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Jeff Buckley

Buckley V's Burke

Alexandra Burke to beat Jeff Buckley in the race to number one
21 December 2008 - X Factor winner Alexandra Burke is set to go to number one in the charts this week with her version of Leonard Cohen’s song Hallelujah.

And it’s almost certain Burke will beat her rival – Jeff Buckley’s version of the same track – after her single became the fastest selling download single in Europe ever.

Bookies started paying out on her hitting the top spot yesterday after it was estimated the X Factor star had sold over 300, 000 more copies than the Buckley rendition. A spokesperson for Ladbrokes announced that Burke ‘could not be toppled’ and even the Prime Minister Gordon Brown announced that he’d be buying the track.

Despite this, muso’s everywhere are still calling for the public to download Jeff Buckley’s track and a group on the social networking site Facebook has been set up to publicise this appeal. Chantelle Ossilly was behind the group and she isn’t convinced by Burke’s version:

“You kind of lose some of the meaning to the lyrics because it’s taken over by the power of her, admittedly, powerful voice but you lose some of the intimacy of the Buckley version.”
“It’s a secular hymn. It’s very none specific, it’s got a vaguely religious connotation but actually it’s not a song about God and it’s a perfect song for our times.” Music Journalist Neil McCormick  on Hallelujah

Speaking to the BBC music journalist Neil McCormick explained why Simon Cowell made a clever move when he decided to release this particular song at Christmas time:

“It’s a secular hymn. It’s very none specific, it’s got a vaguely religious connotation but actually it’s not a song about God and it’s a perfect song for our times.”

But McCormick agrees that the X Factor smash hit isn’t a sincere interpretation of the original recording:

“She does a good version but it’s a big gospel full throated version. So even when she is singing, "it’s a cold and it’s a broken hallelujah" she’s singing like it’s the most glorious thing that ever happened to her. I don’t think there is any meaning in that song.”

Elizabeth Alker

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Comments so far

Heather, Vancouver, Canada
sacrilege! Alexandria Burke sings like she has no idea what the words mean. What on earth? It's Leonard Cohen! angsty existential spiritual white dude stuff. Nothing christmasy about Hallelujah.

Shane, Hull
Jeff Buckley's version in my eyes is the diffinative and is prob the best recording of an origanal track ever! At least now Jeff Buckly might reach to the main stream and make people realise how much of a massive influence her has on poppular music today.

Ripon North Yorkshire
Totally agree. The Burke version lacks subtlety that I think will appeal to your average listener who simply wouldn't recognise the sincerity and understatement of the Buckley version. The 'dumbed down' one sadly reflects the kind of music most people listen to in this country.

Kate, London
I'm in the group, Chantelle's surname is spelt Osili!

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