Leonard Cohen’s signature song “Hallelujah” registered on the Hot 100 for the first time in the single’s history in the week following the legendary singer-songwriter’s death.
Thirty-two years after “Hallelujah” was first released on Cohen’s 1984 LP Various Positions, the song debuted on the Billboard 200 this week at Number 59 on the strength of 33,000 downloads and 3.8 million streams.
The song likely also received a significant boost from Saturday Night Live‘s Kate McKinnon who, as Hillary Clinton, performed a cathartic, piano rendition for the cold open of the show’s post-election episode.
Billboard reports that while this is the first time Cohen’s version of “Hallelujah” reached the Hot 100, covers of the song have landed on the chart in the past: The first occurrence was in 2010 when Justin Timberlake, Matt Morris and Charlie Sexton’s version for MTV’s Hope for Haiti telethon slotted at Number 13.
Subsequent renditions of “Hallelujah” to visit the Hot 100 include versions by a trio of reality singing competition contestants (The Voice‘s Jordan Smith, American Idol‘s Lee DeWyze and The Voice‘s Matthew Schuler) and an a cappella version by Pentatonix; in fact, on this week’s Hot 100, Pentatonix’s “Hallelujah” finished at Number 56, three spot ahead of Cohen’s original.
However, Jeff Buckley’s “Hallelujah,” perhaps the most famous cover version of the song, has never found its way onto the Hot 100, although it did settle in at Number 29 on the Digital Song Sales in the week following Cohen’s death.
Cohen’s You Want It Darker also returned to the Billboard 200’s Top 10 this week.