Leonard Cohen's 'Hallelujah' Hits Hot 100 for First Time
Cohen's original 1984 version of the classic debuts at last at No. 59 following his passing.
As previously reported, Rae Sremmurd tops the Billboard Hot 100 (dated Dec. 3) for a second week with "Black Beatles," featuring Gucci Mane. Meanwhile, a legendary recording graces the Hot 100 for the first time, as Leonard Cohen's original version of "Hallelujah" debuts at No. 59.
The song starts thanks to a fairly even split of streaming and sales chart points, as it enters the Digital Song Sales chart at No. 12 with 33,000 downloads sold in the week ending Nov. 17 (up 1,177 percent), according to Nielsen Music. It also drew 3.8 million U.S. streams in that period, a 279 percent increase.
Cohen died Nov. 7 and his death was announced late Thursday, Nov. 10. Thus, gains for "Hallelujah" on the latest charts reflect a full week of consumption (Nov. 11-17) following the news of his passing.
Cohen originally released "Hallelujah" on his 1984 album Various Positions, but -- incredibly, given the song's enduring appeal -- his version, until this week, had spent a mere one week on a Billboard survey (it charted at No. 7 on the mostly physical sales-based Hot Singles Sales chart dated Dec. 8, 2012).
Jeff Buckley's 1994 cover of "Hallelujah" has since become beloved, although it, too, wasn't a chart hit at the time and has yet to hit the Hot 100; it debuts on the Hot 100's Bubbling Under chart (dated Dec. 3) at No. 7, as it re-enters Digital Song Sales at No. 29 (18,000 sold, up 698 percent) and its streams soar by 205 percent to 1.7 million.
Any version of "Hallelujah" first hit the Hot 100 in 2010, when Justin Timberlake and Matt Morris' take, featuring Charlie Sexton, reached No. 13 that February. They had performed the song on MTV's Hope for Haiti Now telethon following the country's devastating earthquake. American Idol's Lee DeWyze and The Voice's Matthew Schuler took "Hallelujah" to Nos. 44 and 40 on the Hot 100 in 2010 and 2013, respectively. In December 2015, Jordan Smith of The Voice sent his version to No. 61, while Lindsey Stirling's mostly instrumental cover reached No. 81 this past January.
On the Nov. 12 Hot 100 (three weeks ago), Pentatonix's a cappella cover brought "Hallelujah" to the Hot 100's top 40 for a third time (following the Timberlake/Morris/Sexton and Schuler versions). On the latest Hot 100, it ranks slightly higher than Cohen's version, bounding 81-56. The act's cover climbs 27-19 on Digital Song Sales (27,000, up 29 percent) and surges by 59 percent to 4.6 million U.S. streams.
The Hot 100 and all charts will update tomorrow (Nov. 22) on Billboard.com.