Gord Downie's Hallelujah
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I've got an entire category committed to Gord Downie's cover of Leonard Cohen's "Hallelujah". Gord recorded the song for the movie Saint Ralph, but it's never been officially released. I've got a copy, however, and that led to this comment from Nik.
I ran into Gord Downie in Toronto in summer of 2005. My friends and I walked past as he stood in the entryway of a cathedral on Bloor. I said aloud "Hey, that was Gord Downie. Lets say hi". While the others were hesitant, I had a question I wanted to ask him: where can I get a copy of your cover of Hallelujah from Saint Ralph? (I had just seen the film 2 weeks before at the Review Cinema) He was very approachable but was not pleased when I told him that I had exhausted my search for the soundtrack and had come up empty. He said he was told that there would be a soundtrack. I told him it was the best version of the song I had ever heard. He replied, to my surprise, that he had never actually heard the original before he recorded it himself. I suggested he put the track on his next solo project but he said he'd look into the Saint Ralph soundtrack first, thanked me for bringing this to his attention and shook our hands. He's had 3 solo albums since...
I've wanted to ask Gord about this song for a while now, and Nik's comment was quite revealing. I wonder why "Hallelujah" has yet to see the light of day?
CBC Radio 2's 49 Tracks included "Hallelujah", but it's the cover by K.D. Lang. I'm sure the cover by Gord Downie was ineligible in that it's the best kept secret in all the land.
Gord Downie's "Hallelujah" has taken me on quite the trip. I've got an entire category devoted to the subject. I hear from folks on a daily basis, people who have seen Saint Ralph and want this song. Back in August, my source assured me that a proper release was materializing. I'm not holding my breath, nor do I really care, considering I've got a copy of the unreleased soundtrack.
Back in August, when I got the tip about the release of Gord Downie's "Hallelujah", I also learned about One Week, a new film by the people behind Saint Ralph. It sounds really good and it's got a great trailer.
Watch this trailer for One Week and spot the Gord Downie cameo.
I heard there was a secret chord, that David played and it pleased the Lord, but you don't really care for music, do you?
Sure you do. And many of you, like myself, love Leonard Cohen's "Hallelujah". In fact, I'm willing to bet a bunch of you are only here because of my hunt for Gord Downie's cover of "Hallelujah" that plays during the climatic scene of Saint Ralph, a charming as all hell Canadian flick from back in 2004.
I just got some very good news about the non-existent soundtrack for Saint Ralph. My source tells me there's a soundtrack deal in place and a proper release of the soundtrack, including Gord Downie's "Hallelujah", is imminent.
I'll share more details when I'm able, but this is precisely what we've been working on. The hunt was frustrating and I'm still sharing the MP3 ripped from the DVD daily but my persistence paid off when I received a rare copy of this unavailable soundtrack. You can revisit my entire Hallelujah journey at https://www.torontomike.com/gord_downies_hallelujah/.
By the way, my source for this good news gave me a tip on another Michael McGowan film debuting at this year's Toronto International Film Festival.
The same film-maker who wrote and directed Saint Ralph, has written and directed a new film called "One Week" and while Gord doesn't sing on this soundtrack, he does have a cameo in the film, and is a mighty fine actor I must say! It's premiering at the Toronto Film Festival and if you liked Saint Ralph, you'll love this film too. It's a bit of a more mature version of an "up with life and humanity" film, but incredibly moving....and fellow Canadian Joshua Jackson turns in a stellar performance and firmly announces himself as a serious actor post "Dawson's Creek" days.
It's a really great thought provoking film and will no doubt be a big hit either as an independent film, or as a Juno type small film that finds a mainstream audience. Hopefully and deservingly the latter. Check it out if you can.
The Curious Cultural Journey of Leonard Cohen's "Hallelujah" - Earlier this week, a contestant on American Idol sang Leonard Cohen's "Hallelujah". The dude did a pretty good job (yes, I saw it, but this isn't about that) and Simon mentioned it was one of his favourite tunes. I get the idea that's true of a great number of people with whom this song resonates.
Although Jeff Buckley's cover has the most fans, I've written extensively about the Gord Downie cover of "Hallelujah" that appears in the movie Saint Ralph. Rarely a day goes by that I don't hear from someone who has come across an entry on that page and wants me to share the MP3.
With this AI exposure, the curious cultural journey of Leonard Cohen's "Hallelujah" continues, and I'm just happy to play a small role in the whole fantastic percolation. This link is to a source that does a thorough job of analyzing the whole thing, complete with graphs and charts. It's great reading for any "Hallelujah" fan, but when you're done, don't forget to check out my Gord Downie's "Hallelujah" collection.
If you're a fan of Leonard Cohen's "Hallelujah" or a fan of Gord Downie and The Tragically Hip, I implore you to read the entries in my Gord Downie's Hallelujah page. Not only is it a great story about an elusive song and successful search, but it's also the reason I'm running 10k tonight.
A little birdie in the know about such things wrote me an email today. In Bob Woodward and Carl Bernstein fashion, my very own Deep Throat has revealed that the Saint Ralph Soundtrack will likely get released in the near future. Here's the top secret correspondence I received with one paragraph removed for reasons that will soon become obvious.
What I'm about to tell you I ask that you keep to yourself and not divulge, not even say it's from an anonymous source.
