I am a musical person. My Mother played piano all her life and I still play on occasion. That said, I am also a music lover. Classical, Jazz, Rock, just about anything that sounds good to me. I read this book for the same reason I have read biographies of Mozart and Keith Richards. I could not get the song Hallelujah out of my mind or my life. I first heard it at the end of an episode of the defunct T.V. show, The O.C.. Once heard, I had to get a copy for my playlist and find out who wrote it and who sung it. Leonard Cohen, already a long time favorite songwriter for Suzanne etc. wrote it and Jeff Buckley, the son of the another favorite folk singer Tim Buckley sang it. Talk about serendipity.
So when I saw this book advertised, I knew I was meant to read it and I was right. This is a book about one song, about it's origins, it's interpreters, it's critics and it's historical context. Alan Light does an excellent job of reporting, giving us numerous time slices, where this song has an important place, He discusses the various versions, four verses, seven verses or eight and why these differences are there. Most of all, he talks about the song itself, it's structure, both lyrical and melody wise and why this song, which first appeared on a Leonard Cohen album that was not released went on to becomes one of the great anthems of our time. Did you know Willie Nelson recorded Hallelujah? This book is full of fascinating glimpses of musicians and their thoughts regarding what makes a song great. If you love music, don't miss this book.