Legendary songwriter Leonard Cohen recorded the song "Halleluja" for the 1984 album "Various Positions." It became his most well-known song and has been covered by Bob Dylan, Jeff Buckley, John Cale, Bono and many others.
Record executives did not think there was anything notable about the song and originally didn't even want to release "Various Positions." Over the years, the song grew in popularity as other artists started performing their own versions. Buckley's version on the 1994 album "Grace" is the most famous recording of the song.
The full version of the song has 15 verses, and according to folklore, Cohen originally wrote 80 verses. The recorded version has just four. Cohen told Dylan that the song took him two years to write. During the writing process, Cohen decided to downplay religious elements of the song to bring the word into the secular. He released two versions of the song, and one has a more positive ending, while the other has a darker conclusion.
There are more than 100 recorded versions of the song. The version by Cale was featured in the movie "Shrek," and the soundtrack to that movie included another version by Rufus Wainwright. It also has appeared on TV shows, including "The West Wing," "ER" and "Scrubs."