"The Fourth, The Fifth, The Minor Fall" - Allison Crowe w. BBC's Guy Garvey on Leonard Cohen's "Hallelujah"

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Allison Crowe first unleashed her vital interpretation of Leonard Cohen's song "Hallelujah" on "Tidings". This 2003 EP of "music for the season and all time" proved so popular it's re-released the next year as a full-length album of the same name.

Five years later, pretty much to the day, BBC Radio 2 in the UK broadcast an one-hour documentary on the song, which, by this time, was being covered almost continually. Host of "The Fourth, the Fifth, the Minor Fall" is Guy Garvey of the band Elbow.

The BBC crew caught up with Allison Crowe at View Two Gallery in Liverpool, England - where she was visiting as a guest performer of Beatles Week. The space was empty as an echo chamber, and special thanks go to producer Richard McIlroy who captured the audio in the moment - shared with his rapt two-year-old.

Cohen's "Hallelujah" has now been covered more than 300 times - each interpreter and listener finds their own meaning and inspiration. For Allison Crowe, a visceral artist, it's about body AND soul.

Also heard in this excerpt from the documentary, chatting with Guy Garvey, are singer Kathryn Williams, The Bishop of Croydon - Nicholas Baines, and Cohen-collector and scholar Jim Devlin.

The BBC prefaced its broadcast on All Saint's Day, November 1, 2008:

""Warning: Listening to this sampling of artists, critics, and other commentators talk about their perspectives on Hallelujah may put ones preconceived notions about the song at risk."

lyrics

Hallelujah

Composed by Leonard Cohen
Performed by Allison Crowe

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?
Well, it goes like this, the fourth, the fifth
The minor fall, the major lift
The baffled king composing Hallelujah

Hallelujah, Hallelujah
Hallelujah, Hallelujah

Well, 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

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

Hallelujah, Hallelujah
Hallelujah, Hallelujah

Well, there was a time when you'd let me know
What's really going on below,
But now you never show that to me, do you?
But remember when I moved in you,
And the Holy Ghost was moving too,
And every breath we drew was Hallelujah

Hallelujah, Hallelujah
Hallelujah, Hallelujah

Well, maybe there is a God above,
But all that I've ever learned from love
Was how to shoot somebody who outdrew you.
It's not a cry that you hear at night,
And it is not somebody who has seen the light
It's a cold and it is a broken Hallelujah

Hallelujah, Hallelujah
Hallelujah, Hallelujah

Hallelujah, Hallelujah

Hallelujah

Hallelujah

credits

from Allison Crowe - Artifacts, track released November 1, 2008

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Allison Crowe Corner Brook, Newfoundland and Labrador

"Why music?" "Why breathing?"

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