Readers take song captive

Music | Mickey McLean

Readers take song captive

WORLD editor in chief and songwriter Marvin Olasky

Marvin Olasky believes "Great tunes should not be wasted," so in his column from our Dec. 29 issue, WORLD's editor in chief shared new, improved lyrics he wrote for Leonard Cohen’s much-covered and much-revered “Hallelujah.”

Marvin also issued a challenge to WORLD readers to record themselves singing this new version of the song and post their renditions on YouTube.

On the day after Christmas, Ben Ghormley did just that:

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One of Ben’s commenters on YouTube wrote:

“This was the first time I’ve ever listened to this most beautiful and haunting melody that the sadness of the lyrics did not overpower the magnificence of the tune created by Leonard Cohen's incredible talent. Thanks to Marvin Olasky and the sources he used to redeem the tune that until now was, for me and so many, squandered by the lack of redeeming lyrics, and thank you Ben Ghormley for being the first to sing this tune for me as the lyrics and tune are finally in sync with one another.”

On New Year’s Eve, Nathan Petersheim, with help from his brother Bobby, recorded and posted a video of him reading and contemplating 2 Samuel 11-12 and Psalm 51 and praying as his singing of Marvin’s version of “Hallelujah” plays:

In describing his history with Cohen’s song, which he said his mother loves, Nathan wrote:

“I didn’t really like singing the song because the lyrics aren’t really biblical or appropriate. Marvin Olasky apparently thought the same. … I really love how it centers [on] Psalm 51, the heart of true worship.”

There’s still time for you to join the effort to take this song captive. Record and post your version of “Hallelujah” on YouTube and send Marvin ( the link.

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