Alan Light wrote a book about Leonard Cohen's song, "Hallelujah". I've spent the evening off and on listening to variations of it.
The song arrested my attention the first time I heard it. Who was it singing? Still and strong, soft and powerful, I sat with my eyes closed and listened to the words and felt the melody rise and fall.
Cohen wrote 80 verses to the song. His record company rejected it. As Light points out, those 80 verses allow for some flexibility. Performers can approach it with inventiveness and not stray from the song as some covers do, because the song has so many inflections -- humor, love, hope, despair, sadness, joy -- woven into it, simple and insightful.
So here are some samplings. Listen.
Causes Michael Seidel Supports
Kiva, Women's International League for Peace and Freedom, Propublica.org, Doctors Without Borders, GreaterGood.com