*** content removed ***
Now here's what you can divulge from an anonymous source, it is likely that the soundtrack will get a release or at least a download release in the near future.
If all goes smoothly, you'll be the first to know.
This answers a question I get quite often. When I know more, I'll share it here.
Two years ago today, I asked you to help a brother out. Here's my entry from that day.
Help a Brother Out
Published August 19, 2005 @ 08:42 in Gord Downie's Hallelujah
Gord Downie covered Leonard Cohen's "Hallelujah" for the film "Saint Ralph". I recently wrote about this tune and I've been searching / begging / praying for an MP3 of it ever since.
If anyone out there can help a brother out, I'd appreciate it and return the favour. My email address is posted on the contact page. I love the song, I love Downie and I've heard great things. Yet, it's nowhere to be found!
By that point I had only been hunting for Gord Downie's "Hallelujah" for a few weeks and I was falsely optimistic someone on the Hip community would throw this dog a bone. It wasn't until February of this year I scored the non-existent soundtrack. I had my "Hallelujah", and I knew it was time for my own personal hallelujah, so I started running.
I hadn't run since the 4x100m relay in primary school but I knew I had to run a marathon. I signed up for five Running Room clinics, beginning with the Learn to Run and concluding with the Marathon Clinic, and I'm currently in the 10k Clinic. Yesterday I ran 8k and this morning 6k and I'm loving it.
Wednesday's update will show I've been running for 24 weeks, but it all started two years ago.
I have a copy of the unreleased soundtrack for the movie Saint Ralph. If you shrugged your shoulders and muttered "so what" under your breath, I encourage you to read the entries on this page.
Now that you're up to speed, you know I've been in love with Gord Downie's cover of Leonard Cohen's Hallelujah since I first saw the film Saint Ralph. You're also aware that this song isn't available anywhere. You can't buy a copy of the Saint Ralph soundtrack, you can't purchase the song online and it has never been released as a single. It simply doesn't exist anywhere other than in the movie, and a version ripped from the DVD is all I've had for the past year.
After years of hunting, I now have the unreleased soundtrack. A wonderful person who shall remain anonymous became aware of my plight and blessed me with not one, but two studio versions of The Tragically Hip's Gord Downie singing Hallelujah. This is truly a rare beast as only a few copies were pressed when they were trying to get it released as a soundtrack back in 2004.
So you don't think I've lost my mind, here are pics of the CD. Before you ask me to share with you this official copy of the Hallelujah audio I'm afraid I can't. Part of my deal with this anonymous donor is that I can't share it. I will, however, continue to share the version ripped from the DVD. For now, the polished Hallelujah is for my ears only, unless you want to drop by for a listen.
When people first discover Saint Ralph, there are typically two reactions. For starters, they're surprised by how charmed they were by this little Canadian flick. The acting is good, the story sweet and the conclusion fulfilling. Then, they seek a copy of the Hallelujah cover that plays at the conclusion of the big race. Many of those people end up on this page.
The singer of this cover of Leonard Cohen's Hallelujah is Gord Downie from The Tragically Hip. If you're new to this site, I have an entire section devoted to the song. I've heard two different people tell me of the magic in the room when Gord recorded it. Here's one account.
I attended a show with the film's director, and he said that Downie was watching the film as he recorded his cover of Hallelujah. If you listen carefully, you can hear his voice hitch when Ralph is running the marathon. Apparently he had tears streaming down his face as he sang.
Andrew Lockington told me something similar. Here's what he wrote me recently.
The vocal take used in the film was truly magical. We were all so moved while Gord was singing this take (including Gord). I think it really shows through.
I've written about this song that plays during Ralph's miracle marathon so many times, but I've never shown it. It's time you see for yourself. I must warn you, if you plan on seeing Saint Ralph, and you really should, viewing this clip will spoil things for you.
It still gives me goosebumps.
I received a fantastic email last night from Andrew Lockington. He stumbled upon my "A Homemade Hallelujah" entry in which I spread my love for Gord Downie's cover of Leonard Cohen's "Hallelujah" that appeared in the movie "Saint Ralph". Here's his email.
I was the composer on Saint Ralph and am amazed that the orchestral version of Hallelujah I arranged for Gord has such a following. Thanks for finding a way to get it to all these people.
I then asked Andrew the million dollar question, the question many of us have been wondering about. I asked him why this exceptional song was never released as part of a soundtrack or as a single. Here's what he told me.
There was a soundtrack deal all lined up for the film which included the source music and the two versions of Hallelujah (the orchestral and the acoustic) and a combined version which starts out acoustically and the big orchestra joins in part way through. Someone dropped the ball and didn't get the material to the record label on time. They concluded they couldn't have the CD pressed in time for the film's release, and thus it wasn't worth putting it out. It was a real shame because there'd been a few companies willing and interested in putting out the soundtrack.
It was sure interesting to find your website. The song has been either praised or bashed by a lot of people all over the world. Everyone seems to have an opinion on it. The vocal take used in the film was truly magical. We were all so moved while Gord was singing this take (including Gord). I think it really shows through.
I've been seeking that kind of awesome detail for years and I'm sure others have as well. In fact, I know others have, because my "A Homemade Hallelujah" entry currently has 141 comments.
Thanks Al! To make life easier for all of us, I've created a category for these Gord Downie's Hallelujah entries at https://www.torontomike.com/gord_downies_hallelujah/.
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