5:02 PM GMT 17/05/2013
In a revealing new book that traces the journey of the Leonard Cohen song Hallelujah from obscurity to ubiquity, U2's Bono has apologised for his version of the song.
"I wasn't sure why I agreed to do this interview," the U2 frontman tells author Alan Light, "but then I remembered that I needed to apologize to the world -- I didn't just let myself down, or my parents, I let the whole school down."
Bono whisper-raps the Hallelujah lyrics over a squiggly trip-hop backing on 1995 Cohen tribute album, Tower Of Song, but in a bizarre attack of contrition, he implies that he was in a bad place, personally, at the time that did the version no favours.
"The lyric explains it best," says Bono. "There's the holy and the broken hallelujah, and mine was definitely the broken one. It was one of those moments -- desperate, even wretched, and I was in desperate need of these words, and that's the only excuse. If you're that desperate to hear it, you sing it."
Alan Light's fascinating The Holy Or The Broken: Leonard Cohen, Jeff Buckley & The Unlikely Ascent Of Hallelujah, published in the US on December 4 (a UK Kindle edition is also available), recounts the transformation of Cohen's secular hymn into a cross-cultural staple, explores its role in the tragic story one of its greatest interpreters and wonders at its current status as an X-Factor/American Idol standard.
Meanwhile, Bono still performs the song onstage with U2, often segueing into Where The Streets Have No Name. "It might be the most perfect song in the world," he tells Light. Bono's recording, however, could hardly be worse.
By Clive Prior
Posted by Ross_Bennett at 2:42 PM GMT 16/11/2012