Heartrending and lovely, Leonard Cohen’s song “Hallelujah” has been covered so frequently it almost seems a musician’s rite of passage. And yet, Cohen’s original version from 1984 is only now asserting itself in the charts. After over three decades, it has finally reached the Billboard Hot 100.
According to Vulture, the popularity of “Hallelujah” has rarely been reflected via Billboard’s rankings. In fact, before today, only a 2010 cover by Justin Timberlake and Matt Morris, featuring Charlie Sexton, had broken the charts. Timberlake recorded his interpretation of the song as part of the philanthropic efforts directed towards an earthquake-torn Haiti.
Now Cohen’s original—and superior—version from the album Various Positions is garnering new attention, likely a result of his death on November 7, 2016.
We’ve lost too many tremendous artists over the course of this single, hellacious year. Cohen’s passing, reported on November 10—two days after the U.S. presidential election—elicited especially acute mourning throughout the country. For my part, listening to “Hallelujah” on repeat both spurs and soothes grief. I’m fine with that, and perhaps you are too.