Mac Campbell’s Easter Lyrics to Leonard Cohen’s anthem “Hallelujah”

Mac Campbell’s Easter Lyrics to Leonard Cohen’s anthem “Hallelujah”…

Sung casually and a capella by Deshna Ubeda.


A note from the author: “What prompted this note was the poem by Gretta which you included.  Not surprisingly, I enjoyed it.  Gretta is a singularly gifted wordsmith; I am always grateful for what flows from her pen.  It was particularly good to read her work so soon after Easter.  The church Charlotte and I now attend is quite traditional.  The Easter service had much to recommend it, but still contained much of the traditional approach which, for me, swamps what I have come to see as the deeper meaning of Easter.  The sermon consisted of the Easter reading from John’s Gospel, broken into eight parts with each part followed by a prayer.  All the prayers seemed to me to be modelled on a prayer of confession, emphasizing what we aren’t, where we have failed/fallen short, etc.  That doesn’t resonate with me as the message of Easter.  (The final “prayer” was a musical interlude of 8 or 10 minutes by the piano player, a young man of 22, and me on guitar, playing very up-tempo and joyous music extemporaneously — that felt a little more Easterish.)  The long and the short of all this is that I sat down on Sunday afternoon and wrote new words to Leonard Cohen’s wonderful anthem “Hallelujah,” trying to express a more progressive understanding of the day, the event, and the season.  The words are below, and come with the invitation to do with them as you will (which includes using the delete key if need be).  I didn’t check with Leonard (whom I have never met) about doing this re-write, but then, I don’t plan to record it either.  I offer it for your reflection and interest; feel free to share it if and as you see fit.”

Here are the lyrics:


I heard there was a man one time
who tried to teach a whole new rhyme
But they said, “You don’t really want us, do ya?”
It wasn’t all that hard, you see
Just love the world and set it free
And let peace flow out from you, Hallelujah.

Hallelujah, Hallelujah
Hallelujah, Hallelujah

They said that he had lost his mind,
No one could ever be so blind
To think that just a heart of love could do ya
The love of power took its stand,
The power of love stayed close at hand,
While a cross declared a broken Hallelujah,

Hallelujah, Hallelujah
Hallelujah, Hallelujah

A bloody cross, a cold stone grave,
A gentle man no one could save
His death was like a cold wind blowin’ though ya.
For love had died and hope was gone
His light-filled world was darkly drawn,
There were no notes that sounded Hallelujah.

Hallelujah, Hallelujah
Hallelujah, Hallelujah

But then there came a different day,
The crushing stone was rolled away,
And death stood back while life came rushing to ya.
The power of love had stood the test,
The whole world far and wide was blessed,
And answered with a chorus: “Hallelujah!”

Hallelujah, Hallelujah
Hallelujah, Hallelujah
Hallelujah, Hallelujah
Hallelujah, Hallelujah
Hallelujah, Hallelujah

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