Leonard Cohen’s ballad “Hallelujah” has become so inescapable that the songwriter once asked for a break from his own track. “I think it’s a good song, but too many people sing it,” he told The Guardian in 2009, agreeing with a critic for The New York Times who asked for a moratorium on “Hallelujah” in movies.
It appears that the producers of Sunday night’s Emmy Awards were unaware of the unofficial ban. When the In Memoriam segment began, it was accompanied by Tori Kelly’s gentle acoustic guitar strumming as she started its first verse: “Well, I heard there was a secret chord.”
The reaction on Twitter was less cryptic: Another “Hallelujah” moment?
Few people noticed “Hallelujah” when Mr. Cohen released the track — part hymn, part love song — on Side 2 of his 1984 album “Various Positions,” but over the next few years, it caught the attention of artists like Bob Dylan (who played it live) and the former Velvet Underground member John Cale, who attempted his own version on the tribute album “I’m Your Fan.” In 1994, Jeff Buckley included an impassioned version on his LP “Grace,” which has become the cover that is most often imitated.
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