Bono Calls Leonard Cohen's 'Hallelujah' The 'Most Perfect Song In The World'

The U2 frontman has heaped praise upon the oft-covered track.

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U2 frontman Bono has called Leonard Cohen's 'Hallelujah' the "most perfect song in the world", reports NME.

Bono makes the claim in a new book by Alan Light, called The Holy Or The Broken: Leonard Cohen, Jeff Buckley, And The Unlikely Ascent Of 'Hallelujah'.

Other artists make their love of the track known in the book, with Regina Spektor saying: "This song is pretty much indestructible." Patrick Stump of the Fall Out Boy adds of the oft-covered track: "The song keeps coming up, and every time it's like it's brand new. It sounds new every time you hear it."

Of his book, Light has written in Hollywood Reporter:

"I attempt to explore the unprecedented path of this song - a protracted snowball effect that, over the course of several decades, has turned 'Hallelujah' into one of the most loved, most performed, and most misunderstood compositions of all time."

He adds: "Cohen's simple, indelible melody and striking, ambiguous words - a mesmerizing synthesis of prayer and sexuality - combined with the irresistible force of that universal, one-word chorus add up to a song that is able to serve as a celebration and a lament, a versatile symbol of triumph and sorrow, heartbreak and wisdom."

Earlier this year, Cohen said that people have asked him for a moratorium on the usage of covers of his classic song, 'Hallelujah'.

The track, from his 1984 album 'Various Positions', has been covered by a host of artists including the late Jeff Buckley (his version of the song also happens to be one of the most popular tabs here on Ultimate Guitar), Bono, Willie Nelson, Rufus Wainwright, k.d. lang and The X Factor winner Alexandra Burke.

Of its popularity, Cohen told The Guardian:

"There's been a couple of times when other people have said can we have a moratorium please on 'Hallelujah'? Must we have it at the end of every single drama and every single Idol? And once or twice I've felt maybe I should lend my voice to silencing it but on second thought no, I'm very happy that it's being sung."

Do you agree with Bono's words? Can 'Halleluja' not be topped? Let us know what you think in the comments below.

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65 comments sorted by best / new / date

    Every time I hear "Hallelujah", I have to think of a broken-hearted Shrek, LOL.
    ZOSO <(")
    So im not the only one. Don't get me wrong i love the song. i just can't help but get the mental image of ogres and donkeys
    It's very good with huge emotion, true, but personally I can't agree on it being the most perfect song of all.
    What a pointless headline. In other news James Hetfield declares Corn Flakes the best cereal ever.
    ZOSO <(")
    I love this song, but i don't think Leonard Cohens version is perfect. But Jeff buckleys version is arguably the most beautiful song ever made.
    Could you elaborate on that, please? Exactly how is he a socialist?
    I think he's confusing Socialist with European. Contrary to what some Americans think, there is a difference :L
    Psycho Pigeon
    The guy LOVES big government. He always preaches about how everyone else should save other people, while flying on luxury Jets. Socialists never learn.
    you should seriously consider extending your education beyond second grade and youtube videos of dave mustaine rants.
    Point me to a news piece which states, "I'm Bono and Jesus Begorrah I love big government." Go on. Try it. I'll be waiting.
    Easiest song to ruin. Cohen and Buckley did it very well, as did a few others. Most covers I hear don't appreciate the true significance of the song; 'It's a cold and it's a broken Hallelujah'. Not a triumphant Hallelujah, as many seem to sing it. It really is one of the greatest songs ever written, though, and Bono's is a statement hard to argue with.
    No offense to Cohen, but Buckley's Hallelujah is the perfect version.
    lyrically, it's not. Cohen's original recording and many of his live versions have a more interesting set of verses. Buckley's make it seem like not much more than a basic love song on superficial listens.
    Jeff Buckley took this song and made it his own. I guarantee when Leonard Cohen hears this song he thinks of Jeff Buckley.
    I think it's a great song, but this version is far from the best in my opinion. I don't like his voice and I hate the sound of that bass.
    Good song. Overrated in the context that Bono and company put it. Very inspirational, but not to all. Has elements of subjective perfection, but I prefer Death Metal to this. Any Day.
    I hate that song more than any other, actually. Its so cliche'd and its just ****ing crap IMO. Hammer Smashed Face is a better written song than this.
    Why UG, why... look at all the *****s you have attracted in the comments.
    it's a good song, but i think we've learned not to take Bono's opinions seriously a long time ago.
    When a song is praised by any member of Fall Out Boy, you know it's a bad song.
    Not very intelligent, are you? That would be like saying Queen are bad because a lot of modern pop artists of questionable quality say that they were influenced by them.
    Well, when someone is dumb enough to put the word "Megadeth" in their username, I'm not surprised in the least that they spout off with idiotic comments about things they know nothing about.
    LOL - if you think that "Sound of Silence" is more conceptually complex than "Halelujah" then you're clearly not very bright. "Working Class Hero" is fairly basic as well.
    Wait, something has to be complex to be considered perfect ? THEN TOOL'S LATERALUS IS THE MOST PERFECT ALBUM OF ALL TIME DOOD!
    Its not really fair to judge them by the same standard. Working Class is socially and politically poignant, as with Silence. Hallelujah is brilliant poetically, but has little to do with the political conditions of its time. To say one is better than the other then only really applies as far as which aspect of everyday life you prefer; poetry or politics?
    Hallelujah is more lyrical and poetic than Working Class Hero, which I think is more raw and angsty. The way the words flow together in Hallelujah has always made it extremely poetic for me. I love it but i think Suzanne is actually a better song.
    Is that the depressing song that everybody and their dog covers? If so, **** you, Bono.
    I love the actual song, I love his voice but Cohen's style of singing is so god damn bland. It sounds like he's out of breath when singing. Just listen to the "It goes like this, a fourth, a fifth." part.
    You're a Mr Bungle fan though, isn't pretty much everyone's singing style able to be described as 'bland' compared to Patton's?
    Not that it'd be okay to mock him if he was fat, but Jesus, have you seen him?!
    Nice work deleting the comments you don't deem relevant UG. Really diversifies the discussion...
    i used to love this song. but it's been used in so many things now it's not special. and a lot of the covers suck. Buckley's cover is great but I'm even sick of that.
    Yeah, but being overplayed doesn't make the song any better/worse. "Tom Sawyer" or "Smells Like Teen Spirit" are still awesome, even if I could probably go without listening to them ever again...
    you will all sh*t all over this because of the show it was on, but one of my favorites
    before every nobody covered this song it used to be really great (the original still is but with a bitter aftertaste). now just about every other jerk comes to any tv based singing show a pulls out his or her "own" usually totally embarrassing all over the place-version of hallelujah.
    Well, it is a religious song, and christian religion is evil. Actually, any god is evil.