    General CommentI much prefer this version to Jeff Buckley's and Leonard Cohen's original version. His voice suits it completely. I guess everyone thinks this is Rufus' song cos it appeared on the Shrek soundtrack and probably loads of others too...
    lucyb85on January 12, 2006   Link

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