The Holy or the Broken: Leonard Cohen, Jeff Buckley, and the Unlikely Ascent of "hallelujah"

Alan Light (Author)


Praised as "brilliantly revelatory...a masterful work of critical journalism" (Kirkus Reviews, starred review), The Holy or the Broken is the fascinating account of one of the most-performed rock songs in history--Leonard Cohen's heartrending "Hallelujah."

How did one obscure song become an international anthem for human triumph and tragedy, a song each successive generation seems to feel they have discovered and claimed as uniquely their own? Celebrated music journalist Alan Light follows the improbable journey of "Hallelujah" straight to the heart of popular culture.

Product Details

Atria Books
Publish Date
November 19, 2013
5.51 X 0.69 X 8.45 inches | 0.55 pounds

Earn by promoting books

Earn money by sharing your favorite books through our Affiliate program.

Become an affiliate

About the Author

Alan Light is the former editor in chief of Vibe and Spin magazines, and a former senior writer for Rolling Stone. He is the author of Let's Go Crazy: Prince and the Making of Purple Rain. A frequent contributor to the New York Times, Alan cohosts the daily music talk show Debatable on SiriusXM.


"Thoughtful and illuminating... [Mr. Light] is a fine companion for this journey through one song's changing fortunes."--The New York Times
"A combination mystery tale, detective story, pop critique and sacred psalm of its own."--The Daily News
"Brilliantly revelatory... A masterful work of critical journalism."--Kirkus Reviews (starred review)
"A deeply researched mixture of critical analysis and cultural archaeology."--Los Angeles Times
"Keeps the pages turning... A well-constructed, consistently enlightening book, which should have Cohen devotees and music fans alike seeking out their favorite version of the song."--The Boston Globe
"Fresh and compelling."--Entertainment Weekly
"Reverentially details every stage in the [song's] evolution--and along the way, he reveals the compelling stories behind some of its most iconic interpretations."--The Atlantic
"Absorbing...Eloquent... Light expertly unpacks the song's long, strange journey to ubiquity."--The Village Voice
"A must for music fans."--Booklist (starred review)