k.d. lang’s Hallelujah the ultimate rendition, says Cohen

When he was asked to perform at last week’s Olympic opening ceremonies in Vancouver, Leonard Cohen basically told organizers “hallelujah” for k.d. lang.

MONTREAL — When he was asked to perform at last week’s Olympic opening ceremonies in Vancouver, Leonard Cohen basically told organizers “hallelujah” for k.d. lang.

Adam Cohen, the son of the singing, songwriting icon, revealed in an interview on Wednesday that organizers wanted his father to appear at the kickoff ceremonies last Friday for the Winter Olympics in Vancouver.

“We’re all huge fans of k.d. lang,” Adam Cohen told The Canadian Press, referring to members of his family. “She’s exquisite, and in fact there was a moment where people were pressing quite hard to invite my father to participate.

“But we knew k.d. lang was going to be there, and what more do you need?”

Lang, who first included a version of Hallelujah on her 2004 album Hymns of the 49th Parallel, sang the moving anthem at Leonard Cohen’s 2006 induction into the Canadian Songwriters’ Hall of Fame.

Cohen is reported to have said she performed it to “its ultimate blissful state of perfection.”

Cohen, 75, is currently on the mend after suffering a back injury while exercising earlier this month.

The recent winner of a Grammy lifetime achievement award had to reschedule 13 concert dates while undergoing four to six months of physical therapy prescribed by doctors.

“He’s in recovery from a lower back injury,” said Adam Cohen, a singer-songwriter in his own right with a new CD in the works. “He’s a tough old dude and I think he’ll be fine.”

Leonard Cohen first recorded Hallelujah on his 1984 album Various Positions.

Besides lang, the song has been covered by a galaxy of music stars including fellow Montrealer Rufus Wainwright, Bob Dylan, Celine Dion and even Bon Jovi.

Its enduring popularity was underscored in 2008 when it became the first song in 51 years to hold the first and second spots simultaneously on the U.K. singles chart, with versions by British singer Alexandra Burke and American Jeff Buckley.

It contains a variety of styles including gospel, and Cohen included biblical references in the lyrics, mainly alluding to the story of Samson and Delilah.

He has said its interpretation depends on who’s performing it, explaining it can be melancholic or uplifting.